Dirty Old Town

Dirty Old Town was written in 1949 by Ewan MacColl & is about Salford, Lancashire, where he grew up. It was originally written as an interlude to cover a set change in a play he had written, but gained a life of it’s own as a folk standard. The first recorded version of the song was made by Ewan in 1952. This is the 1956 version made by Ewan with Peggy Seeger, Alan Lomax & the Ramblers.

The song is probably most associated with The Dubliners, who recorded a version in 1968. This is a great video of them performing it in 1976 in Finland.

The Pogues have often performed it too. One of the first gigs I went to was to see The Pogues on their Rum Sodomy & Lash tour. I was 16 & it was one of the best gigs of my life.

Dirty Old Town is such a wonderful song & it travels well.


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