- the official website of Andy Eastwood, international entertainer, recording artist and ukulele nut



More Recollections of Roy Smeck by Mark Waldrop


Learn more about Mark and Guitar Tex here:

Mark Waldrop of Guitar Tex, San Antonio, kindly sends his own memories of the great man...

Great to read about the Ukulele Heroes. I don't have a lot to add except that I did, for several months, take guitar lessons from the great Roy Smeck. As a denizen of Greenwich Village, performing regularly in the coffee houses in the late 60's, I realized that I needed to improve my skills as a player so I sought a teacher. Other folkies sought out people like Rev Gary Davis or Stephan Grossman, but somehow I opted to seek a teacher through the phone book and was struck by an ad for lessons with "The Wizard of the Strings".

I called and arranged my first lesson, taking a long subway ride uptown to his apartment, which was filled with vaudeville memoribilia and his signature instruments. He seemed dejected when he learned that I knew of him only through his ad and not his global reputation! I learned much from Roy and was always charmed by his warmth and energy. Unfortunately, what I wanted to learn was improvisation, jazz and blues - not his area of expertise - so I eventually strayed to another teacher. I now listen to the old recordings he made in the 20's and 30's with awe, but at the time I thought him quite the cornball. I remember him showing off for me by performing the 1812 Overture on guitar complete with cannonfire. It was obvious that the man was in a class by himself. One thing that has endured is that he gave me an appreciation for the ukulele. Most from my generation know only of Arthur Godfrey or Tiny Tim. I'm most grateful that I had a personal and wonderful relationship with "The Wizard of the Strings".

Mark Waldrop (owner, Guitar Tex, San Antonio)

Thanks, Mark! Great to have your memories for the site. Speaking of Tiny Tim and Arthur Godfrey - can anyone send us memories of those great stars please?