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The Men They Couldn't Hang


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(1984 – present)

The Men They Couldn’t Hang (TMTCH) are a British rock band whose mixture of folk and punk is not dissimilar to that of The Pogues (in fact founder member Shanne Bradley was a member of Shane MacGowan’s first band the Nipple Erectors), although they have not enjoyed the same commercial or critical success as MacGowan’s group.

The original group consisted of Stefan Cush (Vocals, Guitar), Paul Simmonds (Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Keyboards), Phil “Swill” Odgers (Vocals, Guitar, Tin Whistle, Melodica), Jon Odgers (Drums, Percussion) and Shanne Bradley (Bass, Flute).

Their first single, “The Green Fields of France”, was released in 1984. Written by Eric Bogle (of ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ fame), the song’s protagonist imagined having a conversation with one of the fallen soldiers of World War I whilst sitting by his graveside. The song received considerable airplay on the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and finished at No.3 in Peel’s Festive 50 for that year.

The following year came TMTCH’s debut album, ‘The Night of a Thousand Candles’ and its accompanying single “Ironmasters” - this time a self-penned number by main songwriter Simmonds, linking the Industrial Revolution to the present-day treatment of the working class. The original final line of the song - “and oh, that iron bastard, she still gets her way” (a reference to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) had to be removed for the single version to ensure radio airplay.


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  • VinnyCrever

    Kinda underrated as for me..

    2 Aug 2013 Reply
  • Dankel50

    One of my favorite bands, I used to have most of their stuff on vinyl but now only have a few things on CD - saw them live in the mid 80s and they were great!

    4 Feb 2012 Reply
  • ItsGizmo

    Great band loved their versions of The Battle of Cable Street ( fuck fascism) and The Green Fields of France ( Lest We Forget, FGAU)

    24 May 2011 Reply
  • McGill59

    Been a fan since Waiting For Bonaparte. Went to Cush's 50th birthday bash in Llandeilo last year. what a fantastic night. Can't wait to see them play again. Superb, superb band

    29 Apr 2011 Reply
  • mad_tea

    one of my first bands I've seen live. was the lion & unicorn tour. what a great band.

    3 Apr 2010 Reply
  • Gilistes

    Saw them yesterday. Good band!

    6 Sep 2009 Reply
  • RobertMeadows

    Saw them at their 'last' gig in 1991 at the Town and Country club. It was a good night.

    19 May 2009 Reply
  • Kriegslok

    25th Anniversary gig rumoured for 18th May at an as yet undisclosed location.......

    13 Mar 2009 Reply
  • TheHagMan

    Real pity there is nothing on, they were as good as the Pogues in my mind, sadly neglected here!

    8 Dec 2008 Reply
  • danextpope

    Also possibly the only band to have a song about grave-robbing...

    4 Nov 2008 Reply
  • punkrockadict

    Though my Nick doesn´t fit...they´re definetely one of my three Lifetime-Fav-Bands... btw: There is a Song from TMTCH on the 2nd Hope ´n Anchor-Sampler...does anybody know how i could get it? I´m lookin´for it for decades now... Cheers to you

    11 Feb 2008 Reply
  • Diotor

    Hopefully going to see them in Whitehaven next month with my girlfriend.

    14 Sep 2007 Reply
  • scottythetim

    this has to be one of the most criminally overlooked bands ever, sheer class

    17 Jan 2007 Reply
  • qameers3

    What else can I say? The best

    5 May 2006 Reply

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