Damn Big Party
Flipper at Forty Years (or One Thousand and Forty Fortnights) Who would have ever guessed that a melding of four personalities forty years ago to play folk music would endure that long? Brian Thompson, Banjo Bob Balabuck, Jamie Gerow and Jack Wall are doing just that and their bond of friendship is even closer. Collectively their talent and wit with their enduring passion to entertain is more than prevalent in this live recording at the National Hydrant Championship (National Firefighters Curling Championship) in the Dawson Room at the Prince Arthur Hotel, Thunder Bay. Their happy blend of folk, bluegrass, country, Irish and other ethnic music comes out of the melting pot as superb Canadian talent that has proven resilient in the company of the Irish Rovers, Rudy Meeks, John Allan Cameron, Sean Dunphy, The Good Brothers, Dan Hill, Myrna Lorrie, Fred Eaglesmith and Arthur Black, to name but a few. This musical institution, now four decades in the making, with an enviable archive of awards and achievements has become part of the fabric of their home town culture in Thunder Bay. This recording reflects the irreverent sophomoric humour for which the boys in Flipper were well known early in their careers. Refusing to grow up, let alone old, these four guys continue to perform like they did in grade ten. They were kicked off high school stages for singing "The Pill" in 1967 and they haven't looked back since. If you are offended by suggestive humour and sometimes outright off colour language, please don't play the CD. We warned you. Don't complain later. However, overlooking their immature insolence, they have an angelic innocence that has been demonstrated in their more serious work, "Damn Big Lake" and their forthcoming CD which includes more music written about their love for the North and the city of their birth. Somebody told them that forty years was their Ruby Anniversary. They've never met Ruby, but they wouldn't mind. Over the past forty years, many folks have joined Flipper. Some were band members, some were extras, fill ins, temporary members, sidemen, and roadies. We have enjoyed the company of Don Campbell, Bill Shindle, Margie Taylor, George Burns, David Niven, Brian Konopski, Billy 'Scrubby' Skrepichuk, Jack Harmer, Bill Kuzik, Dean Hample, Johnny Scaffeo, Dave York, Rob Hole, Vesa Peltonen, Joey Oram, Ian Convey, Greg Perrons, Ted Kolysnick, and Ken Boshcoff. None of this matters without an audience and our audiences have been the greatest. Thank you. "A hobby that got out of control." -Joanne Kushnier, Chronicle Journal "Whatever their formula, they make normal people step dance to the fiddle and stomp to the banjo." - Nipigon Gazette "Like Arthur Black, this band has been a cultural icon in Thunder Bay for nearly forty years." -Heather Houston and Vicki Shannon "I don't think any of them are flat footed, none of them are named Flanagan, but there are four of them." - Arthur Black "Are they entertaining? Definitely. Laugh with them and laugh at them. Since they consider you their equal, they'll laugh at you too. They play because the enjoy it. They act ridiculous because they can't help themselves and the name of the game is to have a good time. Their remarks are spontaneous, since none of them can remember anything." - Chronicle Journal "If you can remember coming home from a night with Flipper, it's because the police told you about it." - Greg Malo, friend and photographer "Their performances are every bit as unforgettable as their name. These guys continue to deliver some of the best bluegrass music anywhere..." - Bill Houston Brian Thompson - mandolin, bones, tambourine and vocals Banjo Bob Balabuck - banjo, mandolin, fiddle and vocals Jamie Gerow - guitars and vocals Jack Wall - bass guitar and vocals.