The Story of The Men They Couldn't Hang and their Spin-offs
Men They Couldn't Hang came together in 1984 to perform at the
alternative music festival in Camden town alongside the legendary
Pogues and the Boot Hill Foot-Tappers. Paul Simmonds, Philip 'Swill'
Odgers and his brother Jon, veterans of the Southampton based pop-punk
band 'Catch 22', met Pogues roadie Stefan Cush whilst busking in
Shepherds Bush in London. Their early line up was Stefan Cush (Vocals,
Guitar), Philip Odgers (Vocals, Guitar, Tin Whistle, and Melodica),
Paul Simmonds (Guitar, Bouzouki, and Keyboards), Jon Odgers (Drums,
Percussion) and Shanne Bradley (Bass). Championed by the late John Peel
their first single, a cover of Eric Bogle's 'Green Fields of France'
(1984), became a big hit on the UK Indie charts and a staple of
Peel’s festive 50. It then appeared on their first album, "Night
of a Thousand Candles", which was released in 1985. The album also
includes the singles 'Ironmasters' and 'Greenback Dollar''/'Night to
Remember'. Signing for MCA the following year, they recorded
their second album, "How Green Is the Valley", produced by Mick
Glossop. Included on this album are the singles 'Gold Rush',
'Shirt of Blue' and 'Ghosts of Cable Street'.
In 1987 Shanne Bradley left the band and was replaced by Ricky
McGuire, famous for touring with punk legends the UK Subs at the tender
age of 17. With their third release in 1988, "Waiting for Bonaparte",
The Men They Couldn't Hang were starting to achieve recognition across
Europe for their political comment and raucous live shows.
One year later, they
followed up the success of "Waiting for Bonaparte" with their fourth
album, "Silvertown". In 1989 they played to over 250,000 people in
Estonia as communism started to crumble and followed this with an
unforgettable Reading Festival appearance. At the height of their
career, TMTCH recorded the brilliant "Domino Club" (1990) produced by
Pat Collier however, this was to be their last studio album for a while
as in early 1991, after a blistering farewell tour the band called it a
didn’t last long as the band were invited by Vince Power to
appear at his 10th anniversary celebrations for the Mean Fiddler venue
in London and the band performed occasional gigs including a fantastic
2 ½ hour 10th anniversary gig of their own in 1994.
1996 much to the delight of their fans, TMTCH reunited permanently.
They returned with a new power and excitement to their music. "Never
Born to Follow" is an excellent work which includes the single, 'The
Eye'. Shortly after this, they released the "Six Pack EP" (1997),
followed by their 'Best Of' collections, "Majestic Grill" and "The Mud,
The Blood And The Beer" (both 1998). In 2003 the band released the
self-produced album “The Cherry Red Jukebox" to much critical
acclaim and this was followed by the Pat Collier produced “Devil
on the Wind” in 2009 featuring long-time associate Bobby
Valentino on fiddle and introducing Tom Spencer of the YoYos and the
Loyalties fame, son of musician and author the late John B Spencer on
banjo. The band spent much of 2010 and 11 touring this across the U.K.
and Europe including festival appearances alongside The Levellers and
headlining a roots festival in Slovenia.
saw the release of an album from Stefan Cush’s new band,
“the Feral Family” and Paul Simmonds was recording and
touring with roots singer Naomi Bedford as well as numerous live dates
for TMTCH. The latter including appearances at Mike Peter’s
“The Gathering”, and festival appearances alongside Billy
Bragg and Adam Ant to name but a few. They headlined the 10th
anniversary commemoration of Joe Strummer’s Acton Town Hall show
which also featured a special guest appearance by Hard Fi.
2013 saw the release of Phil (Swill) Odgers highly anticipated solo
album produced by the legendary Mick Glossop, the album "The
Godforsaken Voyage" includes guest appearances from Australian
folkrockers Weddings, Parties Anything as well as home grown talent
such as John Jones (Oysterband) and folk royalty Eliza Carthy. The
album has received glowing reviews and has become an Amazon and iTunes
hit. A Vinyl version with extra track is planned for the summer.
On the exact day of
release of "The Godforsaken Voyage", The Men They Couldn't Hang joined
Stiff Little Fingers for 3 weeks on their UK tour. This combined with
several Festivals appearances in UK and German act as which a great
prelude to TMTCH’s 30th anniversary in 2014 for which the band
are busy writing new material right now. Later in 2013 the band
will launch a 'Pledge' campaign to enable fans to not only buy unique
recordings in advance of the album but also to help shape the final end