Jimmy Sturr

Polka in Paradise

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Over the course of his many previous albums, Jimmy Sturr and his big band have managed to win new converts to the polka fold by adapting vintage pop material to the polka genre, thus reducing significantly the number of people who think the words "polka" and "paradise" should never be found in the same sentence. If you remain among that segment of the population, then you have no business whatsoever listening to his 27th release, Polka in Paradise, on which he returns to a more roots-oriented sound. Guest vocalists include the Jordanaires (who provide backing vocals throughout the disc) and the legendary Bobby Vinton, and the album features a nice mix of old-fashioned novelty numbers ("Give Me a Kiss (Daj Mi Buzi)," "Roll Out the Barrel One More Time"), and zippy instrumentals ("Accordions on Fire," "Monopol"). There are even some hints of Sturr's famous musical eclecticism: note the distinctly Western swing-flavored "Miss Molly" and the subtle mariachi inflections on "Wake Me Up Early in the Morning." At times things do get idiomatic to the point of insufferability, as on the hopelessly gloppy wedding waltz "Sweet Memories of Yesterday," and even die-hard fans may have a hard time getting excited about such generic fare as "Put a Light in the Window" and "Roll Out the Barrel One More Time." But overall, while it won't do much to win over the unconverted, this is an album that's sure to please fans of the genre.

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