Ben Mandelson (baritone bouzouki, mandolin) has a chequered band CV including the legendary 3 Mustaphas 3, Magazine, Orchestra Jazira, Billy Bragg's Blokes, Les Triaboliques and lately the Yiddish Twist Orchestra.
Ian Anderson (guitar, slide guitar, vocals) came to fame with Ian Anderson's Country Blues Band in the great UK blues disaster of '68/'69, later working solo (as Ian A. Anderson on the cult Village Thing label) and as a member of Hot Vultures, the English Country Blues Band and Tiger Moth.
Ben and Ian have also played in a few bands together over the past 25 years – from Tiger Moth spin-off Orchestre Super Moth in the 1980s to the album Stubble and a UK tour as the Blue Blokes 3, their trio with PiL's Lu Edmonds, in 2009. But it was only in 2011 that the lightbulb switched on to tell them that they could be a duo, like falling off the proverbial log. And so, the False Beards . . .
Crikey! Between them they have a combined back-of-envelope-calculated total of 90+ years of live gigging and 80+ years of recording more than 30 albums in their individual right (and that’s not including session work and production for others, singles and all sorts of side projects). So all this experience shines through a repertoire where an English take on old time folk blues might seamlessly segue into a West African melody, an imaginative song from an unlikely source might acquire a Greek flavour, or a traditional murder ballad might head into folkadelia territory – all wrapped up in some virtuoso twanging, a relaxed and witty presentation and dodgy facial hair.
“adventurous . . . good natured . . . dazzling . . . a classy and entertaining new duo." (The Guardian)
released June 1, 2020
Katie Rose: vocal on 5 & 9, gong on 9 / Pete Judge: trumpet on 5 / Oscar Woods: melodeon on 3
Recorded by Ian Anderson in the Basement, Royal York Crescent, Clifton, Bristol. Additional recording on 5 & 9 by Katie Rose. Mastered by Peter Philipson.
The Oscar Woods sample on 3 was recorded by Carole Pegg, from The Pigeon On The Gate (Veteran Records), used by kind permission; 8 first appeared on Weirdlore (Folk Police Recordings).
Front cover illustration by Alex Bertram-Powell. Photos by Elly Lucas. Package design by Jali Roll Martian.