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BRASS MONKEY - The Best Of Live: 30th Anniversary Celebration

BRASS MONKEY - The Best Of Live: 30th Anniversary Celebration
Park Records PRKCD125

There are many instruments associated with folk music – fiddle, whistle, accordion, acoustic guitar, banjo, but very rarely brass. Some have ventured into this area in recent years, but the originators were Brass Monkey, five people with an impressive pedigree who came together in the early 80s and went on to rewrite the rulebook.

Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and the brass section of Howard Evans, Roger Williams and Martin Brinsford launched a very different type of band. The personnel changed for various reasons over the years but at the heart would remain a traditional act with a sparkling extra dimension. John, Roger and the two Martins are now joined by trumpeters Paul Archibald and Shane Brennan to form a six-strong version of the line-up. Taking a new approach to their well-known tracks as well as blasting through more contemporary material from The Old Grenadier, Swinton May Song, Trunkles, The Friar In The Well, An Adventure At Margate, to The Spirit Of The Dance, Maid Of Australia, The King’s Hunt, Duke Of Wellington’s March and The Queen’s Birthday / Maiden Lane, they sound as fresh, energetic and engaging as 30 years ago. They are a band as ready to move forward as they are to look at the past.

This CD / DVD captures the magic of Brass Monkey as bright, exciting and loud as ever. The songs and tunes come from the band’s own history as well as other artists. However, it is true to say that they have never sounded like they do in the hands of this innovative six piece. While others may be happy to view such a milestone as an opportunity to sit back and relax, for this most unique of bands, it is simply the start of a new adventure.

Kathy and Bob Drage


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This album was reviewed in Issue 96 of The Living Tradition magazine.