Jimmy Sturr

The Greatest Hits of Polka

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Polka went public with Lawrence Welk and The Lawrence Welk Show in the mid-'50s, and 50 years later, not all that much has changed. This time warp is apparent, and to fans of the genre, will be welcomed on Jimmy Sturr's The Greatest Hits of Polka Sturr, in fact, might be the perfect leader to fill-in for the departed Welk, his son even, carrying on the tradition of champagne music. Nearly everything -- the song choices, the cheesy background singing, and the joyful beer hall cadence -- might've been borrowed from Welk's television programs. For non-fans, it's impossible to understand how these renditions of "Beer Barrel Polka" and "Charlie Was a Boxer" could be appealing -- how they were ever appealing -- to anyone. Part of the problem is that polka, like commercial folk music from the late '50s and early '60s, is hopelessly out-of-sync with the current mood of cynicism. Songs like "Tic Toc" and "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" are happy songs from an era when most folks (especially white middle class men folks) were optimistic about the future. The Greatest Hits of Polka will probably have its greatest appeal, then, to an audience who never got hip to the pessimism that began growing rapidly during the '70s (around the time that Welk's show was canceled).

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