1. Alabamy Bound 2:23
2. Buy Me a Banjo 2:13
3. Bye Bye Blues 2:28
4. Lollipops 3:32
5. I’ll See You in My Dreams 4:11
6. Waiting for the Robert E. Lee 3:49
7. Honeysuckle Rose 3:22
8. I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover/Baby Face 3:53
9. Tico Tico 1:58
10. On the Sunny Side of the Street 3:17
11. Exactly Like You 4:11
12. 12th Street Rag 2:40
13. Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans 4:40
14. Receita de Samba 5:44
15. Five Foot Two/Ain’t She Sweet 3.55
16. Maple Leaf Rag 3:05
17. The Stars and Stripes Forever 3:03
18. Liebestraum 2:14
I think it is important for listeners to know that we intended this recording to be as live as possible. Therefore, we did very little editing with the banjos, guitars and ukuleles. There were no rehearsals with the rhythm section before the recording session. And Tyler, Howard and Rob never really rehearsed either. We got together and jammed out on tunes and came up with a list that would offer some variety to a live audience. Of course, we discussed a general road map for each track but even that was subject to change.
The first track, Alabamy Bound is plectrum banjo lead and two tenor banjos soloing with the rhythm section. Buy Me a Banjo from Half a Six Pence is a sort of theme song and very appropriate because whenever any of us has had discretionary income, buying a new banjo or other instrument has always been a real possibility-much to the chagrin of our lovely spouses.
On Bye Bye Blues Rob played Eddie Peabody’s banjo, a Vega Vox IV Deluxe made in 1967 used on Eddie’s last tour in 1968. It was a great honor and thanks to Ron McLawhon for the loan. Howard used his OME tenor and Tyler played his 1931 Vox III. This one took three tries as Rob broke a string on the second take.
Lollipops is a tenor banjo duet featuring one of Harry Reser’s classic compositions and named for his daughter nicknamed Lollipops. Again, Howard and Tyler did not “work this out.” Kudos to Evan on the bass for winging this one. Evan is a fine banjoist also and, thankfully, quite familiar with Reser’s work.
Howard’s signature song, I’ll See You in My Dreams, features Howard on his 7-string guitar, with Tyler on tenor guitar and Rob on plectrum guitar. We’re guessing that lineup may be original!
Next up is the classic four string banjo tune, Waiting for the Robert E. Lee featuring the plectrum and two tenors. We took a deep breath and went for it. It should be mentioned that most of the tracks were made in one or two takes. Honeysuckle Rose features two tenor guitars and a plectrum guitar.
The two 1920s standards I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover and Babyface, part of most banjo players repertoire, is a tribute to Jolson’s famous recording. Tyler takes the lead on Tico Tico with Howard on seven string guitar and Rob on plectrum banjo. It’s the first recording in which we used both guitar and banjos.
On the Sunny Side of the Street is more laid back and displays some tasty playing on the ole banjos. The next tune Exactly Like You is Howard and Tyler on tenor guitars. There is clearly a Django thing going on here.
Always a fan favorite, Tyler shreds the 12th Street Rag as Howard tosses in a very original improv as rob joins the rhythm section. Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans features plectrum guitar, tenor guitar and seven string guitar.
When we first got together Howard wanted to play a Brazilian Samba. That was way out of Rob’s experience but Tyler is game for just about anything so we learned Receita de Samba. It’s the only song in our concert and on this album that we did not all already know. Howard made a lead sheet and Tyler and Rob just followed Howard (a pretty good guy to follow).
When we booked our first concert we learned that a large ukulele band was going to attend so we decided to do something with the ukuleles. Fortunately, Rob owns several because Howard and Tyler did not have one. In fact, when Rob asked Howard if he could play the uke, Howard asked, “how is it tuned?” Well, he figured it out just fine and he and Tyler play some incredible licks on Five Foot Two and Ain’t She Sweet, while Rob plays a banjo ukulele made for the George Formby Society in the 1970s.
As a last minute addition Howard wanted to record the Maple Leaf Rag on the last day with just banjo and drums. After listening to it days later we decided it needed some bass. So, Tyler actually recorded the bass part at home in Texas and sent it to Jim Brady digitally. Brady patched it in and problem solved.
The Stars and Stripes Forever is our closer during live performance so we put it at the end of this project. Indeed, Liebestraum is much earlier in our program but this recording is so sublime we wanted our listeners to be left with the feelings emoted. Tyler displays his mastery of the duo style on the tenor banjo. It sounds like two instruments, but it is Tyler alone using a single plectrum (pick). Amazing!
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