The Pogues: “Thousands Are Sailing”

Posted: February 12, 2018 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
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Tune du Jour: “Thousands are Sailing” – The Pogues
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Brassknuckle Boys vs. Don Chambers & GOAT vs. McGillicuddys

Broccoli For Miles
And Miles And Miles
And Miles And Miles …
Oh Yeah!

Phenomenal song, simply phenomenal!!! Let me be clear, there is simply no way to improve upon The Pogues’ masterpiece. In some ways it seems foolhardy that lesser bands even attempt the task. Not sacrilegious, mind you, but seemingly self-defeating, impractical and ultimately foolish.

But in the immortal words of Hunter S Thompson, “But the ticket, take the ride”. So go ahead. You’ve got much to prove and might as well start making a name for yourself tonight. March on up to the cadre of Hells Angels at the end of the bar and slug the biggest one in the latissimus dorsi. Just please wait until I’m at least 15 miles down the road before you cash in that ticket …

The Original

The Pogues:


The Cover Songs Competition


Forget the naysayers! C’mon mate. That big dirty bastard is ripe for the taking …


Brassknuckle Boys vs. Don Chambers & GOAT vs. McGillicuddys


Brassknucle Boys:

Don Chambers & GOAT:


Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?



  1. Cuspid says:

    This song, especially the Pogues originals, absolutely suck!!

    OK. I don’t mean that one bit. I only wrote that to elicit a reaction from Dubbsy. Did it work?

    I think the reason why this song works so well is not so much because of the music, which is good in and of itself, but rather because of the emotion and imagery in evokes. There’s a certain drama to the Pogues’ version, whether Chevron or MacGowen does the lead vocals, that is very compelling, and which I found to be missing on all 3 covers.

    But forced to choose one I’ll go with the Brassknuckle Boys for their thrash approach, which kinda reminded me a little bit of an Irish Bad Religion with a bit of Clash thrown in for good measure. I also liked their vocals better than the other two.

  2. Arnold Plotnick says:

    My inclination was to pick the Brassknuckle Boys, as I tend to like punked up versions of songs. But this is a really emotional song, and the vocals really need to be sung with some kind of… I don’t know… respect? Gravitas? I felt the Brassknuckle Boys just thrashed through it. Don Chambers and GOAT was too Lo-Fi for my taste. I picked the McGillicuddys because this is an Irish song and their name begins with Mc, and also, Lucy Riccardo’s maiden name was McGillicuddy, and I was a fan of I Love Lucy.

  3. Kerry Black says:

    I know you guys are Pogues experts, so you already know this. But I think the way the intro was worded could be confusing to the uninitiated. The Pogues didn’t go out and cover a song by some guy named Phil Chevron; he was always an important member of the band. He just wasn’t a guy who they often relied on for writing or singing lead. I’m aware of two titles credited to him and another he co-wrote.

    I’ve never heard of any of these cover bands.

    The first was kinda thrashy; I think they pulled it off pretty well.

    The second one sounded like some random reveler doing karaoke.

    I read a book on The Pogues in which the author claimed Shane hated the line “…in Brendan Behan’s footsteps I danced up and down the street”. Apparently Shane thought this was an undignified description of Behan. Although Behan wasn’t reluctant to take a drink, Shane maintained he wouldn’t be dancing up and down the street like some wally. He thought “marched” would have been more befitting his hero. We know, of course, the narrator is merely dancing in Behan’s footsteps. Nobody is accusing Behan himself of dancing. In this cover version, the singer neatly solves the problem saying “…stepped up and down the street.”

    I preferred the third one and voted for them.

  4. RDubbs says:

    I liked the Brassknuckle Boys version a lot more a few weeks ago when I found it. Tonight, not so much. As for the other two versions the vocals are really wanting. In the end I voted for Don Chambers & GOAT simply because it was recorded at the 40 Watt Club in Athens with about 40 people on stage (including Pete’s old buddies, Five Eight).

  5. Pete Black says:

    It’s a tough call. It’s a beautifully written song of great historical depth and truth. No versions were strong and none were poor. The trashy version was too little about the story while the more faithful versions were a wee mediocre at best. I voted Team Lucy.

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