Monroe’s Revenge debut CD

Monroes RevengeAfter 21 years together, one of the most popular and well-known names on the British bluegrass music scene, Monroe’s Revenge, has finally released their debut CD.

The band from south-east England has made regular appearances at festivals around the country for over two decades, playing traditional and contemporary songs and fast-paced, virtuoso instrumentals with a rootsy, edgy energy.

Their new self-titled CD contains 17 tracks and includes favourites from their live set such as Washington County, I’m Working On A Building and He Will Set Your Fields on Fire. Other songs that are included are Hemlocks And Primroses, Just Because, Muddy Water, Pig In A Pen, Good Imitation Of The Blues, Somewhere On The Road Tonight, One More Dollar (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) and the Kenny Baker fiddle tune Denver Belle.

The band is fronted by Dave Plane (guitar and vocals), who has been playing bluegrass music since the 1960s, with Roger Blackbourn (playing banjo and providing vocals), Joe Hymas (mandolin and vocals), Richard Partridge (fiddle and vocals) and Dick Embery (double bass). Many commentators consider that this line-up is its strongest yet.

Fiddler Richard Partridge has provided a bit about the band’s recent history that has culminated in the release of their CD ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ.

“Monroe’s Revenge’s current line-up has been playing together for the last three or four years. I joined on fiddle about five years ago (it’s hard to remember exactly) and Joe Hymas joined us on mandolin a year or two later. Having gigged fairly regularly to increasingly receptive audiences (last year we were the ‘headlining British band’ at Didmarton, having the penultimate slot on the Saturday night, after Mollie O’Brien and before the American headliner, Blue Highway) we eventually felt that we were ready to record an album.

The choice of material was pretty much a ‘no-brainer;’ we knew which were the strongest songs in our current repertory. Some of them, such as Roust-a-bout, are ones that our singer/guitarist Dave Plane sang for years in his duo with the late Andy Townend. Others we have brought in more recently.

It took a couple of years of experimenting to work out how we wanted to record it. We decided against the modern way of recording rhythm tracks first and overdubbing everything else. Everything on the CD is recorded live with no overdubs. We feel that the live energy more than makes up for any roughness in the playing and achieves what we hope we have become known for; raw, hard-driving bluegrass.”

The CD can be bought at their shows or through their brand new website where you can also hear sample tracks.

Other musical samples can be enjoyed by visiting their MySpace page.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.