From an email dated 1-7-2005. Used by permission.
I was interested in your comments about how Klezmer music was reinvigorated in the 70's while polka music was not. Have you noticed the name of Eddie Goldberg on so many of Sturr's recordings and very many other recordings . . . going way back? You may not get to see many old albums? Eddie plays the piano and appeared all over and recorded with Sturr ( when the band was a polka band), Bobby Stavins and countless other bands. Eddie is now doing Klezmer music. I have seen him twice recently (in NJ) and enjoy Klezmer (thanks to that Yitzhak Pearlman album) very much -- although I am not Jewish. I think of Michener's book Poland. He wrote about Jewish bands playing music for the Polish people at weddings, etc., long before WW2. Although you say Eastern Style (the best) was a turning away from the country style Polish music, I wonder if there is some connection between the Jewish bands performing for Poles in the old country and then the Eastern Style Polka Bands recalling the Klezmer style and mixing it with the polka. In fact Eddie Goldberg includes the Blondie Polka, by Walter Solek, in his performances and says it is a "Klezmer- friendly polka." Many artists such as Bernie Witkowski included some sultry songs in their appearances and usually us dancers went wild. No one questioned where the melodies came from but maybe they were "borrowed" from Klezmer.
[Note from Nos: I had wondered about the same thing. But as far as I can tell from Victor Greene's book, klezmer musicians were more likely to cross-pollinate with Russian, Rumanian, Gypsy or Ukrainian musicians than with the ethnic groups most associated with polka music.]
[Note that David Borgo's fascinating article about ethnic music refers to klezmorim playing polkas. Also, I see that Abe Schwartz, under the name "Orkiestra Wiejska," recorded Polish songs.]