The Pogues – Hell’s Ditch: #630 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Pogues - Hell's Ditch

Why is The Pogues’ Hell’s Ditch on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

I used to walk in the shade with those blues on parade.

Some stats & info about The Pogues – Hell’s Ditch

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Celtic, Celtic Rock, Folk Rock, Rock Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Hell’s Ditch released? 1990
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #630 out of 1,000

The Pogues’ Hell’s Ditch on Spotify

So why is The Pogues’ Hell’s Ditch on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

This is my favorite Pogues album, far and away. Maybe it’s because I associate it with a happy time while I was in college in Binghamton, New York, a time when I was starting to come into my own in some fundamental way.

Or maybe it’s because when I’m out walking with my wife and she suggests we walk on the sunny side of the street (she’s quite strategic about such matters), I immediately and automatically think of “The Sunnyside of the Street.”

Or likely it’s those things but also the two “street” songs (“The Sunnyside of the Street” and “Rain Street”) on Hell’s Ditch are among my favorites the band has ever produced – up there with “Bottle of Smoke” and “Tuesday Morning.” Both songs possess that unique and fantastic Pogues magic of being catchy and upbeat and happy while also being slightly strange and melancholy and foundationally Irish all at once.

I also like the chances that Hell’s Ditch takes, pushing the band outside its normal boundaries. Some songs (“Sayonara”) work much better than others (“Summer in Siam”), but it makes for a great and varied listen overall.

“The Wake of the Medusa” has the feel of a boot stomping ghost story while also having eastern influences. It’s strange and pretty great.

See also: The Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace With God: #871 of best 1,000 albums ever

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with The Pogues’ Hell’s Ditch

Sidenote on “Rain Street”: I found it striking that the lyrics include the unusual line, “Down the alley the ice wagon flew.” I recognized it immediately from The Doors’ “Who Do You Love,” which I’ve probably listened to at least 50 times as part of the outstanding Absolutely Live album.

A little research reveals that “Who Do You Love” was originally recorded by the great Bo Diddley, and is a smoking blues number in its original form.

Geroge Thorogood & The Destroyers’ version is also fantastic.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.