THE GREY PICKER (or his alter ego) John Young, in choosing his inspiration for EIGHT AND FORTY, selects from an extensive gallery of characters and themes - aviators, navigators, agitators, initiators, demonstrators, liberators. All torch-bearers, in their various ways, including the 58 trawlermen lost in freezing and treacherous Icelandic waters in 1968, whose deaths were to lead to more civilized conditions for succeeding deep-sea mariners.
The songs, penned by John, (except for 'Warriors' by Keith Jones), delve into a tradition of political and satirical writing as old as writing itself. The songs, sung with sincerity and passion, take us to the heady summits of the Munros, but also to the rat-infested, stygian tunnels of No Man's Land in 1916.
This is no facile exercise in drawing tinsel attention to our ill-divided world, for self-serving reasons. John Young has a track record in giving voice to the toils of the dispossessed and the frustrations of the short-changed, going back a full forty years. The CD is the product of the joint, and increasingly-melding, musical talents of the Young family, Christy, Paddy, John, with Tom Chester providing vocal and bass backing.
"Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay".
True for Oliver Goldsmith in the 1770s; sadly, still true for us in our time.