50-Year Journey Still Going Strong

FRITZ HODDE & FABULOUS 6

The golden sound of those twin saxophones, the peppy beats, and the perfect combination of Tex-Czech polkas and waltzes. These are just a few of the many things to love about Fritz Hodde and The Fabulous Six’s latest CD, 50-Year Journey, celebrating the band's 50th anniversary in the world of polka music.

This CD reminds me of a music buffet because it has a little bit of everything - hot polkas, smooth flowing waltzes, and classic country tunes. I found it truly amazing how the band members were able to display their polka energy right away on the first track of this CD. Who’s Gonna Love You Polka is so full of that hot polka energy, it practically is oozing out of the speakers of the CD player. I really enjoyed Fritz's accordion solos on this track also. Mr. Hodde makes the instrument produce a beautiful sound while playing the notes of each song more smoothly than satin sheets.

A really pretty waltz song on this CD is Marie's Waltz. Scott and Brandon Hodde (Fritz's son and grandson) sing the Czech vocals in harmony like two mockingbirds. Then, when those twin saxophones came in at the end of the tune, my ears were in Czech heaven.

I thought it was nice how Fritz still plays his accordion on Send Me The Pillow You Dream On. Even though this is a country song, that didn't stop Fritz from adding a slow polka flare to the tune by squeezing away on his squeezebox.

I really loved the key change at the end of Wheelbarrow Polka. This caused even more of that hot polka energy to be infused into the song. I also noticed that Scott and Brandon began playing their saxophones very rapidly at the end of this song while still playing the notes correctly. Any musician able to do that, gets a T for talent in my book.

Another great country song on this CD is How I Got To Memphis. The electric guitar and Texas twang of Scott's and Brandon's singing give the tune that perfect old-time country feeling. On Deer Waltz, I enjoyed how Scott said: "Ah, waltz it around," at the beginning of the song. This shows that the guys are so used to communicating with polka dancers that they even decided to address them to "waltz it around" while listening to this recording at home.

The band closed out this CD with the song, I Told A Lie To My Heart. The guys dedicated this song to the late George Strmiska (a musician from the Vrazels Polka Band). It is such a wonderful thing that the Fab 6 made sure to pay tribute to a Czech musician who influenced and inspired them. I feel this CD is a living example of marvelous Tex-Czech music. If you do not own this CD, your ears are missing out on a lot of listening pleasure. However, do not fret, this recording is available for purchase in the Polka On! store at polkabeat.com.

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