Fascism. Fighting it, defeating it, singing about it. Fascism looms large in the life of the Young ‘uns, three twenty-somethings who’ve been singing together ten years now (hence the cringe-worthy name). But if anyone was expecting unsubtle diatribes, as ranty as a street-corner seller of the Socialist Worker, you couldn’t be further from the truth. What you get is beautifully sung, evocative and thoughtful songs. Their last album “When our Grandfathers’ Said No” marks the time poverty-stricken Hartlepool sent Oswald Mosely and his crew packing in the 1930s. Their latest album similarly reflects on how members of a Bradford mosque disarmed an EDL rally outside through the simple act of offering them tea and biscuits. Songs from each of these albums were performed beautifully at Cecil Sharp House, HQ of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
But as the Cecil Sharp House Director made clear in her introduction it’s not just the beautiful songs and amazing harmonies that you get at a Young ‘uns gig, a major part of it is their brilliant on-stage humour; three friends who are constantly taking the piss out of each other, the audience and fellow musicians in a warm but hilarious and totally unscripted way.
They sing a mixture of traditional and original songs and, don’t worry, it’s not all about Oswald Mosley or the EDL. One of my favourite songs of theirs is “Love in a Northern Town” describing how the group’s songwriter Sean Cooney’s nana met her husband and reflecting on the changing fortunes of Hartlepool. Highly recommended.