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The Pogues
(liner notes to If I Should Fall From Grace With God )


If I Should Fall From Grace With God

By Steve Earle

I met the Pogues in London, in EMI Abbey Road studios in 1986 while they were recording demos for what would become "If I Should Fall from Grace with God". They were trying to get out of their publishing deal at the time and had booked themselves into the third floor "penthouse" studio under the pseudo-pseudonym "The Terry Woods Quartet". . . . .

It was late, well after midnight and the journey out to St. John's Wood through an impossibly proverbial London fog took on the air of a secret mission in a B&W spy movie, all very hush-hush and deliciously clandestine. I presented myself to the uniformed security guard and I actually caught myself whispering as I announced "Steve Earle to see the Terry Woods Quarter in the penthouse." The elderly uniformed guard looked at me like I was a fucking idiot. "Oh, the Pogues? Top of the stairs turn right. You can't miss it. Half of fuckin' London's up there."

For the next couple of years we bumped into each other now and again in the middle of the night on one side of the pond or the other. Well, okay, sometimes it was a little harder than a bump. By the time we recorded "Johnny Come Lately" together (for my "Copperhead Road" Album), "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" was out and the boys were playing six nights during the week of St. Patricks Day at the old Town and Country club in Kentish Town. It was a magical week. Kirsty MacColl was there to sing "Fairytale of New York" with Shane every night and the encores included "Message to Rudy" featuring the Specials horn section and "I Fought the Law" with Joe Strummer himself fronting the band. I went out and sang "Johnny" with the band on each of the first three shows and then, on the morning of the fourth day, having worked out most of the kinks in front of 6000 people we recorded the track at Livingstone studios. We stayed up all night that night (like every other night) and the next morning Spider poured me into a cab for Heathrow and I only just made my flight home to the States. That night was the big St. Paddy's finale at the Town and Country. Somehow, in the confusion, no one bothered to inform Terry Woods, who had insisted on introducing me every night, that I was no longer in the country.

"Please Welcome" he rasped, "a good friend of ours from the great State of Texas -- STEVE EARLE!

And fuckin' nothin' happened because I was already halfway across the Atlantic nursing a hangover that registered about a 7.4 on the Richter scale. It took me about a week to recover and I'm sure some of the damage that I sustained that week was structural and permanent. But it was worth it. For four minutes on four consecutive nights in the Spring of 1987 I had been a Pogue.

Steve Earle
Fairview, Tn. May 2004"

 © 2004 Steve Earle     All Rights Reserved

If I Should Fall From Grace With God

© 2003-2005   Clint Harris  (clint@steveearle.net) – All Rights Reserved
© 1995-2003Lisa Kemper  – All Rights Reserved

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