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Ghost Canyon

Title - Songs of the Polka King – The Ultimate Collection
Artist - Frank Yankovic & Friends

In the annals of home-grown American ethnic music, Frank Yankovic (1915 – 1998) stands alone, above all others, in terms having an eight-decade career marked by transcendent success.

He was beloved within the Slovenian community in which he was rooted and with the general record buying public who embraced his string of “cross-over” hits, acknowledgement of his role as “America’s Polka King” and was, in fact, the very first artist to win a GRAMMY® in the Polka category.

He recorded an estimated 200 + albums and capped off his reign with the release of Songs of the Polka King in 1995 and, finally, Songs of the Polka King, Vol. 2, issued just before his passing.

Now these two historic Grammy-nominated albums have been digitally remastered and combined by Cleveland International Records appropriately titled Songs of the Polka King – The Ultimate Collection on CD and as a 2 LP set, available on vinyl for the very first time (set for release on November 12th, 2021).

1. Introduction – with Cowboy Jack Clement
2. Just Because – with Little Joe Hernandez
3. Who Stole the Kishka – with Weird Al Yankovic
4. Hoop-Dee-Doo – with Riders In The Sky
5. Blue Skirt Waltz - with Chet Atkins and Margaret Bailey
6. Too Fat Polka – with Drew Carey
7. Cleveland the Polka Town – with Polka All Stars
8. The Beer Barrel Polka – with Chas and Dave
9. In Heaven There is No Beer – with Eddie Blazonczyk
10. The Bar Room Polka – with Cowboy Jack Clement
11. Zivili Brace, Zivili Sestra - with Johnny Krizancic
12. For Old Times Sake with Joey Miskulin
13. The Night Frank Yankovic Came to Town with David Allan Coe and Roger Martin
14. The Pennsylvania Polka with Gary Chapman
15. Hey Little Sweetheart – with Lenny Gomulka
16. My Melody of Love - with Big Chuck & Lil’ John/Eddie Blazonczyk
17. Milwaukee Polka – with Cowboy Jack Clement
18. That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine – with Don Everly
19. I Wanna Call You Sweetheart – with Lisa Silver and Joey Miskulin
20. Baby Doll Polka – with Lynn Marie Rink
21. Play, Play Your Accordion with a Tribute to Frank Yankovic narrated by Tony Petkovsek
22. The Yankovic Medley – with Zeke and Charlie and the Gang
23. Who Stole the Kishka - with Kinky Friedman

The album opens on a musical introduction from Cowboy Jack Clement before sliding seamlessly into the upbeat Just Because (with Little Joe Hernandez), the joyously clap-happy Who Stole the Kishka (with the great Weird Al Yankovic), the twirling swirls of Hoop-Dee-Doo (with Riders In The Sky), and then we get the engaging trio of the lush Blue Skirt Waltz (with Chet Atkins and Margaret Bailey), a track that ... goes out to all the sexy people in the house, Too Fat Polka (with comedian Drew Carey), and then the sturdy Cleveland the Polka Town with the Polka All Stars.

Up next is the foot-tapping The Beer Barrel Polka (with Britain’s Chas and Dave) and the informative In Heaven There is No Beer (with Eddie Blazonczyk) and they are in turn backed by the upbeat The Bar Room Polka (with Cowboy Jack Clement), the free flowing melodies of Zivili Brace, Zivili Sestra (with Johnny Krizancic ), the old-time feel of For Old Times Sake (with Joey Miskulin), the polka-rocker The Night Frank Yankovic Came to Town (with David Allan Coe and Roger Martin), and then the rousing trio of The Pennsylvania Polka (with Gary Chapman), the lively hipsway of Hey Little Sweetheart (with Lenny Gomulka ) and then the chatty My Melody of Love with Big Chuck & Lil’ John/Eddie Blazonczyk.

Continuing onward at a fair melodic lick, along next is the organ-imbued Milwaukee Polka (with Cowboy Jack Clement) and the balladry of That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine (with the late, great Don Everly), and they are in turn backed by the vivacious I Wanna Call You Sweetheart (with Lisa Silver and Joey Miskulin), the joyous Baby Doll Polka (with Lynn Marie Rink), the album rounding out with the narrated Play, Play Your Accordion (with a Tribute to Frank Yankovic narrated by Tony Petkovsek), the full on Polka genius of The Yankovic Medley (with Zeke and Charlie and the Gang), coming to a merry close on a 2021 version of Who Stole the Kishka with Kinky Friedman.

Steve Popovich, Cleveland International’s late founder, had a vision for Frank Yankovic who was an enduring presence not only in Cleveland where there’s a Frankie Yankovic Square -- at the intersection of East 152nd St. and Waterloo - but throughout the nation and the world where polka traditions abide.

Popovich assigned Riders In The Sky’s Joey Miskulin to co-produce the albums and the logic of that decision was implicit insofar as Miskulin, as a child accordion prodigy, had been mentored by Yankovic who took him on the road at the age of 13.

The recording sessions for both albums attracted numerous nationally recognized polka and country luminaries who joined Yankovic. His recording partners included, among many others, Cowboy Jack Clement, Little Joe Hernandez, Riders In The Sky, David Allan Coe, Don Everly, Kinky Friedman as well as Eddie Blazonczyk and Lenny Gomulka.

Even now, as polka in America has evolved into many different regional, ethnic, and generational variants, it is Yankovic who remains the undisputed champion who united music fans with his brilliant musicianship, unbridled enthusiasm and a sense of joy that’s palpable.

Weird Al Yankovic (no relation) even remarked just a few days before he recorded with Frank, “People talk a lot about alternative music, but polka’s the only alternative out there right now, so polka players are the hippest of hip.”

Frank Yankovic - - Who Stole the Kishka (feat. Kinky Friedman) - Song Purchase Links

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