FLIPPER FLANAGAN'S FLAT FOOTED FOUR: Damn Big LakeBIOGRAPHY:
After nearly forty years in the music business, Flipper Flanagan's Flat Footed Four is as culturally significant to Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario as are Persians, The Hoito and George the Porter. Born out of the folk music scene of the nineteen sixties, Flipper embraced Celtic and Appalachian music. The varied talents of the four flat footed friends allowed them to draw on the influences of several other musical genres with a resulting brew best described as Progressive Pub Music.The band is well known for it's irreverent sense of humour and high energy performance. "Banjo" Bob Balabuck, " The Fiddling Fool, The Fastest Fingers Alive", plays banjo, mandolin and fiddle for the band. Jamie Gerow plays guitar, mandolin, mandola and bouzouki along with Brian Thompson who is famous for his musical renderings of various kitchen implements, in particular the spoons. Brian also plays the bodhran, bones, mandolin, bouzouki and guitar. Jack Wall provides unique bass guitar stylings rarely heard in Celtic and Appalachian circles.
In 1978, the band released a full length recording called "It's Alive". The project was followed up with many commercials for politicians, pizzerias and ski events. A second recording, "The Welcome" was released in 1982. On November 3, 2005, Flipper Flanagan released their most recent recording of all original tunes on a CD called "Damn Big Lake" - a celebration of the north, it's people and the bands imagination. With the help of all local media, the CD release concert was a successful fund raising event for the local Shelter House. CBC radio and Isles FM 103.9 (Isle of Lewis) joined in the celebration by featuring tunes from the CD at that time.
In 1983, the band was presented with an achievement award for The City of Thunder Bay for it's distinguished contribution to the culture of the city. As well, the band has been enshrined in the local music museum and has made significant contributions to music education in local schools. Individually, the members of the band have been recognized for their talents at various banjo festivals, music festivals and vocal competitions. They have performed from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland to the British Columbia coast, from as far north as Longlac and south into the Midwest United States. Recently, the boys appeared on CBC Radio's final taping of "Basic Black" with Arthur Black at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on June 19th, 2002. The show was broadcast to an audience of 650,000 on June 29th, 2002 and as one reviewer reported, "They still have it!" Arthur honoured the band by specifically asking for them for his retirement show.
This was the first banjo soloing effort in public for Banjo Bob Balabuck since is conversion to left handed banjo. Bob played five sting banjo faster than most in the right handed position for about forty years. He lost the ability to pick with his right hand and was ordered to give up playing by his doctor. Bob had his banjo converted to left hand and re-taught himself in this new position. The recording of "Damn Big Lake" is also a celebration of his success in achieving this feat.
At your first opportunity, please become one of Flipper Flanagan's Flat Footed Friends, because you, the audience, are the most important members of our band. Without you, the music just isn't complete. So clap your hands, stomp your feet, sing along and just let your hair down as "Flat Footed Friends" for a musical evening. Arthur Black said: "I don't think any of them are flat-footed, none of them are named Flanagan but there are four of them." Vicki Gabareau called them: "The Rockers in Walkers!" The Thunder Bay Post said: "They've still got it!" Like so many others, they were talking about good times with none other than Flipper Flanagan's Flat Footed Four.
We would like to thank Susan, Elaine, Mairi and Debbie for their tolerance and support; our buddy Al Langlade (http://cdbaby.com/cd/allanglade) for venturing into the genre of Celtic Appalachian Music; Greg Malo (Greg Malo Photography) good friend and photographer extraordinaire; Darren Foulds (Darren Foulds Design www.shromazoom.com); collaborators in song, Walter Martin (Granpa's Whiskey), Dean Hample (Breton Queen and The Curse of Nanabijou) and Rod Jackson (Dreaming of the Brier); The Heather Houston Rink for curling sounds on "Dreaming of the Brier); fate for the happy coincidences that brought four friends together; and the muses that have guided our picks and pens. Brian thanks Eilidh for Monday tea. Jack's bar tab has been written off. We have the highest regard and appreciation for our supporters and listeners. You make it all worthwhile.
Bob Balabuck: Vocals and banjo on all songs, lead mandolin on songs 4, 9 and 13, fiddles on 13.
Brian Thompson: vocals and mandolin on all songs, bones on 6 and 13, bodrhan on 1, 5 and 13.
Jack Wall: vocals and bass on all songs.
Jamie Gerow: vocals and guitars (six and twelve string) on all songs.
Dean Hample: tin whistle on 13.
For booking information contact
Jamie Gerow: 807-622-3098
Bob Balabuck: 807-622-7137
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Curse of Nanabijou
2. Grampa's Whiskey
3. Kilroy Was Here
4. Damn Big Lake
5. Breton Queen
6. Flanagan's Flippers
7. Gone, Long Gone
8. Night Owl
9. My Hometown
10. Motorcycle in the Livingroom
11. Flanagan's Real
12. Super Sucker's Salvation & Septic Service
13. Dreaming of the Brier