We love the Young 'Uns. In 2012 we were so keen to fit them into an already full schedule that we put on on our first Poppy 'Extra' night. That was more than two years ago so we thought it was time we had David, Sean and Michael back for a second helping.
After seeing them perform at festivals this year, we knew they had quite a lot of new material, and during the evening we heard some particularly lovely and moving songs inspired by the centenary of World War One.
They were on sparkling form. There was plenty of banter between the songs of course, but also humour in their interpretation of some of the songs. A shanty medley required foot stomping - with David 'stomping gently for the good of the community' after hearing that the Lady Bay Community Fund had part-funded the stage they were standing on. Another shanty - a French one - was described as 'a French whale-slaughtering song'.
Contrasting the humour were some very poignant songs, with Sean Cooney's 'The Streets of Lahore', a standout song. 'Jenny Waits for Me' is a favourite of mine from their earlier singing and was delivered exquisitely here.
Several songs were performed to remember their authors who had recently died. Ron Angel, who had been a big influence on the Young 'Uns, had passed away only a few days earlier and was remembered with his 'Chemical Workers Song'; while Ewan MacColl's 'Schooldays Over' brought back that man's great influence.
The Young 'Uns are rightly renowned for their fabulous harmony singing, but I was struck by some very, very nice guitar arrangements from Michael Hughes, and some clever accordion playing from David Eagle, especially on the song 'Battle of Stockton'.
To close the show, a real treat - David Eagle's song 'Lovely Cup of Tea' - an excellent and really funny song from the point of view of an English Defence League member who has his opinions changed by tea and biscuits.
A terrific concert, and the sell-out audience cheered them back on for an encore of John Ball - a Poppy favourite (and the first song sung at the club's opening night).
We were delighted to be able to give the delightful and up and coming duo Danny Pedler and Rosie Butler-Hall the job of providing a support spot for the concert. Rosie and Danny have been playing at some big festivals this year and have built up a great following. Danny plays accordion and hurdy-gurdy, while Rosie plays fiddle; and both sing. Tonight's well put-together set included french dance tunes, a shanty (Bold Riley) and a twist on the traditional 'Hares on the Mountain'; and won the duo more new supporters.
A big thank you should also go to Dave and Julia Taylor from the Seagrave Folk Club for opening the evening for us at short notice.
As always, a small but select group of singers and musicians stayed behind for a post-concert song and tune session. Thanks go to Jenny Bell, Alli Turner, Juliet Woodin, Dave and Julia Taylor, Wil Walker, Jim Helliwell, Brian Franks, and the Poppy Crew (Phil, Julie, Claire and Dave) for their contributions.
And so ended another great night at the Poppy Folk Club!