CD ReviewsDANCE WITH ME
For a country or gospel fan of the Oak Ridge Boys, this release may really confuse you. These performances are the Oaks stepping out of their comfort zone a bit and doing something very different. The guys sound great vocally, of course. But the music is something that fans may have a hard time swallowing.
The songs on which the Oak Ridge Boys sing are not country in any way, shape or form. Make NO mistake about it....this is not a country CD at all from beginning to end. The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra does not turn country to accommodate the Oaks. Rather, the Oaks sing polka, waltz and big band to accommodate the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra.
The first song on the CD features the vocal ingenuity of the Oak Ridge Boys. The song is called "Make Mine Polka", and it is as polka as polka can be. The Boys sound like they're having a very good time with this.
The next two songs the Oaks perform on are waltzes entitled "May All Your Dreams Come True" and "Ordinary Girl". On the first one Duane Allen sings lead a great as he would on any slow country song. The second song is also handled by Duane and it's a very up tempo waltz. The downfall of this song is the corny lyrics.
Next, Duane once again handles lead on another polka number entitled "Loretta". I guess if one were a polka fan, one would enjoy this. However, short of listening to the Oaks sing, the music is not this reviewers cup of tea.
Finally, the last song on this disc is handled by the Oaks corporately and is called "Wasn't That A Party". This is a big band, swing type of number. The lyrical content of this song was quite a departure for the Oaks. This song deals with a party that got way out of hand due to very excessive drinking. It talks about being in such an alcoholic haze that you think your pet is talking to you, chopping down neighbor's trees, and subsequently being happy about going to jail so as to recover from that party. Strange to hear the Boys singing this tune.
The main thing to remember here is that this is NOT an Oak Ridge Boys recording, so don't expect to hear what you would normally expect to hear from the Boys. If you can listen with an open mind and remember that the Oaks are guests on another artists record, then maybe you can appreciate these songs for what they are.
Outstanding Cuts: can't fairly say...not my cup of tea
Cut Outs: can't fairly say...not my cup of tea
On his 100th album, Jimmy Sturr, the polka man on a mission, succeeds in honoring the basic traditions of polka music while broadening its appeal. The songs and influences vary, but the underlying spirit and strength of the music remains. This time out, guests include the Oak Ridge Boys (polished and professional as usual), Flaco Jimenez, the Jordannaires, and the Rocco Sisters.
The recording starts out strong with two big band sounding polka tunes, "Make Mine Polka" and "My Polka Dot." Four of the remaining cuts are instrumentals, and all are played with an effervescent spirit and solid musicianship. Of particular note is "E String Polka," which begins with fast-paced country fiddle before transitioning into more traditional polka instrumentation. Another cut which combines two styles is "Borracho #1," bridging the gap between the Jimmy Sturr style and the Tex-Mex style of polka (featuring an excellent accordion solo by Flaco Jimenez).
The only two cuts which seem sub-par are "May All Your Dreams Come True" and the good time staple "Wasn't That a Party." The former is a waltz that goes a little too far into schmaltz territory (though sentimentalists may love it) and the latter suffers from too generic an arrangement. But, overall, this is a very good recording and should be enjoyed by those who enjoy first-rate dance music and can leap beyond the stereotype of polka music being only for the gray-haired generation.