As promised last week, I'm planning to take a tour around the country via song-poems, and that trip continues today! If I mentioned American cities and areas which come to mind when you think of Polkas, one would likely think of Chicago, Milwaukee, or all of Wisconsin, or perhaps the entire upper midwest.
However, one place not likely to come immediately to mind is the home of today's polka. See below:
Yes, Arizona. And yes, it's our friends Cara Stewart and Lee Hudson, along with the Polka-Cats (as well as an uncredited assist from Jeff Lawrence), with a delightful pair of polkas, perhaps the best song-poem record I've shared here in many weeks - or at least the equal of "I Liked the Old Year" from a month or so again.
Today's record comes to us via Lee Hudson's song-poem factory, but the tracks were leased out to the tiny Lectron label of Detriot, MI (another place I don't really associate with polkas). Lectron seems to have been the house label for the various song-poets named on this record - all three of them show up as the writers on another known Lectron record.
First, as mentioned, it's off to Arizona, for the Arizona Polka. This is a lovely little record, with a lilting melody, sweet violins, a bouncy rhythm, a neat instrumental break and thoroughly appropriate polka lyrics. There are even some nice backing vocals from the aformentioned Jeff Reynolds, including some well placed "yippees" and the like.
As much as I enjoy that record - and really, really do, I like the flip side, The Whirleybird Polka, quite a bit more. I adore this arrangement, and the detail put into it. As much as it resembles "The Arizona Polka", there are little touches here that put this one over the top, particularly Jeff and Cara in the backing vocals offering verbal encourgement here and there ("'Til You're Full of Pep"), and "yee-haws" in other places.
Perhaps it because the backing vocals remind me of the vocal comments offered up by Jeff Lawrence in between a few lines within the backing track of Doc Nut, one of my favorite song-poems ever. And of course, Cara Stewart is near incomparable among the vocalists of the song-poem world - this record features a typically sexy, upbeat, sweet and sly vocal. She's one of the mysteries of the song-poem world, and I sure wish I knew who and where she is/was.
All in all, an absolutely wonderful record!