THE YOUNG ‘UNS
The Ballad Of Johnny Longstaff (Hereteu Records) Album
The Young ‘Uns have been acclaimed as the future of English folk music. The Teesside trio of Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes won BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards with 2017’s Strangers. The follow-up tells the story of fellow Stockton on Tees native Johnny Longstaff, who went from begging on the streets in the North of England to fighting against Fascism in the Spanish Civil War, taking in the Jarrow march on the way. It is a marvellous, moving, rousing tale given the treatment it deserves thanks to the passion and power of the band. Complete with a 40-page booklet, the album even includes the real recorded voice of Johnny. Songwriter Cooney describes it as a labour of love, and explained how it came about: “In 2015 a man arrived at one of our concerts with a picture of his late father and a story. His father’s name was Johnny Longstaff and what a story he had to tell.’’ This is a remarkable album, full of humour and humanity and, yes, politics, all served up withcracking good tunesg.