From The Notodden Blues Festival in Norway
Blues Award Winner Maarud was also part of the Norwegian band that was assembled to back Legend Lowell ” Banana ” Levinger from The Youngbloods . Also this concept must be said to be among the highlights of this year’s festival . The two concerts at The Bok and Blues House are going to be talked about for years to come . Thanks to Lowell and thanks to his wonderful Norwegian musicians spearheaded by Reidar Larsen and Knut Hem.
Reviews for “Get Together : Banana Recalls Youngbloods Classics”
Here’s one for the LP vinyl version:
“Multi-instrumentalist Lowell Levinger, aka Banana, remains a lager-than-life embodiment of the freewheeling 60s counterculture and here revisits the idiosyncratic catalogue of his much-loved former band, The Youngbloods …
Banana’s good-natured remake of Grizzly Bear sets the scene for a lively romp through Youngbloods nuggets, spread over two 10” vinyl albums in Shagrat’s customary vibrant packaging.
Highlights include the aforementioned landmarks, Hippie From Olema, Interlude and baroque instrumental On Sir Francis Drake. A total delight.” – Kris Needs – Record Collector Christmas 2015
And here’s a bunch for the CD version:
“The centerpiece of this remarkable recording is the title track, one of the anthems of the peace and love generation. Levinger gives the Youngbloods’ 1967 hit a new string band sound, …[a] meticulously produced album.” – Paul Liberatore – Marin Independent Journal
“It’s GREAT – really creative, class release all the way … What makes Levinger’s album so strong is that all the music might be rooted in the past, but it sounds as new as today. Maybe that’s because some styles are just destined to remain timeless, and Banana is such a smoothie in directing the players that the album ends up being a new breed extravaganza of American treasures.” – Bill Bentley, Bentley’s Bandstand at The Morton Report
“…a disc that brings back memories of days long gone, but fondly remembered for the camaraderie between wanderers on a journey. … … The main songwriters of the group were Jesse Colin Young and Banana, also known as Lowell Levinger. Between the two of them, they wrote six of the songs on this disc, with Banana writing four, and Jesse two…. … There is a good-time feel on this disc, that encompassed their music. This album is definitely a trip into the past but the times have changed — so have the perspectives, and the people.” – Bob Gottlieb – ND Review
“That so much of the material holds up so well is a tribute both to how strong the songs were to begin with, to how Banana has matured as an interpreter, and to the really nice arrangements featuring collaborations with the likes of fellow-Youngblood Jesse Colin Young, David Grisman, Ry Cooder, Darol Anger, Duke Robillard and others on various tracks.” – Mike Regenstreif – Folk Roots / Folk Branches
“…this is his lovingly crafted celebration of the Youngbloods’ 50th anniversary. … The outstanding collection of inventively reimagined and masterfully played Youngbloods songs is mostly acoustic-flavored, featuring Levinger on various five-string tenor guitars, banjo and piano.” – Peter Hund, Good New Music
“a release celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary. It features updated arrangements of some of their half-century old hits. Instrumentally, it is outstanding; the often weird lyrics are fascinating and a helluva lot of fun. The crew, and its Greenwich Village artiste flavor, is popular in Europe. Its members are familiar to discerning characters everywhere.” – Frank Roberts – Virginia Pilot – Soundwaves
“While “Get Together” is certainly a focal point of Banana’s new album, it’s only one of twelve songs on an album that he’s put together with loving kindness and a deep passion and respect for the music.” – HENRY CARRIGAN – No Depression
Reviews for “Down to the Roots”
Press Play: Lowell Levinger’s masterful ‘Down to the Roots’
Lowell Levinger “Down to the Roots”
This is the first time West Marin’s Lowell Levinger has used his given name on an album.
It’s easy to see why he’s gotten more formal on the all acoustic “Down to the Roots.” With guests the caliber of Ry Cooder, David Grisman, Barry Melton and Terry Haggerty, Levinger clearly wants to be taken seriously this time around.
This collection of 14 songs is a nod to the Americana music of his youth in Santa Rosa, when he would take buses to Music City Records in Oakland to buy blues and R&B records he heard on the radio on so-called “race” stations, and to the folk tunes and bluegrass he listened to and played when he went to Boston College in Cambridge, Mass, in the 1960s.
Cleveland Plain Dealer – FAI Kansas City – Top Ten
Folk Alliance International Kansas City top 10 Article / Review 2/24/2014
LOWELL LEVINGER: Better known simply as “Banana,” Lowell was part of the late 1960s band The Youngbloods and singer on two anthems, “Darkness, Darkness” and “Get Together.” He could have stopped and rested on those two songs the rest of his days, but he performed new material as well. He still has the drive to create music that makes a difference.
Kansas City Star Review – FAI Showcase
From The Kansas City Star – 2/23/2014
Review of the Folk Alliance International Conference
Lowell “Banana” Levinger represented the Woodstock generation at the conference. An original member of the Youngbloods, Levinger reprised the classic hits “Darkness, Darkness” and “Get Together” during his solo set. He remembered the late Pete Seeger as introduced the latter song. “I feel that we helped spread what he stood for,” Levinger said.
Levinger also suggested that he and many of his colleagues were fatigued. “This is my first Folk Alliance Conference and it’s been a lot of fun, unless you think sleep is fun,” he said.
Other Articles and Reviews
- A video interview with Banana by Rik Palieri for The Song Writers Notebook – Done in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky at The Song Farmers Gathering – .
- An Interview with Banana by Henry Cariigan for No Depression – The Journal of Roots Music – .
- An Interview with Banana by Paul Libertore – This article on Banana Appeared recently in the Marin Independent Journal.
- Learn about the Banjo from Banana – An Interview in The Collectors Weekly Banana is interviewed about the history and use of banjos. Banjo jokes and all.
- Banana interviewed on Mandolin Cafe 10 Questions asked by Dan Beimborn. A variety of questions about music, music software, hang gliding, old instruments, etc.
- Banana on BanjoTalk.com An Archive of a Live Interview Sunday December 6, 2009 . David Pericone interviews Banana about banjos, Youngbloods and everything else.