Music: The Men They Couldn't Hang

The Men They Couldn't Hang are a British folk band. Their first release was a cover of Eric Bogle's "Green Fields of France" in 1984, followed the next year by their first record "Night of a Thousand Candles". After releasing "How Green is the Valley" in 1986, the group achieved notability in Europe with their 1987 album "Waiting for Bonaparte", featuring popular songs "The Colours" and "The Crest".


Discography:

  • Night of a Thousand Candles (1985)
  • How Green is the Valley (1986)
  • Waiting for Bonaparte (1987)
  • Silvertown (1989)
  • The Domino Club (1990)
  • Alive, Alive-O (Live, 1991)
  • Never Born to Follow (1996)
  • Big Six Pack (1997)
  • Majestic Grill: The Best of the Men They Couldn't Hang (1998)
  • The Mud, The Blood And The Beer (Best Of, Volume 2) (1999)
  • The Cherry Red Jukebox (2003)
  • Smugglers and Bounty Hunters (Live, 2005)
  • Demos and Rarities Volume 1 (2007)
  • Demos and Rarities Volume 2 (2008)
  • Devils On The Wind (2009)
  • 5 Go Mad on the Other Side (2011)
  • The Defiant (2014)


Tropes:

  • Dying Town: "Company Town" is about the narrator lamenting how his hometown has been transformed by corporate enterprise.
    It's the company man on the company land
    Stands every street and building in the town
    Every park, every green, every home and dream
    The company owns every piece of ground
    And everybody in the company town
    • "Industrial Town" more literally, as it tells the story of a man mourning the demise of his hometown due to industry leaving.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first three-quarters of "Scarlet Ribbons" is a slightly slow but seemingly upbeat song about the celebrations of a nation victorious in war, and then in the last line sharply reminds us just what that means:
    On the bells of celebration
    In the bedrooms of this nation
    On a lonely isle, so cold and bare
    Lies a dead soldier, so fresh and rare
  • Protest Song: The song "Ironmasters" was a protest song linking the Merthyr Rising in 1831 to contemporary mistreatment of the working class under the Thatcher regime.
  • War Is Hell: A lot of their songs try to illustrate this: "The Crest", "Tiny Soldiers", "Scarlet Ribbons", to name just three.
  • World War I: "Green Fields of France" imagines the song's protagonist having a conversation with the tombstone of a soldier killed in 1916.
  • World War II: "The Crest" is about a Red Cross stretcher-bearer in Italy.