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Post new topic Glynn Andrews (Glen Andrews)
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Author Topic:  Glynn Andrews (Glen Andrews)
Pete Grant

Auburn, CA, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 3:48 pm     Reply with quote

Glynn Andrews passed away on Wednesday, January 11, 2017. He was 80.

When Bobby Black left the Cowtown Band to join Commander Cody in 1971, I was happy for him, but a little sad for me, since Bobby had been my mentor and the best source for me of live steel guitar inspiration in the region. He’d been playing with his brother Larry, Hoyet Henry, and Roy McMeans for years, and theirs was the best live club band I’d ever heard in not just San Jose, but the entire San Francisco Bay Area.

I don’t know how the band found Glynn Andrews from Alabama, but they sure did a good job. Glynn was a double threat. He played steel (a double 12 Marlen, built for his friend Julian Tharpe in 1966 for the 1966 DJ Convention in Nashville), and sweet, hot, and totally in-tune fiddle.

I’d go to Cowtown and often stand right next to the steel and see if I could watch the right and left hands and pedals and knees at the same time and see if I could get my mind to link what I was hearing to what I was seeing. (This was easier when watching Bobby, because, from time to time, I would put my fingers on the tuning nuts of the pull rods of his Sho-Bud so I only had to watch the pedals and both hands! I couldn’t do that on Glynn’s pull-release Marlen.) I would go to their rehearsals on Tuesday afternoon, where they’d learn four to six songs, mostly current hits (Usually they’d play them each twice on Tuesday night: first set and last or next to last set.). Glynn was generous with his time after rehearsal, and would usually show me some thing to enhance my playing. By that time, I’d been playing for a couple of years but I was not very good. I was able to go to Glynn’s home to get a couple of lessons. During that period of time, I switched my pedals backwards from what they had been, to match Glynn’s (from Emmons to Day).

By 1973, when Glynn decided to move to Nashville after securing a gig with Little Jimmy Dickens, I was a better player, but I was far from Cowtown Band material. Having Garcia’s ZB helped my playing, since my earlier steel had spongy knee levers and pedals like a truck clutch. I worked my way up through the local bands, but I was marginal at best. I really wanted to play with Hoyet, Roy, and Bobby’s brother Larry, but the likelihood was not strong, though my drive to do so was. Glynn was bound and determined to groom me for the gig, so, whenever I would hang out at Cowtown, he would come over to my place afterwards at two in the morning and give me stuff to work on and drill me. Sometimes we’d just listen to various steel players and if there was some really cool passage, he’d show me how he would play the same thing or we’d just reflect on the beauty of it.
I credit Glynn with me securing the gig at Cowtown, and that’s had a positive effect on the rest of my professional and musical life. Glynn was the real thing, an authentic player with style and grace.
We in California were fortunate to have been able to hear Glynn and be influenced by him. I don’t know how long he stayed in Nashville, but home and family were most important to him, so he moved back to Alabama, where he worked, raised a family, and played in church.

I was happy that he got to hear some of my later work; I’m sure he was proud. In 1978, I tracked him down by phone and played what I thought was a particularly good solo of mine on a Hoyt Axton record. He laughed joyfully and uproariously.
In his later years, Glynn had Alzheimer’s and was confined to bed. I was able to send him a couple of CDs of his playing from Cowtown in 1972, which I transferred from reel-to-reel. I’m greatly pleased that they became a source of joy and solace for him in his later years.

I’ll miss his enthusiasm and his infectious laughter, and I’ll never forget his unshakable faith in me as a player.

I spoke with Bobby Black recently and we talked about how he and Glynn had so much admiration and respect for each other—the two “top guns.” Bobby said, “Glynn was one of the serious major players, and it was an honor to know him and call him a friend.” Yep. Later, when we were reflecting on what Glynn brought to our music scene in the South Bay Area, Bobby said, “I’d put Glynn up there with anyone; he was one of the best.”

I’m sorry that so few people got a chance to hear Glynn play, so to rectify that in some small fashion, here’s a link to a solo Glynn took at Cowtown in 1972 for a song “Right Won’t Touch A Hand That’s Filled With Wrong,” a George Jones song. I think you’ll like it. I recorded this on reel to reel with the PA in one channel and a mic at the steel and guitar amps. I think it was first or second set on a Tuesday night with no more than thirty patrons in a place that would hold maybe 150 or 200 on the weekends. And to further your appreciation of Glynn’s style, there’s a hastily scrawled tab of the solo and a slowed down version.
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Bob Blair

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 7:38 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks Pete for sharing those memories and for posting that great solo. My condolences on the loss of your friend and mentor.

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Godfrey Arthur

Post Posted 23 Jan 2017 7:50 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the story. Godspeed Glynn.
From the Bronx via Manila
ShoBud The Pro 1
YES it's my REAL NAME!
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Chris Boyd

Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 5:21 am     Reply with quote

Bob and Godfrey summed it up.... great player/ sorry for your loss Pete..
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Jack Goodson

new brockton,alabama (home of me and don helms
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 7:08 am     Glun Reply with quote

I knew glen before he moved to Nashville, he was also one of the best fiddle players I ever worked with. Payers to his family....thanks jack
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Barry Blackwood

Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 10:04 am     Reply with quote

Very nice tribute, Pete. I didn't arrive in San Jose until 1973 so unfortunately I missed him.
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John Ely

Minneapolis Minnesota, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 5:02 pm     Your steel work with Hoyt Axton Reply with quote

Pete, you played a LOT of great steel on Hoyt Axton's "Snowblind Friend" album--'Water for my Horses, Never Been to Spain, You Taught Me How to Cry (Hoyt's duet with Tanya Tucker)'-- Do you recall which one moved you enough to play it, as you described, for Glynn over the phone?
Thanks, and best regards.
John Ely (but I'm not THE John Ely who played with Asleep at the Wheel).
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Bill Cunningham

Atlanta, Ga. USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 5:28 pm     Reply with quote


Thank you for sharing this. For abut 20 years a guitar player, band mate, and musical mentor of mine here in Atlanta, Sid Manley, always raved about Glynn. In addition to being a great steel player, Sid spoke of what a good band leader Glynn was. They played together in Birmingham, Alabama after Glynn left California. I shared your Facebook post with him and asked him if this was the same guy. Here is what he said.
Bill; This is indeed the great Glynn Andrews. He and I played together at a place called "Sonny Dukes" club, in Birmingham. He was an amazing man. He was always laughing that big Happy laugh...... made you feel better just to see him. He dedicated his life, and gave his heart to God, and quit the club, as he felt it was not the image he wanted to convey. After he left, we had Don Sowersby, then Eddie "Cowboy" Long. I then left and went to work with Julian Tharpe. God Rest Glynn's beautiful soul. We will play again someday, in God's band! Thanks so much for recognizing him, Bill. A great tribute!! He was, indeed, one of the best.

BTW, I met you in Phoenix and played bass with you a couple of years ago when you were there.

My best,
Bill Cunningham
Atlanta, GA
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Bob Watson

Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
Post Posted 24 Jan 2017 10:31 pm     Reply with quote

Pete, I'm sorry to hear about your friend Glynn Andrews passing on. It seems that a lot of great pedal steel players come from Alabama. My condolences go out to his family and friends.
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Bill Nicholson

Georgia, USA
Post Posted 9 Feb 2017 7:08 pm     Reply with quote

I wanted to point out that Glynn Andrews was also in Atlanta for some amount of time, probably around 1973. I think he played at the Nugget Club on Stewart Ave. and Jimmy Garmon (drummer) was in that band too. I'll have to talk to Jimmy and find out the particulars. I went to watch Glynn play while I was in college in Atlanta and working at the Music Mart in Smyrna.
Great player.
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