Men they couldn't hang, the - rain, steam & speed


The boat rides south of Ailsa Craig in the waning of the light
There's thirty men in Lendalfit to make our burden light
And there's thirty horse in Hazleholm with the halters on their heads
All set this night up on your life if wind and water speed
Smugglers drink of the frenchmens wine and the darkest night is the smugglers
Lime
Away we ran from the excise man
It's a smugglers life for me
It's a smugglers life for me
Oh lass you have a cozy bed, and cattle you have ten
Can you not live a lawful life and live with lawful men?
But must I use old homely goods while there's foreign gear so fine?
Must I drink at the waterside and France so full of wine
Smugglers drink of the frenchmens wine and the darkest night is the smugglers
Time
Away we ran from the excise man
It's a smugglers life for me
It's a smugglers life for me
Though well I like to see you Kate, with a baby on your knee
My heart is now with gallant crew that plough through the angry sea
The hitter gale, the tightest sail, and the sheltered bay or goal
It's the wayward life, it's the smugglers strife, it's the joy of the smugglers
Soul
Smugglers drink of the frenchmens wine and the darkest night is the smugglers
Time
Away we ran from the excise man
It's a smugglers life for me
It's a smugglers life for me
And when at last the dawn comes up and the cargo safely stored
Like sinless saints to church we'll go. God's mercy to afford
And It's champagne fine for communion wine and the parson drinks it too
With a sly wink prays "forgive these men, for they know not what they do"
Smugglers, drink of the frenchmens wine and the darkest night is the smugglers
Time
Away we ran from the excise man
It's a smugglers life for me
It's a smugglers life for me
It's a smugglers life for me
It's a smugglers life for me

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The 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 day.

The split 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.
By 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 . and Europe including festival appearances alongside The Levellers and headlining a roots festival in Slovenia.

2012 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.

March 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 three 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 product.

Every Pledger will be entered into a raffle for The Bundle. This will be created during the recording session by the band and musical guests. It will include the original studio track notes, lyric sheets, rough mix discs, CDs that we’ve been listening to, half finished bottles of Oban whiskey, a mandolin signed by the band and any other studio detritus we decide to throw in during the session. You can collect this from the studio towards the end of the session or we can post it if necessary.


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