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CD Review: Good Music Polka Band

It's A Polka Party!
Double CD

Accordion: Angelo Di Pippo
Clarinet & Sax: Al Regni & John Spicola
Drums: Ron Zito
Bass: Davind Finck
Trumpets: Glen Drewes & Mike Caruba
Piano: Jack Menna


CD No. 1:

Polk Medley: Beer Barrel Polka / Too Fat Polka / Just Because / There's a Tavern in the Town
Polka Medley: Oh Johnny / Tick Tock Polka
Polka Medley: Zosia/ Russian Two Step / W Poniedzialek Rano
Polka Medley: Helena Polka / You Are My Sunshine
Waltz Medley: And the Band Played On / Let Me Call You Sweetheart / After the Ball / My Buddy
Polka Medley: Barbara Polka / Baby Face
Polka Medley: Liechtensteiner Polka / Red Wing
Polka: Clarinet Polka
Waltz Medley: Crusing Down the River / You Can't Be True Dear / O Marie
Polka Medley: Pennsylvania Polka / Wait 'til the Sun Shines Nellie
Polka Medley: Korobuchka / Meadowlands / Bublichki / Domino / Ko Ha Nechka

Total Time: 43: 21
Released in 1995

CD No. 2:

Polka Medley: My Melody Of Love / Smiles
Dance Medley: Chicken Dance / Heartaches
Waltz Medley: The Sidewalks of New York / You Tell Me Your Dream / Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland
Polka Medley: Listen to the Mockingbird / Papa, Won't You Dance With Me / Hop Scotch Polka
Oberek Medley: Oberek / Maria Oberek
Polka Medley: Wooden Heart / Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Polka Medley: Hupia Shupia / Row Row Row / Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
Polka Medley: Paloma Blanca / I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover / Boo Hoo / Hoop-de-doo
Polka Medley: The Caisson Song / Anchors Aweigh / The Marines Hymn
Waltz Medley: Three O'Clock in the Morning / If You Were the Only Girl in the World / I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now

Total Time: 39: 59

Label: Good Music Record Co.

Order through:
Petosa Accordions
313 NE 45th Street
Seattle, WA 98105
phone: 206-632-2700

Review by Henry Doktorski:

Angelo Di Pippo is a free-lance arranger. He makes his living arranging for many artists and also conducting shows. He has been conductor/arranger for Robert Merrill for twenty-one years.

He is also an accordionist. His CDs, "Arthur Street" and "Accordion de Paris," are well-known and the former received a favorable review in "Keyboard Magazine."

In "It's A Polka Party!" Di Pippo show his skill as both arranger and accordionist. The opening is clever; the first ten seconds of track one contain no music -- only the sounds of an audience waiting for the band to begin: crowd talking noises, a smattering of applause and the wild laughter of a woman who is obviously enjoying herself!

Although the audience noises and applause-- which continue throughout the album between tracks -- are canned, the effect is never-the-less tasteful and effective. It simulates the sounds one might hear at a live polka party. (Although I must confess that I did get a little tired of hearing that same woman's raucous laughter later on in the album: she obviously had too much to drink and was standing too close to the microphone!)

I have nothing but praise for Di Pippo's arrangements; all the tracks are a joy to listen to (and dance to too!). All the musicians perform with enthusiasm, precision and style. The arrangements are interesting and my ears never got tired of listening during the entire 83 minutes of the two CDs.

Di Pippo begins with a bang; accordion soloing and bellow shaking in the first track. I wondered how he could possibly continue to maintain such a high level of intensity throughout the rest of the album, but I was not disappointed. I was surprised and delighted by his inventiveness.

The orchestra writing is excellent and all the instruments are featured at different times. Even the humble cowbell has a great solo in the transition between "Oh Johnny" and "Tick Tock Polka." In addition, the hand clapping in "Russian Two Step" (which I learned under the title "Who Stole the Kishka") is terrific.

There is something for nearly everyone in this album: waltzes, obereks, polkas and even the "Chicken Dance," although I would have preferred if the band speeded up more on the choruses. My only complaint is that there is not enough information in the CD booklet about the album. Such a great recording, but I had to write to Di Pippo himself to find out who the musicians were.

By the way, Di Pippo replied to me, "There is no synthetic music on this album. [No digital samplers or MIDI instruments -- all the sounds are by real live musicians playing real instruments.] I borrowed a Petosa accordion for this album. It was the best accordion I've ever played."

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