The sequel to the Smithsonian Folkways Deep Polka compilation is -- unusually for sequels -- more interesting than its predecessor, as it contains a broader stylistic and regional diversity of American polka. No recording dates are given, but it seems likely that most or all of it was done very shortly before the collection's 2002 release date. Seven bands get three or four songs apiece, representing various strains of polka: Chicago Polish-American (Stan Golonka & the Chicago Masters), Pittsburgh Croatian-American (Jerry Grcevich), Nebraska Czech-American (the Mark Vhlidal Band), Cleveland Slovenian-American (Nancy Hlad), Minnesota Finnish-American (Al Reko & Oren Tikkanen), Wisconsin concertina (Brian & the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen), and Wisconsin Norwegian "polkabilly" (the Goose Island Ramblers). It does prove the back sleeve's proclamation that not all polka sounds alike, though some of it will please individual tastes more than others. Grcevich's tamburitza music stands out with a flavor that's slower and more melancholy than much polka, and Reko & Tikkanen bring in elements that many wouldn't associate with the style, like banjo, mandolin, spoons, and pronounced minor-key melodies. Other acts are more in line with upbeat dance polka, with the Goose Island Ramblers blending in hillbilly country, yodels, and old-timey American folk sounds on their outings.
Deeper Polka: More Dance Music From the Midwest
Deeper Polka: More Dance Music From the Midwest Review
by Richie Unterberger