Today, we wrap up our look at the “Best Polka Album” nominees with another Chicago polka legend, Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones. We profiled the Blazonczyks last month, discussing the challenges that Eddie Jr. has faced since taking the reigns from his father.
Despite those challenges, the Versatones have remained one polka’s top bands. Formed in 1963 by Eddie Sr., the six-piece Versatones helped modernize polka by incorporating rock, country/western, Cajun, and Tex-Mex influences. Now with “Junior” handling the vocals and playing concertina, the band continues to promote polka through a rigorous schedule of touring and recording.
Batteries Not Included is the 18th Grammy-nominated album for Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones; they won once, back in 1987, but shared that award with (guess who?) Jimmy Sturr. If you enjoy uptempo, Chicago-style polka, this album won’t disappoint. Even traditional waltzes like “Chlopak” and “In the Oak Grove” are played at a pretty fast clip. And goofy numbers like “The Wife You Save” and “My Misery” show off Blazonczyk’s sense of humor.