The False Beards

Photo: Elly Lucas     Right-click or Ctrl-click image to download hi-res version

the false beards

ben mandelson      ian anderson

Old time english psych folk blues world twangery

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

Out now: the False Beards debut CD Ankle – order from

“adventurous . . . good natured . . . dazzling . . . a classy and entertaining new duo." (The Guardian)


Sun 10th November 2013
The Green Note, 106 Parkway, London, NW1 7AN
with special guests MAGGIE HOLLAND and KATIE ROSE

Sat 9th November 2013
The Trades Club, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge, W. Yorks HX7 8EE
Tel: 01422 845265

Fri 19th - Sat 20th July 2013
Ethnoambient, Salona, nr Split, Croatia
with Spiro, Kries and others.

Weds 10th July 2013
The Bristol Fringe, 32 Princess Victoria Street. Clifton Village, Bristol BS8 4BZ
Tel: 0117 330 0900
CD launch - £6.00 on the door gets you admission and a copy of Ankle

Sun 20th January 2013
The Alma Tavern, Alma Vale Rd, Bristol, BS8 2HY
Tickets £7.00 0117 317 9020 x3 (fRoots)

Sat 19th January 2013
The Barley Sheaf, Church St, Liskeard, Cornwall, PL14 3AQ
Tickets £7.00 Tel: 01579 348434

Thurs 17th January 2013
The Royal Oak Folk Club, Station St, Lewes, E. Sussex, BN7 2DA
Tickets £7.00 Tel: 01273 478124

Weds 16th January 2013
The Green Note, 106 Parkway, London, NW1 7AN
with special guest SHELAGH McDONALD

Contact: 0117 317 9020 x3 (c/o fRoots) or ian at frootsmag dot com