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Dan the Banjo Man

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Dan the Banjo Man was actually Phil Cordell, who played everything but some rhythm guitar on the 1974 Dan the Banjo Man album. Cordell had previously released records as Springwater, who had a number five hit in the U.K. in 1971 with "I Will Return." He recorded the Dan the Banjo Man album in a small cellar in Ninfield, Sussex, England, and while the record didn't actually feature a banjo, he did use an automatic wah-wah pedal that he thought made a guitar sound like a banjo. The title track became a hit instrumental in Germany after being used in an orange juice commercial, sparking demand for an almost wholly instrumental album mixing originals with covers of oldies like "Bring It on Home," "I Got You Babe" (the title changed to "I Got You Dan"), and "The Locomotion." Like "Dan the Banjo Man," these featured layers of guitars with enough unusual textures and effects to create a feel similar to that produced by synthesizers. The 2005 CD reissue of the album added eight bonus tracks, the majority of them written and recorded by Cordell and his son Charlie Cordell long after the mid-'70s, including a 2005 remake of "Dan the Banjo Man." ~ Richie Unterberger

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