Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Al Capone! Mandola player

  1. #1
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,148

    Default Al Capone! Mandola player

    Thought some of you might find this amusing!

    This Letter Tells What Al Capone Was Up to in Alcatraz
    Two words: prison band


    (excerpt)
    ....But that doesn’t mean Capone never got his way. According to Don Babwin of the Associated Press, Capone “begged the warden for permission to form a small band.” Capone racked up time for good behavior and took up music, playing banjo in a band called “The Rock Islanders.” The band had a rotating group of musicians who played as a privilege, and if Capone’s letter to his son is any indication, he relished the chance to play both banjo and mandola (an instrument that resembles a large mandolin).

    “First I learned a Tenor Guitar and then a Tenor Banjo, and now the Mandola, but for Solo work only,” he wrote to his son, boasting that he could play over 500 songs. Capone even wrote a love song song, “Madonna Mia,” that was published posthumously in 2009.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart...W3-k6f3zV_E1a8

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to mandocrucian For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,349
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Yes, sir. This comes up periodically, and has, ever since it was announced that the original sheet music for his song, "Madonna Mia," was coming up for auction in 2009.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...733-story.html

    There was another flurry of activity in 2017, when another song, "Humoresque," was being offered.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...0YO/story.html

    As much as I appreciate his dedication to the tenor instruments, with their similar tunings enabling easy switching among them, it occurs to me that, if only he had devoted himself to the mandolin, the Godfather of the mandolin family, perhaps he could have found redemption. Also, he could have helped his reputation if he had forsaken the banjo. Ah, alas!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to journeybear For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Registered User meow-n-dolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Bend OR
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    TOO MUCH FUN!!!

    The name of my next bluegrass band? "The Capones," of course. And yes, I have a mandola and promise to play it on at least one song per performance. LOL

  6. #4
    Registered User meow-n-dolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Bend OR
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Foe those who are curious: Al Capone's song.... "Madonna Mia."

    https://s.hdnux.com/photos/20/44/20/.../5/920x920.jpg

  7. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,181

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    as I suspected all along, those mandola players are criminal types
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  8. The following members say thank you to tmsweeney for this post:


  9. #6
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,349
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    OMG! Jack White bought "Humoresque?" And recorded it?



    Apparently Capone did NOT write the lyrics, but remembered them while in prison. From the video's notes:

    In Jack's words:

    I saw this auction, it said "handwritten sheet music by Al Capone in Alcatraz." I thought "what could that possibly be?" It said "Humoresque" written on it, and I was like "did he write a song in Alcatraz?" And the description said: "He was in a band in Alcatraz. He convinced the warden to buy the music equipment. The band was called the Rock Islanders and Machine Gun Kelly was the drummer in the band."

    So Jack bought it and took it to a recording session in New York. The band started playing it when a coffee-delivery lady (who was a long-time worker there) came in and said that the melody of the song was from Antonín Dvorák's "Humoresque."

    At first, Jack thought that Al Capone wrote the lyrics but he later found out that some other lyricists wrote them back in the 1930's.

    So, in conclusion, Capone "remembered" the lyrics while in prison so his band could play it.

    No matter how the story really was, it's safe to say that this song is just beautiful. It reminds me of "You've Got Her In Your Pocket" because Jack's voice is like whispered and is also the "star" of the song (although the piano can't be ignored either)


    - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + -

    PS: The final bid was $18,750.

    PPS: Machine Gun Kelly was the drummer in the band. Unfortunately, he played only one tempo, a rather fast mechanical rat-a-tat-tat.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to journeybear For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Registered User meow-n-dolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Bend OR
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    as I suspected all along, those mandola players are criminal types
    Yeah, but I ain't never been caught!!

  12. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    12,249

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Believe there was a reference to Al Capone and either a mandolin or mandola in the terrific Boardwalk Empire.

  13. The following members say thank you to AlanN for this post:


  14. #9

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Believe there was a reference to Al Capone and either a mandolin or mandola in the terrific Boardwalk Empire.


    Just another multifaceted individual I guess...

    Clark
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  15. The following members say thank you to FLATROCK HILL for this post:


  16. #10
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    12,495

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    The real question is, did Capone, a capo dei capi, use a capo d'astro?
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy • Wood • Thormahlen • Andersen • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  17. #11
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,349
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    I'll bet he did whatever he wanted, and everyone said, "Great idea, boss! Brilliant! You're the best ever!"
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  18. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,885

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    I think he might have picked mandola over mandolin because he could fit a larger firearm in the case -- extra ammunition in the accessories compartment, as well.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  19. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,181

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I think he might have picked mandola over mandolin because he could fit a larger firearm in the case -- extra ammunition in the accessories compartment, as well.
    Dang! Cover blown!
    Now I'll never get that rocket launcher through in the mandocello case
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  20. The following members say thank you to tmsweeney for this post:


  21. #14
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,001

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Just think, if he'd taken up music earlier, we might now talk about that unparalleled musician, Al Capone, who occasionally had a drink of smuggled liquor, the extent of his criminal activity -- especially if he avoided the instrument below.

    Here he is:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	al capone banjo.jpg 
Views:	63 
Size:	8.3 KB 
ID:	191637

    If there are tune images below, I tried to remove them, unsuccessfully, as someone had already posted a link above.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by Ranald; Jan-29-2021 at 3:08pm. Reason: repeated info posted above
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  22. #15
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,349
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Actually, of all the banjos, he chose the best - the tenor banjo. It's the most mandolinesque (apart from the hybrid banjolin, or mandolin-banjo, or whatever we're calling it this week), being tuned the same as the mandola. He also played tenor guitar. He seems to have landed on this tuning, in its various expressions.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  23. The following members say thank you to journeybear for this post:


  24. #16
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    14,034
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    That cell isn't as nice as his cell in Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. (You may have seen a lot of Easter State Pen as it was used for the movie 12 Monkeys and for the video for the Dead Milkmen's Punk Rock Girl).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1099.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	715.0 KB 
ID:	191715

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  25. #17
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,885

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Would make sense for a bootlegger to favor instruments tuned in fifths.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  26. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  27. #18
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,349
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Al Capone! Mandola player

    Well, done, sir! How is it that I've been playing these instruments for more than a half century and never made that connection? As a faithful fan of both types of fifths, as well as prolific pundit of puns, I'm astonished at this oversight.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •