Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers, Paul Simmonds and Bobby Valentino got together last Summer for a one off show at London’s legendary Water Rats music venue in Kings Cross. Recorded for posterity it was something a little different!
Remember last Summer? I do. I started a new job in April so for the first time in many a year I had both the money and the time to spend it so we took ourselves off to the sun drenched shores of Italy and Ireland (!) on holiday but if I’d have been here in London then on Friday 19th August 2022 their is only one place you would have found me and that was at the place where Celtic-Punk was born. Back on 4th October 1982 James Fearnley, Shane MacGowan, Spider Stacy and Jem Finer took the stage at The Pindar of Wakefield under the moniker of Pogue Mahone and a whole new genre of music had begun. Well the pub has changed it’s name and had more face lifts than Madonna has but it remains one of the best places to catch a band play in the whole of London.
That night in August saw Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers (on vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica), Paul Simmonds (on vocals and parlour guitar) and Bobby Valentino (backing vocals and violin) from The Men They Couldn’t Hang join forces for a one off special show down at The Water Rats in Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross. Sadly for fans, since the date of the gig was announced, the RMT rail union had called a series of transport strikes and the 19th was one of the dates chosen. This meant that even though the gig would eventually sell out many of The Men’s hardcore fans wouldn’t be able to make it into London. Lucky for them the guys decided to record the gig for posterity and this week sees it released for the first time. The resulting ninety minutes are a unique and often humorous peek into the trio’s musical lives. The fella’s played two sets with the first being a full on Punk-Folk set from The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s extensive catalogue of original material spanning forty years. With the band taking requests from the audience before and even during the gig the atmosphere was celebratory and spontaneous with songs from their debut album like ‘Night To Remember’ (see below) right through to the title track from their last studio release Red Kite Rising. The sound was amazing and even though the crowd sang loudly along to every single word throughout the night that is kept to an absolute minimum with the focus purely on Swill, Paul and Bobby.
After a quick break the Bhoys returned for the second set and surprised everyone by doing a live Q & A session with gig promoter Tony Fraser acting as question master for the duration. Tony was armed with questions he had gathered from the audience during the interval – none of which the band were privy too until they were read out live on stage. Ali Hakimi’s was on the sound desk on the night and the recording has been remastered by the regular TMTCH producer Pat Collier. Questions, Answers & Songs is available to order for pre-release now from the Bandcamp link below. It comes as a Bandcamp exclusive double CD or download. With the digital album out on March 3rd and the CD shipping out on or around March 7, 2023.
(Questions, Answers & Songs is available to stream and download from the Bandcamp player below)
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Tagged: The Men They Couldn't Hang
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