Andy Townend (born 1952, died 1998)

Andy was one of the world's really exciting mandolin players, but he played jazz guitar, and old-time and bluegrass banjo as well. He was also a really nice person. For a good account of Andy's music see John Baldry's web-site

In August 2008 the Kentucky to Kent UK day festival featured a concert by some great musicians who played with Andy, and whose music he greatly respected - Chris Moreton (guitar), Bob Winquist (fiddle), Chris Cox (mandolin), Alan Ward (mandolin - now with A Band Like Alice), Dave Plane (now with Monroe's Revenge), Malcolm Walton (of the Blue Rhythm Kings), and Mick Audsley and Rick Townend of the original Echo Mountain Band; Chris Cox and Rick played 'Bungalow Baby' - a tune by Andy with harmony arranged by Chris - first broadcast on the BBC Radio 1 Jimmy Young show in the 1960s.

Andy was a member of the Echo Mountain Band - see page on this website - Orange Blossom, and the Townends Special Bluegrass Service; he also played in a duet with Dave Plane. As well as his UK line-ups he also recorded with Bill Clifton, and (as part of the Echo Mountain Band) played with Bill on tours in mainland Europe - there are some you-tube videos of Bill and the EMB appearing on German TV. He also accompanied many US artistes at UK performances, including Peter Rowan, Jim Eanes and Rose Maddox. While Andy was still teen-aged, Bill Clifton took him on a visit to the USA, where he played onstage with Bill Monroe, Bobby Osborne and Ralph Stanley.

Andy was inducted into the British Bluegrass Hall of Honour, for his exceptional mandolin music and his outstanding contribution to the British bluegrass music scene. Many of his sophisticated pieces for mandolin were based squarely in the bluegrass style, but drew on jazz and other influences. Here are tablatures for some of them:

Bungalow Baby

Caught Short

Mandolo-mania

For more tabs of Andy's tunes, please send stamps to value of £1 (to cover copying and postage costs) to Rick Townend, St Julians, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0RX

At present Rick Townend is assembling an archive of all the extant recordings of Andy's playing, including live performances and informal sessions - if you think you may be able to add to this, please contact him (07570 994681)

See Andy playing on youtube with Bill Clifton and the Echo Mountain Band - link

 

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