Ian A. Anderson
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Ian A. Anderson
|Born||26 July 1937|
|Genres||Folk music, blues, world music|
|Occupation(s)||Magazine editor, folk musician, broadcaster, event producer|
Country blues, The Village Thing and "psych folk"
Anderson first performed in his home town of Weston-super-Mare as a member of the Backwater Jook Band and came to prominence as a member of the Bristol based country blues scene of the mid to late 1960s, performing live and on record, both solo, with Al Jones and Elliott Jackson as the trio "Anderson Jones Jackson", and as a duo with Mike Cooper. The middle initial was added at a later date to avoid confusion with Ian Anderson of the band Jethro Tull.
After two EPs, he recorded his first album, Stereo Death Breakdown, as Ian Anderson’s Country Blues Band, which was released by Liberty/United Artists in 1969.
In December 1969, with John Turner, he conceived the record label The Village Thing, for which he was also a producer. The label released two dozen albums by mostly British and American artists between 1970 and 1974 including LPs by Wizz Jones, Sun Also Rises, Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, Steve Tilston, Dave Evans, Fred Wedlock, Al Jones, Derroll Adams, Hunt & Turner, Lackey & Sweeney, Chris Thompson, Dave Peabody and Noel Murphy as well as three by Anderson himself.
1970s and 1980s bands
In 1973, he moved from Bristol to Farnham, Surrey, performing internationally with Maggie Holland as the duo Hot Vultures who recorded three albums. In 1980, the duo teamed up with melodeon player Rod Stradling and hammered dulcimer player Sue Harris, later replaced by Chris Coe, as The English Country Blues Band (2 LPs). This line-up subsequently expanded again with the addition of guitarist Jon Moore, drummer John Maxwell and later keyboard player Ian Carter and guitarist Ben Mandelson to become the world music influenced English ceilidh band Tiger Moth, later Orchestre Super Moth when they recorded with international guest musicians (two LPs, and two 12” EPs).
Event and tour organisation
Anderson organised the Folk Blues Bristol & West club in Bristol (1967-1969), England’s first specialist country blues club outside London. In 1982, he founded Farnham Folk Day, an annual event at Farnham Maltings which ran until 1988. He directed the 1987-1989 Bracknell Folk & Roots Festivals at South Hill Park, Bracknell, the Europe In Union concert series at London’s Union Chapel (2003-4) and has curated many single events including English Roots Against Apartheid (Town & Country Club, London, 1987), Ceilidh Aid (The Forum, London, 2005), Roots At The Roundhouse (Roundhouse, London, 2010), Ghosts From The Basement (Cecil Sharp House, London, 2010), Looking For A New England (Cecil Sharp House, London, 2010), Bridges (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 2014), Bob Copper Centenary Celebration (Cecil Sharp House, London, 2015), No Voices (Kings Place, London, 2016) and the Bristol Troubadour 50th Anniversary celebrations (St Georges, Bristol, 2016).
He organised UK tours for other artists including Mississippi Fred McDowell (1969), Derroll Adams (1972), Spider John Koerner (1980 and 2010), Dembo Konte & Kausu Kuyateh (1986 – 1989), Tarika (1990s) and Athena (2005-6) as well as acting as agent for other folk and world music artists via his Village Thing agency (Bristol, 1970 – 1973) and Folk Music Services (Farnham, 1982 – 1989).
In the 1960s and 1970s, Anderson regularly contributed as a freelance writer to publications including Blues Unlimited, the Western Daily Press, Melody Maker, Folk Review and Folk Scene. In 1979, he co-founded The Southern Rag, a local quarterly folk music magazine for the south of England. By 1984, it had become so popular and respected internationally that Anderson took the decision to turn it into a glossy monthly magazine with news stand distribution, under the new title, Folk Roots. Anderson moved its offices to London in 1988 and the magazine became well-known not only for its authoritative writing and outspokenness but for its campaigning for wider acceptance of both British folk music and world music. In 1999, its title was abbreviated to fRoots.
Anderson and Folk Roots were actively involved in the 1987 campaign which established the term "world music", and supported tours by artists who were previously unknown in the UK. In 2001, he developed the Awards For World Music, which were produced and run by BBC Radio 3 from 2002 to 2008.
As a spin-off from his 1980s activities, he founded an independent record label, Rogue Records, which provided a platform for both his own bands and new artists, concentrating on world music. The label was the first to release recordings in the UK by Senegal's Baaba Maal, Madagascar's Tarika, Gambian kora duo Dembo Konte and Kausu Kuyateh, and Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jimenez. Rogue Records later turned into a compilation label, The Weekend Beatnik, which specialised in the reissue of folk and world music albums in CD format.
Anderson presented a weekly folk, roots and world music show on Guildford ILR station County Sound in the mid 1980s, a weekly folk show on the BBC World Service for 12 years from 1987, the occasional series for BBC Radio 2, and a world music program World Routes on London’s Jazz FM. He has also broadcast on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and Capital Radio. Since 2002 he has hosted fRoots Radio on the web.
Recent music career
In 2008/2009, he was one third of Blue Blokes 3, with Lu Edmonds (formerly of The Mekons, Billy Bragg's Blokes, 3 Mustaphas 3, The Damned, PiL and others) on vocals, cumbus, saz and guitar, and Ben Mandelson (Billy Bragg’s Blokes, 3 Mustaphas 3, Tiger Moth, Yiddish Twist Orchestra and others) on vocals, mandolin, baritone bouzouki, banjo, tenor guitar, etc. After Edmonds re-joined Public Image Limited in 2010, Anderson and Mandelson continued as the duo The False Beards who released their first album in 2013. In 2016, Anderson and Holland got together again for a Hot Vultures reunion tour, and in 2017 he commenced doing solo gigs again for the first time since 1973.
Anderson moved back to his Bristol roots in 2011, relocating his home and the fRoots offices full circle to Clifton Village where his career began.
- Bristol Folk, Mark Jones, published by Bristol Folk Publications, 2009, ISBN 978 0 9563531 0 8
- The Saydisc & Village Thing Discography, Mark Jones, The Record Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-9563531-2-2
- Seasons They Change: The Story Of Acid & Psychedelic Folk, Jeanette Leech, Jawbone Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-906002-32-9
- Notes to Matchbox Days CD, Ace Records, 1997 (CDWIKD 168)
- "fRoots Magazine Homepage". Frootsmag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "WOMEX". WOMEX.com. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
- "fRoots Radio". Frootsmag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "The False Beards Homepage". Thefalsebreards.com. Retrieved 2016-03-01.