PHIL ODGERS & BOBBY VALENTINO – live

Live at The Slaughtered Lamb, 34 Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX

Saturday 28th April 2018

Phil Odgers
Photograph by Dai Jeffries

Hot on the heels of his critically acclaimed ‘partial’ autobiography Tales From The Tracks, knock out album Roll To The Left and sold out UK tour, Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers rides into town with the larger than life Bobby Valentino playing some mean violin alongside him.

Founder member and one half of the joint vocal strike force of the inimitable The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Phil “Swill” Odgers is a well loved and prolific solo artist in his own right. Audiences around the world from Cairo to Reykjavik, Brisbane to Tokyo, and Berlin to London have succumbed to his effervescent and heartfelt vocal style.

A fine acoustic guitarist, singer and songwriter, his influences are far-reaching, ranging from his Scottish roots, through 50’s/60’s rock ‘n’ roll, punk, folk and country. Phil Odgers is a sorely undervalued national treasure!

His latest solo album, the highly regarded Roll To The Left, brings his song writing prowess into sharp, bright, focus. Lyrically this is a collection of unique tales with cinematic imagery – from kitchen sink realism and social commentary to Technicolor splendour. The album was recorded in the studio built for Kirsty MacColl by Steve Lillywhite (where she recorded ‘Fairytale Of New York’). Phil was privileged to record the album using to 3 very special acoustic guitars – one previously owned by Kirsty MacColl, one by Joe Strummer and the limited black edition Martin Guitar from Johnny Cash’s personal collection. It’s no surprise then that these organic, passionate and spirited sessions resulted in a magical and deeply accomplished record.

At this very special performance at the extremely fine Slaughtered Lamb in London EC1 you will have the opportunity to hear songs from this album, along with favourites from Phil’s back catalogue and even some TMTCH classics.

To make the gig even more special Phil will be accompanied by renegade virtuoso Bobby Valentino on fiddle.

Bobby Valentino:

The man who co-wrote and played violin on The Bluebells ‘Young at Heart’, Bobby has played on records by Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Alabama 3 and Paul Weller to name but a few.

He has also contributed to many recordings by The Men They Couldn’t Hang as well as frequently appearing with them on stage.

Bobby’s vocal talents are demonstrated on his solo albums ‘This is Murder’ and ‘Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake’ both of which will be on sale on the night.

Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers and Bobby Valentino – what a combination!!

The Slaughtered Lamb

If you like your gigs acoustic, it doesn’t get much better than at the Slaughtered Lamb. The room’s big enough to create an atmosphere, but the corner stage, which places the performers at eye level with the audience, makes for one of the most intimate musical experiences in London. It’s why American musicians will travel here for a single gig, and why it’s a great place to meet and mingle with fellow folk-lovers. Sure, it’s a pain if you’re there on a night when it’s standing-room only and you can’t see much. But the opportunity to have a drink with the band upstairs after the gig – most musicians can be found there post-performance – more than makes up for it.

Artist’s website: www.swillodgers.co.uk

Swill and Valentino to reunite on tour in April

PHIL ‘SWILL’ ODGERS
& BOBBY VALENTINO
April 2018 Tour
Never the same set twice!

The Men They Couldn’t Hang singer-songwriter Phil ‘Swill Odgers and roots fiddle supremo Bobby Valentino hit the road in April for a duo tour that’s selling fast.

Confirmed dates so far…

Sat 7th Sheffield Heeley Institute, 147 Gleadless Rd, Sheffield S2 3AF Tickets
Wed 11th Bristol Thunderbolt, 124 Bath Rd, Bristol BS4 3ED Tickets
Thurs 12th Birmingham Kitchen Garden Café, 17 York Rd, B14 Tickets
Fri 13th Lowton Social Club, 214 Newton Road Lowton, WA3 2AQ (Tickets are only available via email to gordongigshaw@aol.com)
Sat 14th Newcastle, Cobalt Studios, Boyd St, NE21AP Tickets
Sun 15th Durham: Old Cinema Launderette, DH1 2HX Tickets
Fri 20th Edinburgh: The Speakeasy, The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register St, EH2 2AA Tickets
Sat 28th London: The Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX http://www.wegottickets.com/event/427966

Artist Web Link: https://philodgers.bandcamp.com/

Swill and the Pledgers

Swill and the Pledgers
Photograph by Dai Jeffries – l-r: James, Marv, Swill, Jade

Following the success of The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s Pledge campaign to fund The Defiant it was clear to Phil Odgers that he would do the same when it came to recording his next solo project. The Men have been held up as an exemplar of how to conduct such a campaign and Phil has possibly taken it to the next level.

Which explains how a quartet of pledgers and one fortunate journalist came to be with Phil and producer James Knight in a studio in Ealing listening to the final mixes of eighteen songs. What was different about both these campaigns was their interactive nature. This wasn’t a case of taking the fans’ money and waiting for the record to come out; pledgers were involved all the way with Phil making videos in his kitchen to keep everyone updated. These involved, among other things, his cat and peeling potatoes. It was the very ordinariness of these films that appealed to supporters and the cat was a big hit.

So how did the pledgers become involved in the project? Jade and her husband are from the Black Country and proud of it. Two years ago Jade’s boss sent her an email headed ‘The Men They Couldn’t Hang’; she looked them up “and after that I was hooked”.

Marv, from Essex, paid a bit extra into the fund to earn the title of consultant producer. “I first heard about The Men They Couldn’t Hang back in about 1991 and I loved them from first hearing them and I lapped up everything I could find. I didn’t have anyone who would come with me to hear them live but it was on my bucket list. I signed up to their Facebook page and saw the 30th anniversary Pledge campaign. I thought ‘I’m going to get involved in that and I’m going to see them live and the first gig I’ll see will be the 30th anniversary gig which was last year’. And it was the most satisfying and fantastic experience. When that was over and Swill said he was going to do one for his solo album I snapped up the chance to get involved again.”

The quietly-spoken Eric is from Bristol. “I’ve followed The Men They Couldn’t Hang since 1984 when I saw them live at The Thekla for 50p and I have getting on for over a hundred LPs and singles.” Before you ask, count every format, every edition and every variant and you’ll get there. Eric makes me look like an amateur. “Years ago when Phil sponsored the cover of Elvis Lives Here I got my name on that. I’m a big collector and pledging is part of collecting.”

So what happens, now? Phil has eighteen songs recorded which, by this time in the conversation, had been bounced down by James and handed over on a stick ready for uploading. They are more than demos but a little less that final versions.

“The original plan was just to get my guitar out and something like that [indicating my H4n] and just record them very basically but good quality”, says Phil, “but plans change. Then I thought I can bring in Bobby [Valentino] to do a bit of fiddle and I’ll bring in this great double bass player I know. Then I found the studio on the internet and met Jim in a pub – we’re neighbours – and so we went there. We recorded in a very basic way but because he’s good at what he does and because I used top people the recording came out in such high quality that I kind of feel ‘what do I do now?’.

“Well, I’ve got to get rid of eight of them, which is a bummer; do I leave the rest as they are, do I re-record them, do I build on top of them?”

What will happen is this. On Christmas Eve the eighteen tracks will be posted on line for the pledgers to hear and about a month from now each will receive a double CD – a strictly limited edition. In the meantime, the pledgers will vote on which ten tracks will make it to the final commercially available album. It won’t be easy – Marv says he’ll vote for ten out-and-out rockers, but if I had an input I’d want to include one of the three “change of pace” tracks like Phil’s cover of Graham Parker’s ‘Long Stem Rose’. I suspect that at least one of the Hank Williams songs be voted in and both ‘New Song Blues’ and ‘Eddie Was’ deserve to make the cut as does the Shakin’ Pyramids’ ‘Sunset Of My Tears’. But it’s not for me to say.

“I’ve met some people”, says Phil, “who’ve said that they’re not going to pledge and were going to wait for the proper album but, personally, I think that the pledge version will be the definitive version. I know that down the road, when I’ve done the proper version, people will say that the pledge version is better.”

There was a great enthusiasm for the pledging process around the table and, in an era where there are very few big labels and those that exist don’t want to handle anything that doesn’t follow the corporate pattern, who can say that it won’t become the established way of doing things for more and more artists. Swill’s album will be out in its commercial form sometime next year and, despite the suggestions made four pints and a curry later, I’m prepared to bet that it won’t be called Leather And Onions.

Dai Jeffries

Phil’s pledge website: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/swill

PHIL ODGERS – Sunday Morning Coming Down – Vinyl Stac Records VSREP001

Phil Odgers, better known to his friends as Swill, has developed an interesting solo career alongside The Men They Couldn’t Hang. With Paul Simmonds there was Baby Fishlips and the long-lost Liberty Cage album before the formation of The Swaggerband. Here he’s completely solo with help from Mick Glossop on production and Pro-Tools.

Sunday Morning Coming Down is an EP of covers. TMTCH have always done covers but ‘Rawhide’ and ‘Gudbye T’Jane’ aren’t quite the same. Now Swill casts himself as the outsider. ‘I’m A Lonesome Fugitive’ sums up the character; ‘The Parting Glass’ is the ultimate moving-on song and the central figure of Tom Waits’ ‘Bottom Of The World’ is as far down as he can get. The hero of the title track may be further up the social scale but he’s equally alone in the middle of a city.

Swill doesn’t do anything too fancy with the songs: voice, guitars, harmonica and keyboards is all. In fact, you could say that he’s respectful of the material which wasn’t always the case twenty-five years ago. I could take a lot more in this vein, though, alongside The Men and The Swaggerband.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist Weblink: www.tmtch.net