30th Anniversary Celebration: The Best Of Live’ from Brass Monkey(January 30, 2013)
I just knew from the moment the little silver disk(s) arrived on my doormat that here indeed was folk celebrity worth celebrating. The glorious noise and band that are Brass Monkey should be heralded as heroes by anyone that feels an affinity with all things ‘British’ and I mean that with the best of intentions.
With many years having passed under the bridge is it any surprise that this recording, ‘30th Anniversary Celebration: The Best Of Live’ must be one of the ‘must have’ purchases of any true folk music enthusiast. I still remember when I first saw the band perform at The Half Moon in Putney as a three-piece (is it really 30 years ago?) and the show-stopping Howard Evans trumpet playing that, from that moment on I was to gauge all trumpeters by. Sadly Howard’s no longer with us but with Paul Archibald and Shane Brennan taking over the reins along with Martin Brinsford (harmonica, percussion, sax) Roger Williams (trombone, euphonium) and founder members John Kirkpatrick (accordion, concertina, vocals) and Martin Carthy (guitar, mandolin, vocals) this is indeed kick-ass music for the acoustic scene.
The ‘live’ performance is a true testament to just how superb these musicians are and if you haven’t seen them before fear not because there’s a full blown DVD included as well. This of course isn’t just any old hand-held video but a full blown production with close-ups and a filmic quality that would bring a grin to any self-respecting BBC 4 viewer. Being a Park Music production John Dagnell and all his crew should be justifiably proud in producing what (for me anyway) is one of the finest representations of British folk music anywhere. Happy ‘capering’ everyone.
‘30th Anniversary Celebration: The Best Of Live’ is out on Park Records - PRKCD125
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe