DUTY FREE POLKAS was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Polka Album.
Duty Free Polkas, the third recording by John Gora and Gorale of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, is easily their best to date. Released in July, 1997, this 16-track CD by the Canadian troubadour and his band is a slick, high-quality product, both musically and visually. With Gora playing "lead" sax, this group offers slightly different instrumentation than many other polka bands, producing a rich, dynamic flavor. Rick Malkiewicz is solid on trumpet and fiddle, while Tommy Wanderlich offers some dynamic work on sax, concertina and clarinet; Johnny Winiarz is on drums, and Greggy Winiarz adds the bottom on bass. Mike Papuga on accordion rounds out this solid musical association.
Whether it's the traditional "Goral" polka, the catchy "Ta Dana" polka or the obviously Wanderlich-penned "Turn the Other Way" polka, this band performs each with skill and spirit. Polish vocals, English vocals, or instrumentals like the extraordinary "Saxarnet" polka, seem almost easy for Gorale. Complementing the music in this package is a fabulous multi-page booklet complete with band photos, lyrics and statistics. Other polka bands should take a lessons from this type of graphic insert and promotion. ~ Steve Litwin