I think “mud” may just refer to the wet, boggy, peat soil of Ireland.
And the place where all the rivers run dry is probably Hell.
The song strikes me as a defiant statement of Irish Catholic nationalism and contempt for Protestant England.
The lyrics aren’t clear or straightforward, but I think the basic meaning is, “If I ever stop fighting for Ireland, if I ever give in and accept rule by those foreign, Protestant bastards… well then, I’ve lost my soul. So, bury me in the peat and let me sink all the way to Hell.”
I saw McGowan live once. The look of loathing on the face of the woman singing the “Fairytale of New York” duet with him as she walked on stage and realised that he was so drunk he was clutching the microphone stand for support so he didn’t fall over was a sight to behold.
It’s a ghost story. I don’t know who the woman with a comb in her hand is, though. BTW I’m pretty sure the lyrics are by Jem Finer - somewhere I read or heard him explain that the title came from a question a German fan had asked him once: “Do you like the turkish song of the Damned?”, which was referring to some song by The Damned.
It’s credited to both Finer and MacGowan. This site has a collection of stories and anecdotes from various Pogues members and affiliated folks. For “Turkish Song of the Damned,” it has your quote from Finer, and this from MacGowan:
I’m not sure if that bit in the middle is Shane singing “Turkish” music, or giving his signature death-rattle laugh.
No word there on what “If I Should Fall…” means, but lots of other good quotes from Jem, Shane, and a few of the other lads.
I’ve seen him a few times, and at least once he had his eyes closed for most of the set, clutching the mike stand for dear life, and mumbling his way through most of the songs.
Apart from at the end when he nearly got into a fistfight with his guitarist because he insisted on finishing the gig with a song they’d already played (Donegal Express if I remember rightly), rather than Sayonara, which was on the setlist.
The point of it is that American pre-teen suburban white boys who like rough play are just exactly like working-class Irish drunken brawlers, and, like them, need chauffeurring in a Subaru. Wasn’t that obvious?!