The Pogues,
Waiting For Herb
(Chameleon, 1993)

Waiting For Herb is a happy and energizing CD by the Pogues. Unfortunately, because of the fast pace and brief interludes, you will think it only took a few minutes for the entire thing to play. It just seems to fly right by, and doubtlessly you will find yourself listening to it a second or third time.

The Pogues -- in 1993 composed of Phillip Chevron, James Fearnley, Jem Finer, Darryl Hunt, Andrew Ranken, Spider Stacy and Terry Woods -- can harmonize with the best. They complement each other extremely well and carry off the vocals with a folksy nature. They are class-act balladeers.

My favorite track on Herb is "Drunken Boat," with the widest variety of sounds and a multi-instrument trill (at different speeds and on different notes) that will fascinate you. It is killer! With extras such as a foghorn, the moving water and a bit of traditional Gypsy music, the track is ideal for a hard cardiac workout -- you cannot sit still through this one.

In "Haunting," you will certainly visualize the ghost as they tell you of a guy who seeks shelter beneath a tree during a rainstorm and meets face-to-face with a ghost. "Smell of Petroleum" has a bluegrass undertone and a strong, fast beat. This tap-your-toes and slap-your-knees piece makes me want to buck dance (or grab a fishing pole and head to the river). "Small Hours" is a beautiful love song, perfect for slow-dancing in front of a fireplace. The words will put you right into the mood for romance.

"My Baby's Gone" is a bluegrass-meets-the-blues-at-jazz-street kind of song. "Sitting on Top of the World," meanwhile, sings the story of a man who wants to leave town but can't because his car has been impounded. It tells of environmental degradation and state of society today. It has a strong message -- every congressman and senator should have to memorize the words to this song!

The variety found in this compilation is astounding. You will hear Irish, Gypsy, Arabian, jazz, blues, bluegrass, city effects, water effects, rainstorm effects and much more. It is one of the most diverse collections that I have found and no two numbers sound alike. It keeps you intrigued. No matter what your mood, one of these songs will fit it.

The synthesizer work is awesome and all instrumentals are delivered with precision. The banjo in particular is fantastic. All the musicians exercise a high level of artistry with their performance and are quite accomplished at their craft. I highly recommend this collection to anyone. It is well worth the purchase price!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 18 January 2003

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