THE IRONMASTERS

traditional and original music played on acoustic and electric instruments

Ironmasters

Current Line-up
ALISTAIR GILLIES: Saxophones, Recorders and Whistles.
EDWIN BEASANT: Melodeons.
BAZ PARKES: One and Two Row Melodeons, Harmonica, Caller.
STEEV HALL: Guitars.
RAY ARCHER: Acoustic & Electric Bass Guitars.
NICK BECK: Electronic and Acoustic Drum Kits. Triangle.

In September of 2016 Irionmasters decided to have a rebrand because of potential controversey over the name and for consistency the new name shall be used below except where it wouldn't make sense!
We are all enthused by the name Ironmasters as it fully links with our roots with the Ironmen and Severn Gliders and the founder members of the band all lived in Broseley, just above Ironbridge which was the home town of John Wilkinson who, in the late 1700's was the 'other' Ironmaster to Abraham Darby. He was responsible for a large amount of the development of iron processes and sold his shares in the Ironbridge when Darby was awarded the contract to build it.

Ironmasters were formed in 1986 by musicians of the border morris and north west dance teams The Ironmen and Severn Gilders from Ironbridge in Shropshire, after they stood at the back of a ceilidh with their arms folded saying to themselves "we could do that....."
30 years later with a few changes they still are!

The bands original name was 'All Blacked Up and Nowhere to go' which refers to the black faced border morris team all of the original members belonged to but inevitably such a name has got shortened to All Blacked Up - and frequently ABU.
Occasionally it was suggested that others might be offended by the name but the one section of the population with whom the band has never had a problem is anyone who has a darker skin than ours. For only one example we were invited to perform at a fantastic Ghanaian wedding in Shropshire for which Baz wore the Jalaba he bought when visiting the country.
However in 2016 we decided to have a re-brand as the name was looking like it was going to be a problem. We are a performing band and if we caused problems for those who booked us - well we wouldn't be!

Nick and Baz are founder members [1986] and Alistair joined in 1988 after Devious Roots [formed from The Carbolic Smokeball Company] stopped gigging.
Paul Havel was the founding melodeon player [with Baz he used to play in the Wolverhampton band Tettenhall Dick] and Lisa joined when Paul left in 1995. Mel Biggs played melodeon for us in 2013/14 after Lisa called it a day, and Ed Beasant became our lead melodeon player at the start of 2015.
Ian Gill and Ken Speller were the original guitarists and Dave Baker started playing when Ian left, with Squirrel replacing Ken. Phil Speight played bass before Ray, and after a brief stint by John Shepherd on keyboard, Bill replaced Dave on guitar, and for thiose years brought in singing for dances, with Steev replacing Bill on guitar when Bill retired in the Spring of 2016.

When the band was formed everyone lived within I mile of each other in Broseley, Shropshire, on the southern hill of the Ironbridge Gorge. Now we are a little more spread apart - 3 in Shropshire and 3 in Cheshire - but we are still firmly a 'borders band' - Welsh borders that is!

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