Folk

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hillier

An­other Man’s Ground The Young’Uns Planet

Aussie en­sem­ble the Spooky Men’s Cho­rale has cast a spell over UK au­di­ences in re­cent years with the un­usual com­bi­na­tion of con­sum­mate har­mony singing and sharp SNAG-bait­ing satire. Cur­rently, an equally ac­com­plished and ac­claimed a cap­pella act from north­ern Eng­land is at­tempt­ing to fol­low suit in re­verse with a con­trast­ingly som­bre and so­cially con­scious reper­toire.

The Young’Uns’ fourth al­bum is tan­ta­mount to a cel­e­bra­tion of Bri­tish work­ing class he­roes past and present. An­other Man’s Ground in­cludes clas­sics from the pens of those masters of political bal­ladry and com­men­tary, Billy Bragg and Ewan MacColl.

It’s a trib­ute to the Young’Uns’ stir­ring three­part har­mony singing and broad Stock­ton ac­cents that their ren­di­tions of Be­tween the Wars and School Days Over are as po­tent as the orig­i­nal record­ings of 30 and 50 years ago.

Not that res­i­dent com­poser Sean Cooney’s songs re­lat­ing to lo­cal is­sues, such as You Won’t Find Me on Ben­e­fits Street, pull any punches: “Me grandad fought the fas­cists / Me father fought for a job / So I’ll fight any­one who tries / to stig­ma­tise and fob”.

Mov­ing far away from Teesside, the song­smith hits an­other bulls­eye with a bal­lad about the cold-blooded slay­ing of a Pak­istani girl two years ago by her own flesh and blood: “When they came to the High Court her fam­ily were there / And sticks, stones and bricks flew through the air / And the streets of La­hore stood silent and mean /And smiled as they mur­dered Farzana Parveen”.

No less poignant are two songs based on World War I let­ters. An­other wor­thy ode salutes the sadly ne­glected English hu­man­i­tar­ian Tom Paine.

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