"Lorca's Novena" Tells a tale of art, death, and resurrection. In 1936, Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca was brutally executed and buried in an unmarked grave. As late as the 1970s, the Franco regime tried to erase his works sophisticated, often surrealist social critiques from the public record. The Spanish public demanded his plays performed, and Lorca is today recognized as a literary hero. A novena is a Catholic prayer repeated nine times.
"Waxie's Dargle" A traditional Irish tune that dates back to Queen Elizabeth. Waxies are candlemakers; Dargle is a river in the Wicklow Mountains of southeast Ireland. Or possibly it was also the name of a pub in the area. The differences between the traditional lyrics and the Pogues' are slight, and both include the line, "Here's a nice piece of advice/ I got from an aul' fishmonger: "When food is scarce and you see the hearse/ You'll know you've died of hunger."
"The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn" Contains more references to mythology, music, and politics than can be elucidated here. Cuchulainn was a warrior in Irish folklore known for his indestructible berserker rage and who spent a bedridden year recovering from an attack by spirits in a dream. John McCormack and Richard Tauber, mentioned kneeling at Cuchulainn's side in the first line, were important British émigré composers in the early 20th century. The song seems to be about Irish republican solidarity, especially between minorities, in the face of government persecution.