Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

American Polka [Trikont, 2002]
The first decent polka comp I've ever heard was masterminded by a record-collecting German American statistics prof who moonlights as the leader of Chicago's Polkaholics and can't resist boosting fellow hobbyists' novelties and burlesques. While these are often delicious--my personal jelly doughnut is the Happy Schnapps Combo's "You Can't Teach the Japanese to Polka"--they swamp the quaint delicacy and straightforward fun of the scant older selections, as I learned when (with much guesswork and difficulty) I programmed a chronological version from this vaguely annotated 25-track hodgepodge. Still, as someone who'd always found that polka was happy in theory and corny in practice, I'm ready for a more scholarly job--on Putumayo/Smithsonian, produced by Charles Keil, and please, not a box. B+