Archive for the ‘accordion’ Category

Walking In My Winter Underwear

January 25, 2016

“Walking in my Winter Underwear,” a song parody performed on the Lawrence Welk Show. The original song was written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith in 1934.


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A Dangerous Instrument in the Wrong Hands

December 15, 2012

A Dangerous Instrument in the Wrong Hands

Suspicious Package in Columbia, Maryland:

“The area around the building was cordoned off with yellow police tape. Just outside the perimeter were police cars, an emergency services command truck, and fire and rescue trucks. ‘We send out equipment based on a worst-case scenario,’ said Assistant Fire Chief Joe Dixon.”

“More than two hours. More than 30 police, fire and rescue workers. And more than enough police cars and big trucks to widen the eyes of three dozen youngsters in day care, all to investigate a suspicious package that turned out to be … an accordion.”

— “Suspicious package in Columbia turns out to be an accordion,” Jessica Anderson and Andrea F. Siegel, Baltimore Sun


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Image ( “Accordion Squad!” magazine) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Dylan’s Christmas Polka Party

December 27, 2009

Bob Dylan performs a spirited version of  Hal Moore and Bill Fredricks’ “Must Be Santa” on his Christmas album. The tune was also recorded by Mitch Miller in 1961 and Lorne Greene (with a kiddie choir) in 1966. The hilarious British attempt by Tommy Steele, OBE is more Music Hall than polka.

Brave Combo’s spirited “Dyno” (“push”) version of the tune may have been Dylan’s inspiration.

Royalties from Bob’s Christmas in the Heart recording will be donated to charity in perpetuity.


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Grammys Pull Polka

June 13, 2009

Grammys Pull Polka

The doomed U.S. recording industry continues its dance of self-destruction. After 22 years, the Recording Academy (aka the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences or NARAS) has discontinued the Polka category of the Grammy® awards “to ensure the awards process remains representative of the current musical landscape.” Polka was the only Grammy® category eliminated.

The exclusion of this authentic and vigorous Roots Music has not gone unnoticed in America’s heartland:


Blob’s Is Back!

October 24, 2008

Clean off your leiderhosen and brush up on your Polka. Blob’s Park is reopening.

Blob’s Park’s Bavarian Biergarten, founded on German immigrant Max Blob’s Jessup, Maryland farm in 1933, closed on New Year’s Eve 2008. Max’s brother John had decided to develop an office and retail complex on the property.

The current real estate meltdown is a blessing in disguise for Polka fans. The re-development is now off, and Blob’s is being refubished. Saturday night dances are expected to resume at the end of the year. The hall may even feature other types of music on other nights.

The kitchen is being updated. Lest we forget, Blob’s featured 70 kinds of beer. Prost! Zum Wohl!

Oui On Peut! Zydeco for Obama 2008

October 22, 2008

Oui, on Peut! Zydeco for Obama 2008
Oui, on peut — Yes we can!  Obama Zydeco from Louisiana 2008
music video

Music by Dirk Powell

Filmed at the Whirlybird in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

Musicians: Dirk Powell, Christine Balfa, Jeffrey Broussard, Zydeco Joe Citizen, Corey “L’il Pop” Ledet, and Linzay Young

Hat tip: Nick Spitzer

Top Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Warning, Arlington Virginia!

August 14, 2008

Warning, Arlington Virginia!

They’re here, squeezing the very atmosphere you breathe!

The American Accordionists Association Festival
August 13-17, 2008
Arlington, VA USA

The horror . . . the horror . . . .


4th of July in Washington — It’s in the Air

July 3, 2008

4th of July in Washington -- It's in the Air

Washingtonians: Celebrate, rebel, protest, declare independence — listen to Red, White and Blues: The Sounds of Patriotic Pluralism on WAMU-FM 88.5 from 2 to 4 PM 6 PM today, Friday, July, 4 2008.

A special edition of American Routes, it’s not the same old Sousa. Hear guests from Merle Haggard to Joan Baez talk about patriotism and protest with host Nick Spitzer as well as blues and New Orleans jazz versions of classic freedom songs, plus American anthems from James Brown, the Staple Singers, the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Martin, and more.


Pick o’ Texas Free in DC

June 25, 2008

Pick \'o Texas Free in DC

If you live in the DC area, mosey on down to the National Mall and hear some fine Texas music at the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. For free. The cowpokes here at the NotionsCapital Ranch have a few quick-drawn notes:

Thursday, June 26
Texas Dancehall Stage 6:00 pm
Los Texmaniacs with Mingo Saldivar, Augie Meyers, and Fiddlin’ Frenchie Burke
This is an all-star aggregation of the San Antonio-Austin metroplex. Mingo Saldivar is the legendary “Dancing Cowboy,” singer-accordionist of Conjunto music. Frenchie Burke is the “Cajun Gentleman Fiddler.” Children of Texan refugees: ask Mom and Dad about Augie Myers in the Sir Douglas Quintet, the Texas Tornadoes, and Augie Meyers and his Western Head Band. You’ll be amazed.


Bend It Like Brooklyn?

September 20, 2007

The double-jointed bus 

Washington’s “CarFree DC Day” was Tuesday, while I was in New York City, so here is a car-free scouting report from the Big apple. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is run by NY State, not New York City, and operates the regional transportation network of subways, suburban commuter rail, urban and suburban buses, bridges and tunnels, and transportation construction. Repeat: MTA is a state agency, so metro-NYC-area transit is well-coordinated. It is as if the Metropolitan Washington Area Council of Governments (COG) actually ran stuff and did not just plan, advise, and advocate Best Practices to competing and conflicting systems and constituencies, giving good advice nobody takes.

 Most of the MTA buses I saw in Manhattan were “articulated,” weird-looking 60-foot-long vehicles with bendable accordion sections in the middle. These buses hold twice as many passengers and can negotiate the small, twisting 18th century cow paths that pass for streets at the foot of Manhattan Island.