Brian Marshall and his Tex-Slavic Playboys | Texas Lowlands

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Folk: Traditional Folk World: Polka Moods: Mood: Party Music
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Texas Lowlands

by Brian Marshall and his Tex-Slavic Playboys

Traditional Polkas, songs and obereks as played by a modern Texas-Polish dance band.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Grasshopper Polka
2:52 $0.99
2. Flat Lake Special
2:52 $0.99
3. Where is My Grey Horse? (Gdzie ty moja Siwi Konie)
2:14 $0.99
4. Ike's Polka (Co wy tutej Robita)
2:23 $0.99
5. Wiesniak (Village) Oberek
2:01 $0.99
6. Blue Skirt Waltz
2:37 $0.99
7. Cendalski Special
3:00 $0.99
8. Texas Polish Wedding March Medley
3:34 $0.99
9. White Chimney (Bialy Komin)
2:32 $0.99
10. No Reason to Go Home (Do domu nie mam poco isc)
3:24 $0.99
11. Hyman Special
2:13 $0.99
12. Pije Kuba (Drunk Jake) Polka
2:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Check out this great new CD of Texas Polish Polka music by Houston based fiddler Brian Marshall.

Several small towns in Texas -- New Waverly, Chappel Hill and Bremond, to name a few -- were settled by Poles that immigrated to the Lone Star State in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As a result, these communities have fostered a style of music that connects them over time and space to the villages of Poland. This down-home style utilizes the instruments that were readily available on the rural American landscape at the time -- violin, bass, guitar and accordion – but has largely avoided the brass sound that became popular among American Poles in more northern urban areas. To this day, the western swing-tinged polkas and obereks performed by Texas Poles still can be heard at weddings, family reunions and other community events.

A fourth generation musician of Polish ancestry, Brian Marshall (nee Marszalek) started playing music at the age of 7 and he likely learned his first Polish tune at 8. Brian’s grandfather was a fiddler, from Bremond, Texas – the single largest Polish settlement in the state until the Second World War—and from him Brian learned a true affection for the old music. As a teenager, Brian played in a country band that would flip to its Polish set list for the right community events. By his late 20s Brian realized an entire generation of Texas Polish musicians were disappearing and their repertoires with them. In response, he started recording himself and many of the older players to ensure that the music was not lost. His passion for this effort has resulted in two acclaimed and currently available recording projects, the self-produced "Polish Roots" and "Texas Kapela", on Arhoolie Records.

Song List:

1.Grasshopper Polka
A polka with German origins but very popular amongst Texas Poles

2. Flat Lake Special
A popular waltz from Bremond, from the repertoire of fiddler Steve Okonski.

3. Hyman Special
An oberek learned from fiddler William Hyman (Hajman) of New Wavery, TX. Collected on a road trip with my friend Frank Motley. With the complete absence of minor key tunes in Texas, we were astonished to hear William play this tune with a minor section. Or at the age of 83 was he just playing flat? Your guess is as good as ours.

4.Cendalski Special
The great Daniel Cendalski played this one for me on his front porch in Brenham, TX.

5.Drunk Jake
A Polish drinking song sung by both Chappel Hill and Bremond Poles.

6. White Chimney
This is Bremond’s “Bride Dance” song performed at weddings.

7. Blue Skirt Waltz
A beautiful and well loved Czech waltz. Probably still the most requested waltz at dances in Texas.

8. Where is my Gray Horse
These lyrics were sung to me by Ike Modzrejewski a couple of months prior to his death. A favorite “foot stomper” in Chappel Hill and Brenham TX.

9. No Reason to Go Home
A very popular Bremond Waltz taught to me by Joe Bartula. He actually had the words written down as sung by his mother Aniela Bartula.

10. Wedding Marches
As DJ’s become increasingly popular I thought it time to put the Marches on CD so that Texas Poles would have appropriate music for the “Grand March” as opposed to some hokey northern Polka version of “Roll out the Barrel” that the DJ picked up at Wal Mart.

11. Ike’s polka
Ike Modzrejewski loved to sing this one!

12. Village Oberek
Fiddler Joe Kujawa recorded this tune some years ago as he remembered it being played by Steve Okonski. I recently dug up some old recordings of Steve from the late 40’s that had the complete version and I like it. A LOT!



to write a review

Jo Nell Hablinski Lamascus

Thanks for the Memories! Texas Lowlands
Thanks Brian and the Playboys for great Polish music that brings back so many memories. My memories of attending Polish Weddings when I was younger in Bremond and Houston all came back. Growing up and going to dances at the Old Polish Home in Houston and of my Wedding in 1968 when my cousin Steve Okonski and my Uncle Carol Bashinski played at our wedding. Such great memories that all came back listening to your music. Just a great group of musicians and a wonderful CD to own and pass down to other generations. I'm waiting for Texas Kepela to come back in stock so that I can purchase it.
Thanks for the memories!
Jo Nell Hablinski Lamascus
Schulenburg, Texs

Steve Litwin, Polish American Journal

Thanks for preserving our cultural heritage
Brian and Marshall and his Tex-Slavic Playboys, on their "Texas
Lowlands" CD, continue the preservation of Polish traditional
music, with a seasoning of Texas dance blended in, giving it just the right
flavor to make it warm your heart and make you remember
every family gathering at your Babcia's house.
In the liner notes Marshall writes, "...I would hear the old folks sing
their Polish tunes that I suspected would go with them to
their graves." "I thought it would be a good idea to put these tunes into a
recorded format for future generations..."
Those of us with Polish and Slavic heritage in our backgrounds can be
thankful to Marshall for carrying out his thoughts. Texas
Lowlands is a 12 track collection that surfaces memories of a time when my
Uncle took out his fiddle, someone was on the "house"
accordion, another kept beat on a padded chair and the entire "Friday night
Family at Litwin's" sang and danced the night away.
"Grasshopper" polka is a excellent lead track, while "Where is My Gray
Horse" will have you stamping your foot to the music. The
intro of "Ike's" polka could have been done by my Uncle and the "Wedding
Marches" relive every Polish wedding of my youth on the
Avenues of North Tonawanda, NY. "White Chimney," "No Reason to Go Home,"
and a rousing rendition of "Drunk Jake" (Pije Kuba) are
just more examples of what is right about this recording.
Warm and filled with spirit and great Polish vocals, Texas Lowlands is
rich with the fiddle of Marshall and solid basic drum work
by Chuck Bolin. Mark Rubin provides the great bowed bass while David Slovak
is crisp on accordion. Mike Stinnett on sax/clarinet and
Dennis Bielamowicz on guitar round out the crew for this project.
How can we thank Brian Marshall for his efforts? Buy this CD today. If
you love Polish music, played by real people, in a style
that is today yet connected to an ageless time of our heritage, Texas
Lowlands belongs in your music library.
It's on Marszalek Recordings, 19255 Mueschke Road, Tomball, TX 77377 or

Steve Litwin
Associate Editor/Polka Music Editor
Polish American Journal
Buffalo, NY