When Brave Combo formed in 1979, we were going to be together just long enough to record our own polka record. It was to be four artists making a musical statement. I had become extremely fascinated with all different kinds of polka music (Mexican, European, Eastern European, American-Polish etc.) and as far as I was concerned, polka was alternative listening. I would dig through bargain bins for ethnic cut-outs and the music would usually be full of passion and integrity. But, it was a form almost totally ignored in the pop music world. So, I recruited a drummer, a horn player and a bassist, and in a friend’s primitive home studio we recorded a seven-song, double EP called Polkamania.
We pressed 500 copies and planned to stay together long enough to make our money back. But we started getting gigs and slowly became popular enough to consider releasing a follow-up LP, Music For Squares. This brought us national attention and the future of Brave Combo seemed more secure and tangible. But Polkamania was not re-pressed until now.
Although we started as a polka band, our repertoire and musical interests eventually grew to include all kinds of music, and our original material became more prominent. In 1982 we released, on cassette only, a collection of original compositions, which included songs that represented our rock and jazz side as well as ethnically influenced songs. Once again, however, we produced about 500 copies, sold them all and moved on to other recording projects. Incidently, we called the cassette Brave Combo: Originals. Clever?
So the tracks you will hear on this collection are primarily historical and show where the band was musically in the beginning. Of course, the recording quality is uneven and technically the band has matured over the years, but if you’re a fan of Brave Combo and interested in our roots, you will find some treasures here. One of my favorite covers, in fact, is our polka version of Olivia Newton-John’s hit “Let’s Get Physical.” We really had fun when we play music and I think that’s one element that shines through in this collection.
1. La Francesita (previously unreleased) MEXICAN POLKA (Public Domain)
2. Let’s Get Physical (previously unreleased) POLKA (Steve Kipner/Terry Shaddick)
3. Too Fat Polka (previously unreleased) POLKA (Arthur Richardson)
4. Trollslanden (Polkamania) WALTZ (Andrew Walter)
5. Los Naranjales (Polkamania) MEXICAN POLKA (Flaco Jimenez)
6. Echo Polka (Polkamania) AMERICAN-POLISH POLKA (Walt Dana)
7. Zorro Polka (Polkamania) AMERICAN-POLISH POLKA (Al Czelusniak)
8. Adios Muchachos (previously unreleased) TANGO (Julio Sanders)
9. Hot Huapango (Originals) HUAPANGO (Tim Walsh)
10. Bored Housewife (Originals) WALTZ (Carl Finch)
11. Escape From Radioland (Originals) ROCK (Carl Finch)
12. You’re Going On (Originals) POLKA (Carl Finch)
13. I Just Wanna (Originals) POLKA (Carl Finch)
14. Pizza Polka (Originals) POLKA (Carl Finch)
15. Hold Me Tight (Originals) POLKA (Carl Finch)
16. Clever Boy (Originals) ROCK (Carl Finch)
17. The Time is Right (Originals) ROCK (Carl Finch)
18. Shopping At The K-Mart (Originals) ROCK (Carl Finch)
19. Herrgard’s Polka (Polkamania) POLKA (Andrew Walter)
The Players: Carl, Tim, Lyle, and Dave. Mitch on La Francesita.
All Carl Finch compositions are published by No Class Music/BMI.
All of the Polkamania tracks were recorded in 1979 in Bruce Ballentine’s home studio in Denton, TX by Bruce Ballentine. All other recordings were made at Inside Track Studio in Denton, TX and engineered by David Rosenblad and Jay Miller.
Photos by Bob Lukeman.
Designed by Hironori & Takako Takahashi.
Art Direction: Masanori Akashi.