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Sergeant Buzfuz

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Sergeant Buzfuz
GenresAlternative rock, indie folk, psychedelic pop, anti-folk
Years active1993-present
LabelsBlang, Audio Gland
MembersJoe Murphy
William Barr
Ian Button
Joss Cope
Stu Crane
Polly MacLean
Eilish McCracken
Past membersKate Arnold
George Brufton
Richard Cahill
Jon Clayton
Andy Crowe
Cherrie Fox
Stephen Gilchrist
John Paul Jones
Rich Keeble
Martin Parker
Chris Thomas
Tim Victor
WebsiteOfficial website

Sergeant Buzfuz are a seven-piece band based in London. Their musical style has been referred to as indie folk,[1] psychedelic pop[2] and anti-folk.[3] They take their name from Serjeant Buzfuz, the prosecuting counsel in the trial scene in The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. The current line-up consists of core member Joe Murphy (vocals, guitar), Eilish McCracken (fiddle, flute, whistle), William Barr (mandolin), Ian Button (drums), Polly MacLean (backing vocals), Joss Cope (bass) and Stu Crane (guitar). To date the band have released six studio albums, one extended play (EP), and seven singles.[4]



The band was originally formed by Joe Murphy (vocals, guitar) in 1993 along with Chris Thomas (guitar), Cherrie Fox (drums) and Richard Cahill (bass). This incarnation of the band ceased performing in 1996, after which Murphy continued as a solo artist (still using the Sergeant Buzfuz name) on the single "Plugged In" (2001) and album Obsessive Compulsion Pour Homme (2001), on which Murphy played all instruments. Timothy Victor (Folk Orchestra, Broken Family Band, Chris T-T) would perform banjo with Murphy at this time.

The album Fire Horse (2004) was again mostly a solo recording but by the time of its release Sergeant Buzfuz were performing as a full band again with Kate Arnold on hammered dulcimer, Eilish McCracken (Rose McDowall)[5] on violin, Jon Clayton (who has produced all Sergeant Buzfuz albums in his One Cat studio) on cello and Martin Parker on drums. This line-up recorded 2006's The Jewelled Carriageway. Timothy Victor contributed banjo to both Fire Horse and The Jewelled Carriageway. In 2008 Jon Clayton left to concentrate on his many other bands and was replaced by John Paul Jones (not to be confused with the Led Zeppelin bassist).

The band's fourth album was 2009's High Slang.[6][7] During the recording of the album, Parker was ousted and replaced by Ian Button (Death in Vegas) on drums for the remainder of the recording. Rich Keeble took over the drum stool and William Barr joined on mandolin in time for the album's release, the new line-up recording BBC 6Music sessions for Tom Robinson (2008)[8] and Marc Riley (2009).[9] By the time the band recorded a second session for Tom Robinson in 2010, Keeble (now an actor) had left to be replaced by Ian Button, and Jones had been ousted and replaced with Stephen Gilchrist (Art Brut, Graham Coxon).[10]

Go To The Devil And Shake Yourself (2012) was a concept album documenting the history of the papacy.[11] By the time of its release Gilchrist had left to be replaced by Andy Crowe on bass, and Kate Arnold had left to form Fear Of The Forest, teaming up again with Sergeant Buzfuz producer and ex-cellist Jon Clayton. Murphy and Polly MacLean, singer with Slate Islands, performed the album for sixteen nights at the Edinburgh Free Fringe in 2012.[12][13] In the same year, Crowe left and was replaced by George Brufton on bass who played on, but left before the release of, 2015's Balloons For Thin Linda. By the time of release the band had expanded to a seven piece line-up with Polly MacLean on backing vocals, Stu Crane on electric cigar box slide guitar and Joss Cope (Biff Bang Pow!, Crash, brother of Julian Cope) on bass.[4]

Blang Records


In 2002, Murphy began promoting a monthly night named Blang at London's 12 Bar Club where he regularly put on acts from the New York anti-folk scene. Blang became the hub for British anti-folk music. Murphy continued to promote his Blang nights at the 12 Bar Club until 2012, ending on the ten year anniversary. The early Sergeant Buzfuz records were released on his own Audio Gland label. In 2005 he launched a new Blang label with the Fruit Machine compilation of acts who had played at the live nights. Subsequent Sergeant Buzfuz records have all been released on Blang, which he co-runs with Jules Dakin (AKA JJ Crash of the band Lucy's Diary). The label has released records by many acts including David Cronenberg's Wife, Filthy Pedro, Milk Kan, Thomas Truax, Sheepy, Lucy's Diary and Thee Cee Cees, whose singer Chris T-T originally advised Joe Murphy on how to set up a record label and recorded parts of Obsessive Compulsion Pour Homme in his bedroom back in 1999.[14][15]

Band members

Current members
  • Joe Murphy - vocals, guitar (1993–present)
  • Eilish McCracken - fiddle, flute, whistle (2006–present)
  • William Barr - mandolin (2008–present)
  • Ian Button - drums (2008, 2009–present)
  • Polly MacLean - backing vocals (2013–present)
  • Joss Cope - bass (2014–present)
  • Stu Crane - guitar (2014–present)
Former members
  • George Brufton - bass (2012-2013)
  • Andy Crowe - bass (2011-2012)
  • Stephen Gilchrist - bass (2011)
  • John Paul Jones - bass (2008-2011)
  • Kate Arnold - hammered dulcimer, violin, vox (2001–2010)
  • Rich Keeble - drums (2008-2009)
  • Martin Parker - drums (2003–2008)
  • Jon Clayton - cello (2003–2008)
  • Timothy Victor - banjo (2001, 2004–2006)
  • Cherrie Fox - drums (1993-1996)
  • Chris Thomas - guitar (1993-1996)
  • Richard Cahill - bass (1994-1995)



All released on Blang except where stated.

Studio albums

  • Obsessive Compulsion Pour Homme (January 2001, CD Audio Gland Records)
  • Fire Horse (March 2004, CD Audio Gland Records)
  • The Jewelled Carriageway (September 2006, CD/download)
  • High Slang (February 2009, CD/download)
  • Go To The Devil And Shake Yourself (April 2012, CD/download)
  • Balloons For Thin Linda (April 2015, CD/vinyl/download)


  • Knock Knock Knock (February 2011, download)


  • "Plugged In" (January 2001, 7" Audio Gland Records)
  • "Here Come The Popes Part 3" (September 2008, 7" vinyl)
  • "God To Holloway" (January 2009, download)
  • "Here Come The Popes Part 4" / "Here Come The Cops" (March 2010, download)
  • "Danny's Room" / "Molly's Bar" (May 2011, download)
  • "Gold Feelings" / "Cuckoo Boogie" (December 2014)
  • "S6 Girls" / "S6 Sunday Morning" (March 2015)

Compilation Appearances

  • "Indelible" on Fruit Machine (26 Seeds From The London Underground) (September 2005)
  • "Adieu To All Judges And Juries" (Murphy solo) on Shirley Inspired (June 2015, Earth)

Joe Murphy solo (as Joe Buzfuz)

  • "Now That I'm The Mayor Of London" (Download Single - March 2016)


  1. ^ "Sergeant Buzfuz Balloons For Thin Linda". Sounds XP. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Sergeant Buzfuz - Croydon Radio". croydonradio.com. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Aesthetica Magazine – Some Interesting Lyrics". Aesthetica. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Home". www.sergeantbuzfuz.com. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  5. ^ "The Hidden Forest; an Interview with Jo Quail". Heathen Harvest. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  6. ^ Todd, Bella (5 February 2009). "Reviews". Timeout.
  7. ^ "Album Reviews". NME. 5 February 2009.
  8. ^ "04/10/2008, BBC Introducing with Tom Robinson - BBC Radio 6 Music". BBC. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  9. ^ "26/01/2009, Marc Riley - BBC Radio 6 Music". BBC. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  10. ^ saragossa99 (28 June 2010), Sergeant Buzfuz - Knock Knock Knock - live on BBC 6 Music, retrieved 24 April 2016{{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Interview with Joe Murphy (of Sergeant Buzfuz)". www.folkwords.com. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself". Edinburgh Festival. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  13. ^ "GBA 143 Joe Murphy". SoundCloud. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Blang Records - Interview with Joe Murphy and Jules Dakin". www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Secret scenes: Antifolk". Time Out London. Retrieved 24 April 2016.