Sound and Rumour
"So Jasper, what are the lads up to these days?" "Eh?" "You know, Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and their pals in the Brass Monkey." "Wha?" "Don't let on like you don't remember, I haven't seen them for close to fifteen years. Martin played guitar, John his squeezebox, Howard Evans the trumpet, Martin Brinsford the drum and somebody on trombone." "Na much."
And so went the discussion over-heard in the pub of my mind as I listened to Sound and Rumor, the latest offering from Brass Monkey. Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick have dedicated their lives to tradition, so I should not have been disappointed at Sound and Rumor. It is traditional English folk music played in a craftsman-like manner. Stuff that any side of Morris men would be proud to step to. It's just that I remember some of the sparkle that emerged on recordings like Morris On and The Compleat Dancing Master. These had the benefit of Carthy, Kirkpatrick but also numerous Fairport Convention alumni such as Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, and Simon Nicol. These sort of folk keep tradition but can't abide boredom.
I can't say the same about Brass Monkey. Their first 1983 release Brass Monkey (Topic) had more daring do than the current disc. So if your looking for solid renderings of charming English chestnuts Sound and Rumour is for you; but if you like your cider spicy you may want to look further. - Bruce Barbour