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Dan Scanlan | Cool Hand Banjo-Uke

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John Prine Utah Phillips Woody Guthrie

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United States - California

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Folk: Progressive Folk Folk: Alternative Folk Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Cool Hand Banjo-Uke

by Dan Scanlan

Eclectic and original, socially and politically conscious songs hammered home on a 1928 Wendall Hall Professional model banjo-uke performed by one of the world's great ukulele virtuosos.
Genre: Folk: Progressive Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Playin' At the Yuba
4:55 $0.99
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2. I'm a Politician
2:53 $0.99
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3. Spring Sing Sierra
2:12 $0.99
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4. Children of the Last of the Middle Class
3:12 $0.99
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5. Lucky Me
2:48 $0.99
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6. Chem Trails
2:21 $0.99
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7. Then Jode, Now John
5:44 $0.99
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8. Privatize
4:50 $0.99
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9. 10,000 Ukuleles
2:23 $0.99
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10. I Think I'll Stay Home and Get Centered
3:21 $0.99
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11. Sweet Peach
1:16 $0.99
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12. It's a Shame, It's a Crime
3:03 $0.99
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13. Going Home
3:40 $0.99
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14. Prayer for Aisha Rashid
4:46 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Utah Phillips once introduced me at a folk festival by saying, "Dan Scanlan has more talent in his little finger than he has in the whole rest of his body." For a while he used to recite the words to my song "I Think I'll Stay Home and Get Centered" at his gigs. My songs celebrate the people and places I love; other songs are meant to teach and compel activism. Oh yeah, the banjo-uke I'm playing is the "king banjo-uke", a 1928 Wendall Hall Professional Model made the Ludwig Company of Chicago. This banjo-uke was the same one used by the great English performer George Formby. Before Ludwig made it, the company primarily made tambourines. After the success of the instrument,Ludwig went on to become the great drum manufacturer they are today. In 1974 I traded an archtop Gibson guitar I had bought from John Dopyera straight across for it. I have many ukes, but the Ludwig is my baby. Hope you enjoy it.

Here's a little bit about each of the tunes on this banjo-uke CD.

1. Playin' at the Yuba
This song was composed in 1983 and first performed by The Self-Righteous brothers (myself and David Briggs) at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City CA for a fund-raising event for the founding of the South Yuba River Citizen’s League. It was also used in Greg Schiffner’s documentary, Stories of the Yuba.

2. I'm a Politician
Written sometime in the 1990s in response to how they are.

3. Spring Sing Sierra
Written in 2003 and performed at the Nevada Theatre fundraiser by the Strum Bums and local musicians to send the Bums to the New York Ukulele Festival.

4. Children of the Last of the Middle Class
Written in 2014 after hearing young people discussing the ethics of bringing babies into a world they felt was coming to a catastrophic end.

5. Lucky Me
Written in 2015 for the hell of it.

6. Chem Trails
A rewriting of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies with a modern take on the military’s clandestine chemical warfare on the world’s people. My friend Pat Sauer contributed a few ideas to this one.

7. Then Jode, Now John
Written in 1993 when KVMR Community Radio music director John Nichols passed. His death was the sixth in a series of volunteer broadcasters who died young. I wrote and memorized this song and hurried to John’s memorial in Pioneer Park in Nevada City but got there too late to sing it. The people in the song are still important to me, as they were to the Nevada City community.

8. Privatize
An older song complaining of the tendency of corporations to own everything, even the rain. This one was in my repertoire on a single payer health care tour with Anne Feeney and others.

9. 10,000 Ukuleles
In the ‘90s, before the Internet took off, there were newsgroups and a college student in New Hampshire started one that was ukulele-centric. An ardent discussion about whether it was okay to use a strap with a uke ensued and got rather nasty. A person living in Texas at the time, R. Bruce, posted a poem he wrote. He gave me permission to alter it and put it to music. He said “knock yourself out!” This song is the result. It may be the first song composed on the Internet.

10. I Think I'll Stay Home and Get Centered
I wrote the first version of this tune when George H. W. Bush, one of the orchestrators of the Bay of Pigs and assassination of JFK, was president. The original first line went “There’s a CIA, drug running, oil baron banker in the White House…” Later, when Bill Clinton was the figurehead, I changed it to “There’s a non-inhalin’, cult-killin’, World Bank shill in the White House…” Bush’s goofy son got his own line, too, but I’ve suppressed it. The idea doesn't change, only the names.

11. Sweet Peach
A song for my sweetie.

12. It’s A Shame, It's a Crime
Originally composed spontaneously on Market Street in San Francisco in front of the Federal Reserve Building protesting the bankster bailout during Cindy Sheehan’s campaign to unseat Nancy Pelosi in 2008. It has become my war protest song of choice. Audiences tend to sing along!

13. Going Home
A recent rewriting of a two-chord song I composed hitch-hiking overnight on Highway 99 in central California in 1977, Standing in the Fog with a Wet Dog on Highway 99 Blues.

14. Prayer for Aisha Rashid
In 2014, 5-year-old Aisha Rashid was returning home to Kabul, Afghanistan with five members of her family after a doctor visit. A U.S. Predator Drone blasted the car she was in and killed everybody but her. Her face, ears and a limb were blown off. After a few local hospital stays, the Pentagon flew her to a military hospital in the USA. Her surviving family has sued to get her returned home, but the US refuses to do so, probably to keep her from being a poster child for their horrendous sins.

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