serious

The colour of the new republic.

The Day After / Ghosts Of Cable Street / Wishing Well / Bounty Hunter / Shirt Of Blue / Barratt's Privateers (Swill) / Parted From You (Swill) / A Boy Named Sue (Cush) / Donald Where's Yer Troosers? (Cush) / Billy Morgan / Singing Elvis / Rosettes / Smugglers / Nightbird / The Colours / Ironmasters // Green Fields Of France // Greenback Dollar / Bank Robber / Walkin’ Talkin’



"I've been waiting twenty years to see them, and they were terrible"

Thankfully that was years ago, hundreds of miles away, a completely different band and someone else complaining. I've been waiting twenty years to see The Men They Couldn't Hang, and they were fantastic.

The first time I failed to see them was in Lambeth in the late summer of 1985, when the Pogues, the Men and three other bands were playing for a fiver, and I didn't have a fiver. I wasn't as disappointed about that at the time as I was later. About ten years later I got a ticket to see them in Edinburgh, but found out that the promotor had neglected to mention that it was an acoustic show by two of them rather than the whole band. I had a good time, but I think Myf was less impressed - she courted a dumping by describing The Green Fields of France as "some dodgy old folk song". Maybe I should have, actually. It might have saved some trouble later.

When I was in Cambridge, there were rumours of gigs and festival appearances, but nothing I found out about in time. A few months ago, though, they announced the Glasgow gig. My presence was a foregone conclusion.

The train across wasn't, due to engineering work which I only found out about after buying a ticket, so I was deposited at Glasgow Central in time to catch the second support, a band called (I think) The Wakes. I didn't really get into them because I was getting a drink and seeing if there was anyone there I knew. Nobody, as far as I can tell. They seemed fairly good, though. Wouldn't mind having a closer listen sometime. This was in the Arches in Glasgow, which seems to be under about a quarter of Glasgow Central station. I saw Half Man Half Biscuit there a couple of years back, and the two concerts didn't seem to have shared even a single square foot of the venue. I don't really know how much more there is of it. George Clinton was playing in some other bit of it the same night, but there was no sight nor sound of him or his fans save a notice telling people to go to the other door. The sound was a bit woolly, but good enough for folk-rock.

The third and final support was Darren Poyser, a gobby political folksinger - the sort of thing I quite like, in other words. After a couple he announced that the next one was a Manchester folk song, and then fingerpicked his way through Love Will Tear Us Apart, which was oddly charming. There was a poster up advertising his website, and it and some cards had a cellphone number - as he said, "so now you can heckle by text message."

The Men's set was as detailed above, and they might as well have asked me to write it. It wouldn't have differed significantly. I'd said to CJ earlier that I didn't expect it to be a lifechanging event, but it was noticeably closer than I'd expected. They were on excellent form. I'd forgotten how much I liked Parted From You, pile of mushy crap that it is, and the songs I didn't know - Barratt's Privateers in particular - were very good indeed. Apparently this tour is to raise money for a new album, which they expect to be out in the spring, with tour attached. I'll be there if so. They really were excellent live - chatty, engaging, and energetic at all the right moments. I thought Cush had a fair nerve doing DOnald where's yer troosers so near the heilanman's umbrella, but he seemed to get away with it. There probably aren't as many random teuchters kicking around there as there were.

In other news, I now know which one's Swill and which one's Cush. Apparently Swill was actually born in Oban. That's two of us that don't sound it, then.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Music: The Men They Couldn't Hang - Shirt of blue
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Is jealous. The time nickys & I saw them in Cas Rock as was they were excellent. Hopefully catch the tour.

Looking forward to Alice et al on Wednesday though. I just realised it's 24 years since I saw Motorhead, which is a bit scary.
Its a long time since I saw The Men, about 16 years I think but they were always great fun live and wrote some wonderful stirring righteous songs, like The Colours, Ghosts Of Cable Street and Shirt Of Blue.

Was too sick to even think of going to see them last week down here unfortunately.
That's a shame. Still, they're aiming to tour again with a new album out in the spring.
Envy. Also, FYI "Barratt's Privateers" was writ by late lamented Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers. Good tune.
Yes. They said it wasn't theirs, but gave a location rather than a name - was he from Nova Scotia?
And it wasn't until after I posted that that it occurred to me that it was the Canadian Halifax in the song.
Yeah, Halifax was a major privateering port during the American Revolution/War of Independence. (Funny how how wars change name depending on whose side you hear.) There's still an area of town called Privateer's Wharf.
Stan was from Ontario originally, but spent a lot of time Down East.
Right. I've found some of his stuff on Emusic, so I'll report back when I've done some digesting.
I had a similar feeling seeing Stone Angel - there's something about waiting 20+ years to catch a personally significant band :-)
Yeah. I'd have been well satisfied even if they'd just been OK, having seen them do the songs before me. Being on such good form's just a bonus.
The sound was a bit woolly, but good enough for folk-rock.”

hehehehe, love it :D

Ah, TMTCH. One of those bands you just have to catch live. I remember kicking myself at being unable somehow (poor student? no transport or pals?) to see them back in ~1985. I grabbed any chance after that. But they were rare chances I remember. Maybe they didn't come up to Scotland much? Cannae remember the noo. But I was lucky enough to catch them supporting the Oysterband in Cambridge at the CornX in about 97. ...and catching sight of Mr Cutesy again, lol. Yes, a personally significant live band in my history/life. love them live even though I don't know their material half as well as I should. But I still rave about the version of Green Fields of France that they did for a Peel session in about 1984. Awesome. I learnt that song because of them/that. So it might have been 10 years since I've seen them live. But I'm a festival junky, so maybe I caught them somewhere else since then like Larmertree, Guilfest or CFF. yep, I'm still green.
(I would love to have been at this one)

Or, wait a moment... GET TO THIS ON FRIDAY...
In a similar vain...........the "Raise Your Banners" Festival in Bradford on Friday November 9, with Oysterband, Dick Gaughan, Chumbawamba and Tracey Curtis.......for tickets call 01274 432 000.

That'll be Dick just back fae Australia then. Cool lineup.


Turning to Stan Rogers:
http://www.last.fm/music/Stan+Rogers
you can even listen to a snippet of his version.

I love his version of The Witch of the Westmorland (written I believe by Scotland's own Archie Fisher), and you cannae beat the live version of 'The Scotsman'. He was one of those folk singers in the jovial rotund category, like Hamish Imlach and Danny Kyle. A real talent in the Canadian folk genre.

As for me, I'm off to what is basically a glorified private party this weekend I think... get yer mates on stage... get everyone on stage... :)
Hah. Didn't know you'd encountered Stan's music in your folky travellings, though I should have guessed :-)
Yeah, real early actually back in early 90s. We hosted a visiting US physicist (Kevin someone) I 'met' on the net. We took him up to see Denny Swanson singing 'Dead Puppy's' in that pub near the Castle, and then a fast few days tour of the north of Scotland. He gave me a compilation tape, on which were those 2 Stan Rogers songs I mention. His voice blew me away. And I was shocked to learn he was still so young! Such a shame he's gone really.
When I get around to burning those disks I promised you I'll be sure to throw more Stan on them.
Cool.

I'm still in the process of digging out bands I've seen live and I've been reminded of Avalon who we used to come down to Edinburgh to see each month when they played at Pressy Hall. We even got them on the Cropredy bill in 1990!

I've new stuff from their (now out of date) biog. I never knew of the tenuous Fish connection before!
Either that or the old age memory is really kicking in...
Manchester memories
I've still got a Darren Poyzer tape from my undergrad days back in Manchester when I used to go to a lot of the acoustic roots shows put on by a guy called Paul Chi, and I occasionally check out his page. I think at the time he helped run the gigs at the Witchwood pub which put on really good gigs in some northern suburb of Manchester whose name I forget. The things I remember about him are
1) Rhyming Seville (Spanish Town) with devil in his song Radio Devil (a bit too contrived)
2) Selling me his tape for 20p less than the asking price as that was all the money I had and checking that I wasn't leaving myself short of bus fare, so pretty decent bloke.
Re: Manchester memories
(Anonymous)
... thanks for making me chuckle :-)

I thought I'd got away with that Radio Devil thing

any chance you sending me the 20p then??

cheerios, Darren Poyzer
www.poyzer.com