Martin Carthy – vocals, guitar, mandolin
John Kirkpatrick – vocals, button accordion, anglo concertina, melodeon
Martin Brinsford – mouth-organ, saxophone, percussion
Roger Williams – bass trombone, tuba, euphonium
Paul Archibald – trumpet
Brass Monkey — the five-piece band that started in 1980, sputtered to a halt in 1987, and burst back onto the scene with renewed vigour in 1997 — looked all set to build on the buzz of a re-energised come-back with regular new albums and annual tours. They had a unique sound, nobody else remotely resembled them, every live appearance was a wonderful success, and every new recording was greeted with joyous appreciation.
Tragedy struck when trumpet player Howard Evans was taken ill on stage during the band's tour in May 2004. He sadly passed away in March 2006.To honour Howard's musical legacy, and to keep his memory alive, Brass Monkey toured again as a four-piece band during 2007 and 2008 and to the audience's delight they discovered that they could still make a more than reasonable noise.
The 2009 tour will see the introduction of new trumpet player Paul Archibald whose classical training and love of folk music will add another dimension to the new sound. Roger Williams, who has already proved his insanity by tripping effortlessly through the fastest of tunes on the bass trombone, also brings along the euphonium to add a softer melodic touch to the gentler pieces. Martin Brinsford can add sweetness or punch on his mouth-organ as required, and amongst his numerous accomplishments on the various instruments of percussion, he can create more drive with the knuckle of one finger than most drummers can muster on a whole kit.
Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick naturally lock into one another's playing with an ease and precision that can only come of playing together for over thirty years. Sharing the vocals, and sometimes singing together in unison, they bring the fruits of years of experience to this band with an explosive freshness that is clearly driven by the excitement they all feel by playing together. It is a rare treat to see four masters of their art combine with such open hearted enthusiasm to reach such tremendous heights. Feel the power!