2. The Young ‘Uns – Another Man’s Ground
It’s no great surprise to see Stockton’s finest: The Young ‘Uns on this list. Regular readers will remember the eulogies I threw their way after catching them at Folk By The Oak earlier this year. Charm, wit, brains and bollocks (in both senses) were the four words I noted down as I stood in happy shock at the back of a tent as 3 blokes sent forth the loveliest harmonies this side of a Four Tops reunion tour.
A Capella music is always difficult to capture on tape because you lose some of the power and resonance of the performance. In this particular case, you also lose a little of the charm. It’s hard to replace the sheer, natural joy of their interactions with a crowd. It’s their natural habitat.
Despite that they did release a great record this year. Another Man’s Ground is 40 odd minutes of politics, pathos, humour and humility unmatched by most modern music. It’s core is their wry, honest look at the way television depicts the modern poor, without the context and care that growing up in a community gives you. That they manage to do so without a hint of pomposity just adds to the brilliance:
And even that isn’t my favourite moment. Tom Paine’s Bones is a jamboree. A party to one of socialism’s oft forgotten greats. A song to fling yourself around to, to shout along with like you’ve over-imbibed on homebrew again. A true joy: