Flipper Flanagan's Flat Footed Four
Bob Balabuck (banjo)
Jamie Gerow (guitar, mandolin, mandola and bouzouki)
Brian Thompson (guitar, mandolin, mandola, bodhran and bouzouki)
Jack Wall (bass guitar)
With a musical career spanning five decades, 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 Bluegrass 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, who plays banjo on the left and banjo on the right and fiddle up the middle. Jamie Gerow plays guitar, mandolin, mandola and bouzouki along with Brian Thompson who is famous for his musical renderings of various kitchen implements including spoons and washboards. Brian also plays the bodhran, bones, mandolin, bouzouki and guitar. Jack Wall provides unique bass guitar stylings rarely heard in Celtic and Bluegrass 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. It wasn’t until 2005 that the band returned to the studio to record “Damn Big Lake” which captured the band’s love of good times and of Thunder Bay. That CD was followed up in 2007 with another good time live recording called “Damn Big Party”. In 2010, the band expects to release their third CD of home grown tunes called “Where the Rainbow Ends”. 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. In 2009, the City recognized the band for it Exceptional Achievement. As well, the band has been enshrined in the local music museum and has made significant contributions to music education in city 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.