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Harvey Andrews

Since turning pro in November ‘64 (supporting The IAN CAMPBELL FOLK GROUP at Stratford-upon-Avon), singer-songwriter Harvey has been a steady linchpin to the fringes of folk-rock.
Born on 7 May 1943, in Stechford, England, the former school teacher (an avid fan of his local Birmingham City F.C.) progressed from his formative days appearing on releases for Transatlantic Records. Inspired equally by folkies PHIL OCHS and TOM PAXTON or nostalgia icons, Glenn Miller, Cole Porter and BUDDY HOLLY, ANDREWS cut his proverbial teeth singing five songs on Next Big Thing/Various Artists LP, `Second Wave’ (1965). Subsequently irked by these youth-y protest songs, the singer was prominent on at least four of them, the anti-war-like `Harvest Of Hate’ and `Buy Me A Rifle’ and the playground-esque `Ice Cream Man’ and `Kids Colour Bar’, all with trademark-folk soapbox message. A year later (accompanied by MARTIN CARTHY on guitar), four fresh songs comprised the whole of his eponymous debut solo EP. From PAUL SIMON’s `A Most Peculiar Man’ to anti-war gems `Children Of Hiroshima’ and `Death Come Easy’, it was a pity an LP couldn’t have been delivered at the time; the latter track was almost immediately covered by mentor IAN CAMPBELL, causing tabloid shouts as “unpatriotic” some 16 years on when the Argies used it as mischievous radio propaganda against Britain in the Falklands conflict.
ANDREWS has also been behind a few football novelties such as `Good Old Brummagem’ (it’s a speech thing!), with a 45 in support of Birmingham City. After a tour of the UK (supporting JULIE FELIX and ALEX CAMPBELL) ANDREWS dropped out of the folk scene for a few years, although he did write songs for IAN CAMPBELL, among others.
1970 saw the release of ANDREWS’ long-awaited debut LP, PLACES AND FACES {*7}, a record that appeared on the Decca Nova imprint and which featured one of his most enduring songs, `England My England’ (co-written with Graham Cooper). A shift towards a more orchestrated chamber-pop style and with a plethora of session musicians in tow (including DAVE PEGG, Alan Hawkshaw and Tony Carr), Harvey dedicated the whole of side two to names of people.
With people such as RALPH McTELL, DANNY THOMPSON, Dave Mattacks, COZY POWELL, RICK WAKEMAN, Roy Babbington and retainer PEGG on board, ANDREWS delivered his second album, the aptly-titled WRITER OF SONGS (1972) {*6}; one of the songs in question, the anti-war `Soldier’ 45, sparking off a ban by the BBC, which had also floored PAUL McCARTNEY’s politically-manoeuvred `Give Ireland Back To The Irish’.
Also released on Cube Records, FRIENDS OF MINE (1973) {*6} saw ANDREWS once again collaborate with guitarist Graham Cooper on nearly half the set, tracks such as their `Autumn Song’, `Sweet Little Fat Girl’, etc., reminiscent in part of arty icons JACQUES BREL and Brecht/Weill; both Harvey and Graham would work with the BBC on their TV series The Camera And The Song.
Back on Transatlantic Records (although still licensed through the Cube/Essex publishing arm), ANDREWS and COOPER were billed together on the LP FANTASIES FROM A CORNER SEAT (1975) {*7}. Featuring once more, a plethora of seasoned session men (Pete Wingfield, Pat Donaldson and Daryl Runswick, among them), the record straddled easy-listening balladeering such as the DAVID GATES/CLIFFORD T WARD-like `The Mistress’, `Me And The Empty Glasses’ and `Lady Of The Light’, and the GENE PITNEY/JACQUES BREL-esque `(I’m Resigning) From Today’ and `Targets’ – the latter a prophetic dig at school milk-pinching education minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher (RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON guested). The re-emergence of `Autumn Song’ came via the second part of swingtime-like `Daisy’, while that retro style was more than apparent on the swinging-twenties-ish `A Little Moon ‘n’ Juning’ (featuring The Pasadena Roof Orchestra).
SOMEDAY (1976) {*6} was ANDREWS’ pop album, most of it light, uptempo and breezy; examples `Why’, `Jane’ – was it her on the front cover? – and `Mr Homburg Hat’. Even a lament to his recently-departed hero PHIL OCHS (`Song For…’) was contrite and hardly folk – or rock. Graham Cooper was still ANDREWS’ trusty sidekick on two numbers, the Tommy Lawton-inspired `He Played For England’ (later to be turned into `He Played For The All-Blacks’) and `Movies On TV’, while old mucker John Dunkerley (ex-IAN CAMPBELL GROUP) collaborated on three cues, including the bawdy `I Think I’ll Get Drunk Again’ – sadly, his friend was to die of Hodgkin’s Disease a year later. It affected ANDREWS to the point he would limit subsequent activities for the rest of the 70s. The rebranding of Transatlantic as Logo probably cost Harvey his place at the label, as they further slid into a pop quagmire (signing The TOURISTS, et al). In the mid-70s, it didn’t matter, everybody was going pop or disco.
The 80s kicked-off with two brand new sets, his first studio recording for his own Beeswing imprint, MARGARITA (1980) {*6}, the second an in-concert LP for Polydor, BRAND NEW DAY (1980) {*6}; he’d also previously performed the theme tune to Golden Pennies in ‘85.
While the long-awaited OLD MOTHER EARTH (1985) {*5} and PG (1987) {*5} completed his tenure at Beeswing, further sets were once again sparse, studio albums from SPRING AGAIN (1994) {*6} to SOMEWHERE IN THE STARS (2004) {*6}, have kept his profile at a reasonable level – and as of mid-2010 HARVEY was getting ready for a nationwide tour. Three years down the line, LIVE (2013) {*6} was available on his website, as was his incisive Gold Star To The Ozarks autobiography.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Aug2015

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