If ever a book were the embodiment of its author and its subject – or indeed both – then Bound Together is one such volume. In spades (you dig?!). However, it appeared with very little fanfare, and quite a few months ago (unless I happened to be in the wrong place at the time!), hence this late review.
Just as The Young’ Uns are an act that’s impossible to ignore, this is one of those books that’s impossible to put down. Is it a biography? Nope. Is it a songbook? Nope. Is it historical research? Nope. But it’s all these and much more. Every reader will have his or her own memory of an encounter with one or other or perhaps all three of the Young’ Uns, and along the way of the course of this book many a knowing smile, nod, chuckle, guffaw or grimace will rise to the surface. For each of the lads gets to banter, to voice reflections or opinions, or recount episodes from their history, or discuss matters of major or minor importance, in his own inimitable style – and naturally, more often than not with that independent, wacky, often irreverent sense of humour for which their stage act is renowned.
Their stage act is truly “laugh or cry, same price”, for at the same time (or often within the same breath) you’re copllapsing with laughter or tremendously moved by their compassion and humanity. So, in this book, hilarious accounts of the lads’ early folk club appearances (read disasters!) are followed unashamedly (and almost, but not exactly seemingly at random) by sincere and erudite explorations of local history; sympathetic and caring portraits of local characters and customs; memories (both proud and dubious) of gigs, events and collaborations with which they’ve been involved; and ribald and picaresque tales of road trips, hitch-hiking, holidays and other daring adventures. There’s also plenty of “stories behind the songs”, reproduced lyrics of several key songs, and generous and warm-hearted memoirs of folk scene legends. All bound together quite literally under one roof. And all brilliantly readable – with the sense of opinionated inclusivity and camaraderie that’s the Young’ Uns’ hallmark.
Does this leave you any the wiser? Probably not. So I’ll risk repeating the advice on the jacket: “for further information please refer to the back cover of the book”… No, seriously… You know it makes sense (hey, c’mon!). You need this book!