“Andy Baylor is one of Melbourne’s greatest musical treasures… he lives by his trade and his trade is music” Keith Glass, Herald Sun.
Andy Baylor, Australian musician of renown, has his roots in the inner- urban art movement of seventies’ Melbourne – a time of musical experimentation, freedom and folk clubs. He has spent the last thirty years honing his unique musical talents.
Over the years, Andy has traveled the back roads of popular culture seeking knowledge and inspiration from many forgotten sources . He has drawn on America’s great 20th century legacy of popular music and his own Australian roots, creating a new individual voice combining instrumental virtuosity on several instruments with a strong sense of place and history.
The Melbourne -born roots writer and multi-instrumentalist has ,musically, seen and done more than most. Besides spreading previously little-known musical sounds across Australia in the late ‘70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s the list of blues and roots legends that Andy has played with is beyond impressive.
There is probably no player in town who moves as easily from Blues to Bebop, Cajun to Western Swing, Tex-Mex to Rockabilly, Rhythm’n blues to New Orleans jazz, country to rock, folk to funky. He is Melbourne’s king of Roots and is proud to have a new album of blues-inspired original songs – Blues is Poetry.
“Melbourne is a treasure-trove of fine music and marvellous musical practitioners. One of the most gifted is Andy Baylor. He is a master of space and time,” Ken Williams, The Age.
As a guitarist, Andy combines a deep knowledge of blues, jazz, folk and country music. After spending his formative years in well-loved Melbourne bands such as the Blue Rockets, The Honeydrippers and the Auto drifters , he went on to cut his teeth playing with many visiting U.S.A. masters including Jimmy Witherspoon (Legendary blues shouter), Big Jay McNeely (R ’n B saxophone pioneer), Jimmy McGriff (funky, famous Hammond organ virtuoso, Flaco Jimenez (tex mex accordion king), Coco Robicheaux (contemporary singer, songwriter from New Orleans), Louisiana Red (Bluesman), Screamin Jay Hawkins (voodoo blues king) and others
He was even hand-picked by Bob Dylan to support some of his shows in ’92 with the Baylor Brothers Band (Dylan was given a copy of Andy’s first CD….”where’d you guys learn to play like that ?” was all Bob could say). Robert Plant was brought to a gig in Sydney’s Graphic Arts Club in the mid ‘80’s and saw the Dancehall Racketeers in full-flight .He subsequently used the band on his ’86 tour . Not only that ,but he was so inspired by the rootsy sounds that he went back to England and cut an album of rhythm ’n’ blues under the Honeydrippers’ name!
Andy has also toured with artists as diverse as Taj Mahal; John Mayall; Slim Whitman; New Orleans Soul singer, Betty Harris; Zydeco greats-Queen Ida and Rockin’ Dopsie Snr ; Steve Riley’s Mamou Playboys ; Cajun band Balfa Toujours and he has played fiddle with Cajun accordionist Ray Abshire. He has played concerts with bluegrass greats such as banjoist Bill Keith, fiddler Mark O’Connor and guitarist Dan Crary.
As for Australia’s great legacy of artists, Andy has always been a busy working musician with unmatched versatility. Over the years he has played with many artists –country, folk and rock with Slim Dusty, Anne Kirkpatrick, Redgum; blues with Chris Wilson, Kerri Simpson, Continental Robert, Rick Dempster, Lil Fi, Leslie Avril and others; he has continually collaborated with his equally well-known brothers, guitarist Peter Baylor and fiddler Donal Baylor on many projects.
“Over the years Andy Baylor has taken us on a world tour of musical styles, from western swing to Cajun boogie, country blues to sublime pop…..Like many of the finest things in life, Andy’s new record takes it’s time to reveal its many delights. What at first seems a record of simple dignity gradually emerges as emotionally complex and full of quiet passion.” Jeff Glorfeld, The Age.
Over the last decade, Andy has written and recorded original music with Richard Frankland, Gunditjamara film maker, writer and musician, and is a founding member of the Charcoal Club. Through this band he has developed deep relationships with indigenous musicians and communities. He has played funk and world styles with Banana Oil and Nicky Bomba and has played all styles of jazz with local legends Bob Barnard and Ade Monsborough, Judy Jacques, Ken Schroder, Alan Browne, Paul Williamson and others.
During the 1980’s,with his band The Dancehall Racketeers, Andy toured everywhere in Australia, from Aboriginal settlements in Arnhem Land to big city concert halls breaking down barriers and introducing such (then unusual and obscure) styles of music as Western Swing, Cajun, Zydeco, rockabilly, country ,hillbilly and blues to Australian audiences. The Dancehall Racketeers are currently enjoying a renaissance in roots music circles, recording a new album and playing festivals with a new line-up.
Andy is truly one of the architects of the current “roots/blues” trend in Australian popular music and continues to be an inspiration to many younger artists. He has successfully created a blueprint for other independent artists to follow. Over the last few years , Andy has produced albums by artists such as Sarah Carroll, Tracey Miller, The Charcoal Club and the Dancehall Racketeers. He is in demand as a musical elder -statesman for many younger emerging artists he has guested on countless contemporary country, blues and rock albums.
As a violinist, he has created a unique Australian sound with elements of swing, Celtic, Cajun, classical and country fiddle styles. In 1989 and again in 2005 he traveled the back roads of the U.S.A. as a fiddler, where he played with many legendary musicians including bluegrass greats David Grisman , Texan swing fiddle master Johnny Gimble (A member of Bob Wills Texas Playboys), Cajun fiddle greats Dewey Balfa, Rufus Thibodeaux ,Dave Greely and accordianists Ray Abshire and Marc Savoy. This first-hand experience has given Andy unparalleled insights into the traditions of American music.
Over the years Andy has played all the leading music festivals with his band the Cajun Combo. This band specializes in a unique, hybrid mix of Louisana-inspired Cajun dance music ,blues, western swing and original tunes delivered with a definitive Australian roots flavour. Andy continues his unique musical journey with a host of diverse musical projects and his many CDs reflect his wide artistic interests.
For more detailed information about Andy’s recordings, please visit the discography page on this website.
2014 – REEL OF JOY
2013 – DOWN WHERE THE BANKSIAS GROW
2009 – POSSUM STOLE THE PUMPKIN
2008 – BLUES IS POETRY
2006 – THE PRESTON YEARS
2005 – CRY FREEDOM
2005 – HOMETOWN STOMP
2004 – BUCKLEY’S CHANCE
2003 – MELVILLE MILK BAR BLUES
2003 – FRONT PORCH FAVOURITES
2001 – THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
2000 – ARCADIANA
THE CHARCOAL CLUB-MEETING 1
1999 – GUAVA LAMPO
1998 – THE YARRAVILLE SESSIONS
1995 – THE BUSH IS FULL OF GHOSTS
1992 – ANDY BAYLOR’S CAJUN COMBO