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You are in: Suffolk > Entertainment > Music > Features > Foster Factor: June 2008

Andy Fairweather Low

Andy Fairweather Low

Foster Factor: June 2008

Wide Eyed & Legless. No, we're not talking about Foz after another night on the town. We're referring to one of the most played songs from the 1970s written and recorded by Andy Fairweather Low.

To coincide with his British tour and a new Very Best Of album Andy's been talking to Foz about some of the many highlights of his long and successful career.

Andy will perform at the Haverhill Arts Centre on Friday 27 June 2008 and at The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft on Saturday 12 July 2008.

Foz: Your new compilation The Low Rider sees you revisiting many of your most successful songs, so how did you approach the project?

Andy: It's one way of making a connection [between] what I'm doing now and what I did and what I was in the beginning, linking the Amen Corner stuff with the '70s stuff and beyond.

I understand my whole career has been disjointed and this is one way of putting it all together on one record.

We did it as one set on the last tour to connect all the songs and I think it worked rather well. I like it because it says this is me, this is what I do in case anyone's in any doubt.

Foz:I was particularly keen to hear what you'd done with the Amen Corner hits, some are closer to the originals than others.

Andy: Yes Bend Me Shape Me, close, I tried to stick to that plot completely.

Half As Nice, again pretty close. We can all play the same notes but the hard part was to capture all the joy of the originals.

Andy Fairweather Low

Andy Fairweather Low

There's certainly something extra than just playing the notes. Hello Suzie is a bit different. I heard the original the other day and it's unbearably high. It's very hard to even find a voice in there. It's like one of those dog whistle things. I'm thinking let's bring it down, let's have a bit of fun. I could probably do the song in a high voice for the first few dates on the tour, but until the end of August? I'm not so sure! I never played them to death in the sixties.

We didn't play that much in truth. Because we became so successful we'd just turn up at a gig and people would just scream, they just didn't listen at all.

I spent most of my time on stage shaking hands, moving around, smiling and making sure my hair was looking OK, I had some then, I don't have to worry about it now!

Foz: Let's turn to your solo success in the 1970s.

Andy: I was with A & M. Not only did I get to do one album, I got to do a second and I knew I was going to get to do another after that. I had a career making albums and writing songs.

It finished in '78 because at that moment A & M signed the Sex Pistols. It wasn't just that one isolated moment, but music was changing and there was no real room for what I was doing then.

I made one more album for Warner Brothers and got a seven album deal in America. I got dropped after the first LP and then couldn't get arrested. I was available for lots of charity gigs. I was the one who wasn't working.

There was an ARMS benefit tour for Ronnie Lane and I was with producer Glyn Johns and he asked me to do the tour. That toured America with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Stevie Winwood, Paul Rodgers and Joe Cocker and that was the first real big event which saw lots of famous musicians getting together to raise awareness of one particular issue.

After a few more projects I got a deal with Stiff. That was in 1984/5 and I made an album which failed miserably. They went into liquidation and the album never came out. I liked it, it's in a warehouse now and it can stay there because I've moved on.

I also got a call from Roger Waters who asked me if I'd like to be in his band for the Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Hiking. I was there for 24 years and he's an incredible musician who can put on a show like nobody else as far as I'm concerned.

Foz: You've also done lots of work with Eric Clapton including the Unplugged album. Did working with Eric on that re-awaken your love of the blues?

Andy: Oh yes. Eric has an unbelievable knowledge, not just of blues but, of jazz and music in general.

Andy Fairweather Low

Andy Fairweather Low

It comes out in his playing. Sometimes he can be unbelievably melodic and that stems from the songs he would have heard as a young man.

You'd get wrapped up in it all with him getting you to listen to tracks like Chicago Bound and then he'd say I'd like to do this number by Smokey Smothers. It went on like that and then I went into it big time and then I got a knowledge of it too by spending a lot of time in his company. For him it's all about the music.

Out of all the blues albums he's made From The Cradle is my favourite. It features my bassist Dave Bronze who really is the instigator for me getting out on tour again. He's such an incredible musician that just the two of us could go out and do the show. So I thought if we can do that I think we better stop going round being very well paid, sleeping very well, going to great hotels, eating very well and we need to do this thing where we're not making much money! I get to play.

I've always though of myself as a guitar player. Now I've got to go out and prove it!

Foz: Have you always been this enthusiastic about music?

Andy: Oh yes. It's the one thing where there's no tricks. Mentally I'm still 17/18, physically obviously not.

I can't do anything else. I love music. I still love all the records I bought as a teenager and luckily I've got them all on CD now.

I delve more backwards than I do forwards. There's some great stuff going on but I don't listen enough to give you a competent opinion of what's going on. I'll hear stuff on the radio and think that's nice and then I'll get in the car and put T-Bone Walker or Muddy Waters or Otis Redding on the CD player. Their level of musicianship and singing is something I strive for. I fail but at least I'm trying!

Andy will perform at the Haverhill Arts Centre on Friday 27 June 2008 and at The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft on Saturday 12 July 2008.

Andy's new album "The Low Rider - The Very Best Of Andy Fairweather Low" is out on Proper Records and full details of Andy's tour can be found on his website using the link below:

last updated: 02/06/2008 at 11:10
created: 27/05/2008

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