After a few outings as a four piece band, following the sad death of original member Howard Evans in 2006, Brass Monkey has now recruited Paul Archibald as a new trumpet player, to join up with Messrs Carthy, Kirkpatrick, Brinsford, and Williams. Paul is an old friend and colleague of trombonist Roger Williams, and is hot stuff in the classical and brass band worlds.

This very week, Brass Monkey start recording a brand new CD, to be released by Topic Records in the spring. The band unveil the new line up at a single concert in Guildford on March 15th, then plan to tour in May, and, with any luck, pop up at some festivals during the year.

Watch this space.......

22 Sep 2008:  JK ON NEW ROY BAILEY CDs
Long service medal holders will know that I pop up with regular irregularity as Roy Bailey's pit orchestra. Roy is currently recording two new CDs - one for children and one for adults. A week or so ago, we recorded seventeen tracks, some for each CD, in a marathon two day session at Andy Seward's studio in South Yorkshire. As well as the obvious items from our current repertoire together, there are also quite a few new songs.

Release is unlikely until early next year, as there a lot more performers lined up to make a contribution, including huge numbers of Roy's nearest and dearest.

More news as we get it.......

Meanwhile, for details of Roy celebrating 50 years in gold lamé, have a look at October 19th in the Forthcoming Gigs section.

3 Sep 2008:  JK ON TEACHERS TV
As schools go back after the summer holidays, some folkie teachers out there might be interested to see this, available either as a broadcast programme or as an on-line resource:

For the last few years, I have been secretly wandering around Primary Schools in Bristol giving short concerts to pupils of Year 5 (aged 9 or 10, I think. We didn't have Year 5 when I was at school!). To begin with these excursions were in a duo with Paul Burgess, but economic necessity has caused more recent outings to be just by me solo.

Apart from giving the children a chance to see a real live musician standing there blasting out the traditional native music of their country, the idea was also to stimulate their creative writing. More recently, these concert spots have been followed by song-writing sessions in the individual classrooms, using one of the tunes that I'd sung earlier.

You can now see this process at work in a programme made by the Bristol based company Available Light TV, filmed last year at Westbury Park School. The Headmaster there, Alan Rees, who appears from time to time explaining the educational context of what's going on, has been the brains behind this project of getting live music into schools. Sadly, he has now just retired from teaching, so these opportunities for aspiring folk singers may now have come to an end.

But you can see me popping up half way through the thirty minute film, looking relentlessly jovial for the cameras, working with the children on a song to the tune of one of Fred Jordan's songs - "Polly's Father". The subject is linked to their classroom project that term - healthy eating - and concerns the growing of vegetables on their window sill.

Once you've recovered from the shock of witnessing this strange turn of events, please note that here is someone who will obviously have a go at anything, and rest assured that no offer of work will be dismissed out of hand without full and mature consideration!

31 Jul 2008:  STRIVING FOR STARDOM...............
Ardent Steeleye Span fans may well have noticed a certain squeezebox player, often mentioned in these pages, popping up to join them as a surprise guest at their SPANFEST last weekend at Stanford Hall, near Rugby. Accordionist also present at the warm up gig at Nettlebed the previous Thursday.

We didn't do anything from my time in the band - 1977/78 - but had bags of fun nevertheless. Next year will see Steeleye's 40th birthday, so wild celebrations and more guest apparances are distinctly on the cards.


I also joined in on several numbers with Maddy Prior, in her solo set featuring material from her latest CD - "Seven for Old England". Maddy is touring the album in October, with a small band that includes my son Benji, and I will be joining them at a special gig at Cecil Sharp House in London on Thursday October 23rd. The event will be recorded for BBC TV as part of The Folk Proms.