Wednesday, July 26, 2006

They're the Happy Schnapps Combo of Jamaica

My friend Eileen lent me a funny CD yesterday. It's a collection of tunes by The Happy Schnapps Combo, the most famous polka band from Eileen's hometown, Manitowoc, Wis. "We're on a Beer Run," "Dis Ain't My Toilet" and "The Bears Still Suck" (they "really really really really really suck," according to the Happy Schnapps) are songs that place the combo clearly at the forefront of Beery, Eastern Wisconsin Polka-Party Bands.
Standing at the forefront of a slightly more crowded field, The Paragons represent the pinnacle of early 1960s pop music from Jamaica and provided the soundtrack to my life yesterday.
Lead vocalist John Holt later went on to solo stardom, but I don't think he ever bettered such Paragon efforts as "Wear You to the Ball," "On the Beach" or "Talking Love."
Every Paragons song I have ever heard sounds like a classic.
I even got two calls at work yesterday from 11-year-old Kerstin.
She wanted help finding the Paragons' masterpiece "The Tide is High" on our iTunes library. Kerstin first heard Blondie's cover of the song, sung from Debbie Harry's female perspective, but the Paragon original became her favorite. That's the greatness of the Paragons.


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