From 1964, Andrews supported his nascent career as a singer/songwriter by working as a schoolteacher, before becoming a full-time professional musician in 1966.
Harvey Andrews has produced 17 successful albums singing his own songs, many of which have also been recorded by other artists.
His emotive Soldier (mp3 clip) transmits the same quiet desperation of a soldier about to die "in conflict" as Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est, though in a very different setting. In fact, the contrast of a battlefield to a commonplace urban setting and the proximity of children makes the situation even more poignant and the loss of a young life even more tragic.
Hey Sandy (mp3 clip) on the album Writer of Songs is another description of the senseless loss of a young life in conflict. It is based on the death of a female student, Sandra Scheuer, who was shot by the Ohio National Guard at the Kent State University in the U.S. anti Vietnam War demonstration of 1970, although, unlike the Sandy of Andrews' song, the real student was not directly involved in the demonstration. The album version of the song is an unusual, but powerful, arrangement, in which the first verse is sung to the accompaniment of a solo double bass, played by Danny Thompson. The recording was never issued in the USA until Kent State University's commemorative CD was released in 2005. It reached number 2 in the New Zealand chart in November 1972. In stark contrast, his Boothferry Bridge (mp3 clip) and Gift of a Brand New day (mp3 clip) reflect the contentment of the simple pleasures of everyday life.
Recent copies of Writer of Songs have three frequently asked questions answered in the sleeve:
- Who was Sandy? She was a student shot by the National Guard at the Kent State University protest in America in the early 70s.
- Who is Anna? She is a composite victim of the knock on the door in the night squad, anytime, anywhere, when a scapegoat is needed.
- Who is Soap Opera about? It's the story of what happened to a teacher I knew. Though found innocent of any crime because of a mental breakdown, he still lost his job.
He collaborated on a successful musical depicting life growing up in Birmingham in the forties and fifties. "Go Play Up Your Own End" has been well received across the Midlands, especially in its production in 2006 featuring Jasper Carrot in a major role, but has yet to make the transfer to London. The musical has played at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Birmingham Hippodrome and the Alexandra Theatre, thus setting a record of having been staged at every one of the second city’s major theatres.
In 2007 he published a musical memoir "Gold star to the Ozarks". Harvey retired from full-time concert performances in October 2012 with a series of concerts at The Guild Hall, Lichfield.
In Summer 2013 Harvey has kindly performed his "Glad to be Grey" concert in aid of charities, but only within easy reach of his Shropshire home.
He is father of the author Scott Andrews.
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He has appeared at many festivals including Tonder in Denmark, Lunenburg and Regina in Canada, and five Cambridge Folk Festivals in the U.K. Tours have taken him to Canada, Newfoundland, U.S.A, Germany, Cyprus, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, Belize, Malta, Holland, Sardinia, Gibraltar, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and Ascension Island.
Television appearances include The Old Grey Whistle Test, Rhythm on Two and over 50 other shows. He has made two television specials featuring his songs, The Camera and The Song, and The Same Old Smile. Two further specials were produced in Holland and Ireland. He wrote and sang the theme songs for the TV series Golden Pennies and The Haunted School and sang the theme song in the British movie Psychomania. He has hosted BBC Radio Two’s Folk on Two and a Radio Four Kaleidoscope special was devoted to his work.
The lyrics of one of his songs were used in course work for the national (England and Wales) GCSE English language examination. Another lyric was included in the Oxford University Book of English Traditional Verse.
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In 1996, he was voted International Artiste of the Year in the Canadian Porcupine Awards for Folk music.
- "Harvey Andrews EP" (Transatlantic 1966)
- Faces And Places (Decca 1970)
- Writer Of Songs (Cube 1972)
- Friends Of Mine (Cube 1973)
- Fantasies From A Corner Seat, w/ Graham Cooper (Transatlantic 1975)
- Someday (Transatlantic 1976)
- Margarita (Beeswing 1980)
- Brand New Day (Polydor 1980)
- Old Mother Earth (Beeswing 1986)
- PG (Beeswing 1988)
- 25 ... Years On The Road (Hypertension 1989)
- Spring Again (Hypertension/Ariola 1994)
- Snaps - The Family Album (Hypertension 1996)
- The Gift (Hypertension 2001)
- The Journey (Hypertension 2003)
- Somewhere In The Stars (Hypertension 2005)
- Resigning from Today. Transatlantic compilation (Sanctuary 2007)
References and notes
- "Hey Sandy". Christy Moore - The Official Website. pointblank.ie. ""CHRISTY’S COMMENT: I'm including both sets of lyrics: Christy's version and the original version. The author, Harvey Andrews, wrote and sent on the original."
- Discography: "Music". The Harvey Andrews Website. Haska Media. 20 November 2008.