Twice BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners the Young’uns present a timely tale of a boy who walked out of poverty, a teenager who stood up to racism, a soldier
who fought fascism and an old man who inspired a new generation.
In the summer of 1939 as war clouds loomed over Europe, a 19 year old lad from Teesside went to the House of Commons to meet his local MP. He had just
returned from fighting against fascism in the Spanish Civil War (to do so was illegal because of Britain’s policy of non intervention). Hearing footsteps
coming down the corridor he turned to see the figure of Winston Churchill approaching. The lad’s MP took the opportunity of introducing him. Churchill
looked the teenage soldier up and down, took his cigar out of his mouth, and said ‘Would young men like you be prepared to fight against Hitler?’ The
lad took a deep breath before he answered. ‘Mr Churchill,’ he said, ‘I’ve been fighting Hitler all of my life.’ His name was Johnny Longstaff.
This is the story of his life from the day it began in abject poverty in Stockton On Tees in 1919 to that chance meeting with Churchill in 1939. 16 original
songs will interweave with the late Johnny’s own recorded voice to tell a remarkable story of one man’s impulse to react to injustice wherever and
whenever he saw it. It’s a story of great humanity but also great humour as a teenager stumbles his way innocently through the tumultuous landscapes
of the 1930s - from Teesside to London then onto Paris and eventually across the Pyrenees even though he didn’t even know where Spain was.
"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. As a teenager Johnny walked 230 miles from our home town of Stockton On Tees to London in search of work and from then on bore witness to some of the most defining moments of the tumultuous 1930s including the Battle of Cable Street and the Spanish Civil War. Exploring Johnny’s story through his own spoken words with the recordings he made for the Imperial War Museum and having access to his never before published memoirs and his personal book and photo archive has been a labour of love for us. Three years later we have created a 90 minute show in which 16 original songs interweave with Johnny’s own voice against a backdrop of startling visuals to tell an incredible story. It’s not a story that glorifies conflict or imposes political views - it’s a story that oozes humanity, humour and fellowship.” The Young'uns
“Exceptional songwriting - an album to match their formidable live reputation” ★★★★ MOJO
“Joyous folk music sung with stirring urgency – and when the humour crackles these songs skyrocket” ★★★★ The Guardian