Various Artists

American Polka: Old Tunes & New Sounds

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American Polka might just be the most hardcore polka compilation available. Forget the "as seen on T.V." polka collections -- this stuff is even crazier then the already bizarre notion of liking polka at all. American Polka includes favorites from polka's "golden age" (pre-Elvis), like Li'l Wally's "Who'd You Like to Love You" and Frankie Yankovic's endlessly familiar "Beer Barrel Polka." But the tunes that will really get your party guests' attention are the mind-boggling crossover groups. Polkacide is considered to be the Motörhead of the polka scene; the Happy Schnapps Combo specialize in the ridiculous, like their wacky "You Can't Teach the Japanese to Polka"; the Polkaholics play punk polka (really); and Brave Combo offers up "The Jimi Hendrix Polka" -- a cover of "Purple Haze." As off-its-rocker as this album sounds, it is a surprisingly entertaining record that would liven up any Octoberfest. Best of all, the artists on American Polka don't take themselves too seriously -- they have a lighthearted attitude that suits their music perfectly.

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