A ground-breaking five-piece band incorporating trumpet and trombone as well as squeezeboxes, mouth organ, percussion and guitar, Brass Monkey had a short but glittering career in the mid-’80s. A decade later the almost-original lineup of Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Howard Evans, Richard Cheetham and Martin Brinsford reunited to make Sound & Rumour, which heralded the start of the second phase of their career.
“A fantastic colliery band/jazz folk fusion” Sunday Times
The group’s two ’80s albums, combined here, are full of fresh arrangements of traditional songs and tunes. ‘Brass Monkey was a great idea,’ said Martin Carthy. ‘A phenomenal experience.’ Q called it ‘the finest folk group of the 1980s.’
It should have been acknowledged in the booklet for this CD that the image used is an enlarged detail from “Stooking”, from “The Farmer’s Year” (1933, Collins & Co, London) by Clare Leighton, copyright Clare Leighton Estate.
Martin Carthy guitar, mandolin, vocals
John Kirkpatrick Anglo-concertina, melodeon, button accordion, vocals
Howard Evans trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
Martin Brinsford c-melody saxophone, mouth-organ, percussion
Roger Williams trombone, vocals
Richard Cheetham trombone
• “..a swashbuckling selection of tunes and songs performed so invigoratingly……” fRoots
• “The tunes in particular take on a new life, as the brass dominates the guitar and Kirkpatrick’s excellent melodeon, but the songs are also wonderful.” Acoustic
• “Since the early 80s they have brought the emotional fervour and rhythmic fire of colliery bands to English dance music and traditional songs – their recordings are a delight. Mighty and joyful.” ★★★★ Songlines
Paul Archibald trumpets, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, chorus vocals
Martin Brinsford percussion, harmonica, saxophone, chorus vocals
Martin Carthy guitar, vocals
John Kirkpatrick button accordion, anglo concertina, melodeon, vocals
Roger Williams bass and tenor trombones, euphonium, chorus vocals
Another fine recording from this unique powerhouse band. “Going and Staying” features the band’s Deep English sound. Unique instrumentation and their approach to folk music give Brass Monkey an instantly recognisable sound and presence. For many of the tracks, the lineup expands to a six-piece featuring an extended brass section.
• “If there is a British folk supergroup these days, it’s surely this unusual band” The Guardian
• “…a vitality about the whole thing … lending majesty and a refreshingly different landscape on which to place these … songs” fRoots
• “The arrangements and playing are inventive and alive – played in a unique style which is eminently listenable” Get Rhythm
Their best album so far. Brass Monkey return with their “Deep English” sound, and have never sounded better. Flame of Fire sees the band performing with a new intensity.
• “Anyone who shares a love of traditional music or enjoys being intrigued and pleasantly surprised should seek this album out. This is a great, sophisticated album which may confuse some pop music sensibilities. Long may Brass Monkey play with such subversive brilliance.” Morning Star
• “There is no doubt that Brass Monkey is one of the most important bands to appear in the world of folk music – top quality interpretations of English music – excellent.” The Living Tradition
• “An album of big tunes – it sparks powerful emotions.” fRoots magazine
• “If you like any form of brass-band music, from classical to New Orleans jazz, Brass Monkey’s uniquely English variant is guaranteed” Dirty Linen