03/04/2008

The Men They Couldn't Hang - How Green Is The Valley (1986)

A folk-rock classic from UK, and an old favourite of mine.

«The Men They Couldn’t Hang were officially formed in early 1984. The founding members were Phil "Swill" Odgers (vocals, guitar), Paul Simmonds (guitar, bouzouki, keyboards) and Jon Odgers (drums) from punk-pop band Catch 22 with Shanne Bradley (bass, flute – former member of Shane MacGowan’s band "The Nips") and Stefan Cush (vocals, guitar), whom they met while busking in West London. TMTCH appeared at a St Patrick’s Day festival in 1984 and were also asked to play at a benefit gig for the striking miners. Paul Simmonds wrote the song "Shirt Of Blue" on the way to the gig when he watched a whole police force gathering. The Men’s first big hit was their cover version of Eric Bogle’s "Green Fields Of France", which ended up in John Peel’s Festive Fifties two years running! In 1985 they released their first album Night Of A Thousand Candles, closely followed by How Green Is The Valley in 1986. Among the TMTCH fans, these two album remain the most popular due to now classic Men songs like "Ironmasters", "Ghosts Of Cable Street" [about the 1936 Battle of Cable Street – a clash between the Police, overseeing a legal march by the British Union of Fascists led by Oswald Mosley and anti-fascists including local Jewish, socialist, Irish and communist groups – read more] and "Shirt Of Blue".» (TMTCH’s MySpace site)

«If there were any justice, The Men They Couldn’t Hang would be famous. Yet cruel twists of fate concerning their name and timing of releases undermined their chances of commercial success. Instead, they remain one of Britain’s best-kept secrets, known to the few who kept the faith over the years. […] Paul Simmonds’s superb songwriting forms the backbone. Phil Odgers (‘Swill’) and Stefan Cush provide fine contrasting songs and the exuberant vocals which give the band its unique character. Add Ricky McGuire on bass and quality session musicians such as Bobby Valentino and Nick Muir and you end up with recordings of rare potency.» (Song-book)

Link in comments

3 comments:

Radu said...

http://sharebee.com/48343c3e

Pituco said...

Thank you Radu, very very good blog

Anonymous said...

Thanks also.

Excellent blog and very good choice of TMTCH. Saw them a couple of weeks ago and they are still brilliant.