Grandpa Banana | Even Grandpas Get the Blues

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Rock: Acoustic Blues: Acoustic Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Even Grandpas Get the Blues

by Grandpa Banana

A collection of great blues songs with guest appearances by Ry Cooder, Barry Melton, David Grisman, Terry Haggerty and others with all instruments played and recorded acoustically.
Genre: Rock: Acoustic
Release Date: 

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1. Married To The Blues (feat. Ry Cooder)
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5:01 $0.99
2. Good Day For The Blues
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3:58 $0.99
3. Just Can't Quit The Blues (feat. Michael Barclay & Roger Volz)
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5:09 $0.99
4. Like A Road (feat. Roger Volz)
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4:04 $0.99
5. Love Is A Five Letter Word (feat. Barry Melton)
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3:55 $0.99
6. Riding With The King (feat. Steve Kimock & Bobby Vega)
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4:56 $0.99
7. Corrina Corrina (feat. Terry Haggerty)
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3:37 $0.99
8. If You Got To Make A Fool Of Somebody
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3:51 $0.99
9. Blue Driver (feat. Thomas Ford)
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3:50 $0.99
10. Precious Gold
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5:27 $0.99
11. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me (feat. David Grisman & Chad Manning)
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3:02 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
We worked at Owl Mountain Studios for about 9 months on this project with the great Sam Page on Bass and David Thom on mandolin and harmony vocals and Ethan Turner on drums and producing, engineering and mixing. And we had distinguished guests, Ry Cooder, Terry Haggerty, David Grisman, Steve Kimock, Bobby Vega, Michael Barclay, Barry Melton,Thomas Ford and Roger Volz with whom to collaborate. Great songs and great players make for a great time. Every instrument on the album is played and recorded acoustically.

Banana began his career in bluegrass on the east coast in Boston with "Banana and the Bunch, Old Time Music with Appeal" playing banjo. He then formed "Banana and the Bunch, Old Time Music with Appeal" playing bluegrass in the local coffee houses of the early 60’s being mentored by the likes of Bill Kieth and The Charles River Valley Boys. After several years in the east coast folk/bluegrass scene, he co-founded The Youngbloods with Joe Bauer, Jesse Colin Young, and Jerry Corbitt. The band moved from New York City to West Marin in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1967.

Along with co-producing The Youngbloods records with Joe Bauer and many others on his own, he produced the first two High Country albums for Butch Waller which were released by Warner Bros. Records in the early 1970's. This introduced California bluegrass to a worldwide audience.

He was accompanist to Mimi Farina for over twenty years, played keyboards and sang lead with Zero for over 10 years, played with Norton Buffalo, Steve Kimock and Friends, The Michael Barclay Blues Band, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, and old time psychedelic rock with The Barry "The Fish" Melton band. He has done duo gigs with David Nelson, Keith Little, David Thom, Paul Knight, and many others. And he plays the beloved bluegrass music with friends and neighbors including The Papermill Creek Rounders, David, Tracy and Sam Grisman, The David Thom Band, Peter Rowan and the legendary Artie Rose and associates.

As Grandpa Banana’s Band with David Thom on mandolin and Sam Page on bass, he plays five string tenor guitar and presents a vast repertoire of great songs old and new.



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Joe Ross

Still lively and spirited after all these years
Before spinning Grandpa Banana’s new 2012 album release, I dug out a few of my favorite vinyl records dating back to 1971-2 from The Youngbloods and Banana and the Bunch. On his Mid-Mountain-Ranch LP, Lowell “Banana” Levinger explained how he and Peter Golden were standing around in 1963 at a Boston University rehearsal of “On the Town.” They voted “Harmon N. Banana” the folkiest name of 1936 and started the group, Banana and the Bunch. The talented instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter then played from about 1965-72 with The Youngbloods before they broke up, and Banana and the Bunch was resurrected. Besides Jesse Colin Young’s singing and songwriting, another key element of The Youngbloods’ great, good-timey, folk-rock sound was Banana’s electric piano and various stringed instruments. You could always count on the guys for a fun, romping mix of ragtime, jug band, blues, folk, and bluegrass with a healthy dose of laid-back jam band attitude too.

Now turn the clock ahead forty years, and we find that Grandpa Banana still gets the blues. His voice has aged a tad, but he still plays piano, guitar, tenor guitar, and banjo. And’s he’s even added the siren to his arsenal! Since his 1967 relocation to California, Banana’s circle of musical friends has broadened too. “Even Grandpas Get the Blues” features his three regular band mates (bassist Sam Page, drummer Ethan Turner, mandolinist David Thom), and ten additional picking pals make limited guest appearances on 1-2 cuts each. They include lead guitarists Ry Cooder, Michael Barclay, Barry Melton, Steve Kimock, and Terry Haggerty. We also briefly hear saxophonist Roger Volz, mandolinist David Grisman, fiddler Chad Manning, harmonica player Thomas Ford, and bassist Bobby Vega. Obviously, this was a fun project for Banana to produce, and he hasn’t lost any of his spark and affinity for jamming and recording with friends. Another immediate observation is that every instrument on this album was played and recorded acoustically. Thus, it’s like the bunch of hot pickers are partying right in your living room, but where are the women backup singers with their clarion, bluesy vocals for material like this?

The set starts strong with tastefully-rendered renditions of “Married to the Blues” and “Good Day for the Blues.” Banana’s own self-penned “Just Can’t Quit the Blues” lets him indulge his sadness and pain for seeing the same woman on and off for fifteen years. Another album standout is the cover of John Hiatt’s “Riding with the King,” that dates back to one of Hiatt’s best albums, released in 1983 while he was still searching for his own rootsy style that fused rock & roll, country, blues, folk. I can see how Banana would like the perceptive and eclectic music of John Hiatt. “Blue Driver” is a warm and conversational piece that allows Banana to play his siren, and how can one not like the old ragtime favorite, “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me?” I wouldn’t have complained if the album incorporated more of Grisman’s mandolin and Manning’s fiddle.

Regardless of whether it’s from loneliness, pain, sleepless nights, or swimming women that he gets the blues, I’m so happy Banana’s still got them after all these years. I listened to his 1972 LP again. There’s a photo of him holding a baby forty years ago, and he’s Grandpa Banana now. Back in the 70s, Banana wrote and recorded “My True Life Blues” in which he admits being “Too crazy for the Army, Too sane for the business world, I like to stay home play my guitar, Make love to my little girl.” That’s what he’s done, and the decades haven’t slowed him down much. Grandpa Banana’s music is still lively and spirited after all these years. (Joe Ross, CD Insight)