Accordion Lessons via Skype

Study accordion via SkypeIf you would like to take an accordion lesson from Daddy Squeeze, but don’t get to Minnesota often, here’s the answer. You can get lessons lessons via Skype! A simple email or phone call to set up the time, and a PayPal deposit is all it takes. If you don’t have a Skype account, they are free, and easy to set up. Just go to http://www.skype.com to get started. It’s an easy, quick, and efficient way to learn the accordion!

Here’s a testimonial from one happy customer:

Dan, thanks for another fabulous lesson! It’s so cool to learn not only the songs and techniques, but the stories behind the music.  I think it really helps to understand where the music came from or why it’s played a certain way.  I’m really having fun with this and you’ve given me lots of great stuff to work on.

- Monte Schaffer

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2 Reviews of the Daddy Squeeze Solo CD

Here are two recent reviews of Dan’s latest CD “Daddy Squeeze Solo”

Sustaining a solo accordion record, even when also an accomplished blues singer, is not easy. But Dan Newton does a good job on “Daddy Squeeze Solo,” mixing traditional tunes with original numbers steeped in tradition, happily raiding the songbooks of everyone from David Bromberg to Spanky & Our Gang. The disc has a classic West Bank feel from the outset, with cool opener “Last Hot Day of the Summer” sounding like a rewrite of the Koerner, Ray & Glover favorite “Black Dog.” Newton celebrates the album’s release, ironically, with a show at a used record shop. (3 p.m. Sun., Hymie’s Vintage Records, 3820 E. Lake St., Mpls. Free.) Tom Surowicz, Minneapolis Satr Tribune 03/22/13

“Dan Newton is the king of variety on the accordion.  Finally he goes solo and we get to hear every nuance of his fingers on the buttons and keys. This guy  gives us some great foot-stomping tunes on his long overdue roots oriented project.”
-Mary Flower
2008 and 2012 Blues Music Award Nominee
2000 and 2002 Finalist at National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship
2011 Muddy Award Recipient from Cascade Blues Assn. for “Acoustic Guitar”

Cafe Christmas CD Review

Accordions for Christmas? Seriously? Put aside any prejudices you might have about the accordion, and lend your lucky ears to Cafe Christmas. This is an outstanding holiday release; even the accordion-phobic will stand up and cheer!

First things first. Although an accordion is definitely involved, the Cafe Accordion Orchestra is oh-so much more! The Cafe Accordion Orchestra (CAO) consists of five talented guys playing, yes, the accordion (Dan Newton), and a whole host of (largely) string instruments and percussion. Newton and Brian Barnes contribute the occasional vocal (on perhaps 1/3 of the tracks), and their singing is inspired and inspiring. The CAO’s self-described style is Bal-Musette, a style of French music particularly popular in the 1940s. Think of it as gypsy music, culturally rich and enthusiastically diverse. As a result, CAO’s Cafe Christmas exudes international pizzazz; the traditional holiday pieces are creatively reconfigured as waltzes, polkas, and cha-chas, to name a few. This may sound crazy, but the formula works exceedingly well.

The opening Christmas Waltz put me at a Paris sidewalk cafe along the Seine, all moonlight and stars, wine glass in hand, a huge smile on my mug. The “Paso Doble” Jingle Bells takes the traditional number to an entirely fresh dimension, with minor chord changes and castanets. Too cool! A Holly Jolly Christmas is a brilliant Burl Ives imitation in the “Greek Style.” The intensely beautiful instrumental Christmas Time Is Here reveals CAO’s softer side. And I could go on and on–every track is a gem!

Now I have lived in Minnesota since the mid-80s, and CAO is based in Minneapolis. As a result, some jaded readers might say that I have a chauvinistic bias towards these boys. Absolutely not! CAO’s eclectic Cafe Christmas is indisputably the real deal. Charged with exquisite creativity and world-wide flair, it’s my favorite CD so far this holiday reviewing season. Hip, Hip, HURRAY!

–Carol Swanson, 2008, christmasreviews.com

Hi-Top Sneakers – Dan Newton – Review

DAN “DADDY SQUEEZE” NEWTON
Hi-Top Sneakers
self-released DN0048 (2008)

It’s hard to imagine a bad time with Daddy Squeeze (a.k.a. Dan Newton) in the house. On his latest, the Minneapolis accordionist is joined by 14 of his closest pals, who play everything from guitars. fiddles, mandolins, and Dobros to string basses, harmonicas. tubas, and even a guiro. a hollow wooden rhythm instrument from Latin America. With such a rotating lineup. Newton tackles everything from a tribute to his favorite foot­wear (hi-top sneakers). caffein­ated odes to that morning-saving brew, old folks struts to how cheap suits can make one feel like S3.50 when only S3.00 was spent at the thrift store. The lyrics are usually clever, such as Put Your Snout to the Spout, which isn’t about drinking but keeping one’s spirit alive with passion.

While several songs feature tuba player Tom Wells, who completes the bouncy jugband/hokum flavor, Brand New Fiddle finds Gary Raynor bowing his upright bass to emulate the tuba’s rumbling sound. If you want a little sexy Latin dancing. Newton’s got infectious instrumentals for that, too: the cumbia-inspired Elizabeta and Cumborro, which combines the Columbian cumbia and Brazilian forro.

But everyone knows that those who swear by the sneakers are really rockers at heart. regardless of their music. Newton is no exception. transforming Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode into its plausible Minnesota counterpart. The Yohnnie B Goode Polka. replete with a fakey foreign accent. It’s hysterical. really, an accordion-tuba splattered bi-sonic tune that can’t decide if it’s a rock ‘n’ roller or a polka at heart. What’s not to like?

- Dan Willging (Denver. CO) Dirty Linen 2008

Ken Mahler – Accordion store is his main squeeze

Ken Mahler - Accordion Heaven

Ken Mahler has long known the ins and outs of the business; now, with an assist from an old friend, his store has an online revival.

Reprint from Minneapolis Star Tribune

As kids, Bruce Pastorius and Ken Mahler made an odd pair: Mahler, the quiet kid who dutifully practiced his accordion 45 minutes every day as his excitable friend from parochial school impatiently waited to go play in the streets of St. Paul’s West 7th Street neighborhood.

But the sound of that accordion kept a link between them as they went to different high schools and pursued disparate career paths. Now, it has turned the lifelong friends into co-workers. Read the rest of this entry »

Counterfeit CAO CD??

Counterfiet CAO CD

If anyone owns or knows about this CD, please contact Dan at daddysqueeze@yahoo.com or by calling 651-488-1174.

Click for more images …

Hot Links to Some Hot Music from Brazil!

Why a link to these Brazilian music sites? Because Brazil has been the home of some of the most dynamic and creative accordionists on earth for the past 30 years. They play a variety of styles and rhythms, and call it by many names…choro, frevo, samba, and my favorite, forro. This music is finally making it’s way into the American musical consciousness, and accordionists and accordion lovers should be very happy! As vital and earthy as Zydeco, and driving as Norteno, and as smooth and sexy as cumbia, the forro mixes elements of jazz, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian folk music to create an irresistible, highly danceable sound. To learn more, click on the links below…but don’t blame me if you wind up dancing!

Individual Artists Sites

Sivuca on the Web | Trio Nordestino | Dominguinhos

All Brazilian Music

On the left you will see a selection window morked “styles, genres and movements”. Click on the drop down arrow, and select “forro”. On the lower right of the forro page, you’ll see selected biographies and discographies. Pay special attention to Sivuca, Dominguinhos, and Gonzaga.
www.allbrazilianmusic.com

Caravan Music

You can also go here, and substitute Colombia for Brazil, and get some cool info on Cumbia and Villenato.
www.caravanmusic.com

All Music Guide

The all music guide is a great resource to look up artists of any genre. Here is what they say about Dominguinhos

A History of the Musette

All across the country bellows are squeezing out countless dance tunes from Cajun and Zydeco to Tex-Mex and Rock’n'Roll. With its return to favor, the accordion has turned people on to types of music they have never heard before. Perhaps the most obscure of these musical styles is the French “Musette.” It is largely overlooked, even among accordion players and enthusiasts. Most people don’t know about Musette, at least by name. Some think of it as a delicate but dusty collection of waltzes that has all but disappeared outside the soundtracks of moody, black and white art films. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  The Musette originated at the turn of the 20 th century in the blue-collar bars and dance halls of Paris. It was the music of the working class. Musette thrived through the 1940s and has lately experienced a revival at home as well as around the world. Today it remains a vital and living style that inspires dancers and lovers alike.

Simply stated, the Musette is a descendent of folkdance melodies from the Auvergne, in the south of France. In Paris it blended with German influence (the accordion), Italian classical and popular song, Tzigane or Manouche (Gypsy) scales and string instruments, and American Jazz and swing rhythms. These elements shape not only the waltzes, but also the tangos, paso dobles (2-steps), fox-trots, polkas, marches and swing numbers. All were essential in the repertoire of every Musette orchestra of the 20s through the 40s. If the term had been in use in the early half of the century, Musette would certainly have been known as “world-beat” music.

The word Musette comes from the Augvergnian instrument of choice which was the cabrette, or cornemusette, a type of bagpipe that had a clear, loud, reedy tone. When German and Italian accordionists first began arriving in Paris, where the Auvergnian immigrant community was settled, their squeeze-boxes were thought of as a threat to the beauty of this traditional music.  Report has it that some Augvergnian cafes, where the “bals-musette” or dance parties regularly occurred, posted notices prohibiting the playing of accordions. But by 1905 when Bouscatel, the king of cabrette players, had hired accordionist Charles Peguri as a regular part of his band, the new tradition had begun.

The early accordion-oriented Musette band often consisted of one or two accordions (chromatic button-boxes) with accompaniment of piano, violin and/or clarinet or saxophone, and banjo. The banjo was the contribution of the Manouche, or Gypsy people who lived on the outskirts of society, but worked in the heart of the city. This instrument of African origin was first used in the dance-halls by a Gypsy named Matteo Garcia, who accompanied the “Father of Musette”, accordionist Emile Vascher. As another example of this, the now famous guitarist Django Reinhardt first performed and recorded as a banjo accompanist to an accordioniste named Guerino.

In the 1920s recordings of American Jazz and Swing became increasingly available in Europe. Attracted to the rhythmic style, banjoists soon began trading their instruments for guitars. Thus, the Manouche became donors of three elements of the Musette: first the banjo, then the guitar, and also the odd, eastern sounding scales that give the swing-era musette its trademark exotic sound. Though Musette and Jazz were not originally thought to be an appropriate mix by dancers and club-owners, it turned out that many of the finest players in Paris had a different idea. They would gig one night in aswing ensemble, and the next night play for a bal-musette.  In time, the repertoires of Jazz and Musette bands began to cross over and by the 1940s it was common to hear the two styles intermixed throughout the course of an evening. With the barrier between the styles removed, the fan base expanded prompting the phrase, “Jazz and Java* should be friends”.

The Tango was already part of the Musette repertoire by the early 1930s. In fact, it was the French who brought this Argentine music to the attention of the world. Paris was the center of fashion and culture in the western world, and anything that was cool in Paris was cool everywhere else as well. One style of Tango that gained great popularity was the paso-doble, or two step. This dance seemed to be the specialty of Italian musicians in Paris, although paso dobles are recognizable for their distinctively Spanish sound.  So the groundwork was already in place for the introduction of other Latin styles that occurred after World War II.

The popularity of Latin-American performers like Xavier Cougat and Carmen Miranda was noticed by Musette orchestra leaders. By the 1950s the bolero, beguine and rhumba had become essential elements of their repertoire. French music began to sound almost more Latin than French. One example of this Latin French style is an LP recording titled “Very Frenchy” by Jo Courtin, on King International Records.

The 50s also brought Rock’n’Roll to France, and Musette orchestras tried hard to keep up with the times by “modernizing” their sound. In doing so, much of what originally gave the music its charm was obscured by added reverb, electronics, and other unfortunate attempts to update the sound. Many recordings from this period now sound very dated, or “schmaltzy” by today’s standards. The musicianship is good, the tunes are fine, but the production and arrangement sound more like Muzak rather than Musette.

As far as the delicate and dusty nature associated with Musette, one needs only to look at its cultural context to dispel this notion. The cafes where the bals-musette originated were frequented by scrap dealers, sailors, down-on-their-luck transients and immigrants, gypsies, factory workers and people who lived at the low end of Parisian society. People gathered at the cafes for much the same reason as they gather at local watering holes today, to talk, drink, and forget about their troubles. The exotic blend of sounds from around the world that made up the Musette were perfect for evoking images of far away places, or memories of home.

Foremost, the Musette was music for dancing. It was well-crafted and played, but was also loud and raucous. The combination of bagpipes, accordions, banjo, saxophone and piano evolved specifically for the purpose of volume. This was macho, lively music and dance, and the best recorded examples readily convey this feeling.    Many early photos of the musicians leave one with the impression that they also were sailors, thugs or hard laborers. They looked tough, cool, and as ready with a bottle, fist, or switchblade as with a waltz or two-step.

The Musette clubs were rough-and-tumble places where polite people did not venture. It is reported that fights broke out at the dances quite frequently. Men were routinely frisked for weapons at the door. Women were pardoned this embarrassment, and the slyer male patrons would sneak in their switchblades, blackjacks, and pistols under the garments of a lady accomplice. Men paid for dances with the women, and singled them out for a spin around the floor by whistling at them from across the room. The performers were protected from the rabble by climbing a ladder to a platform above the head-level of the crowd. But once they reached their perch, the ladder was removed, and bands often had to play all night without a break or any refreshment. This was not an idyllic situation for either performer or dancer. But once the Musette became so popular it could not be ignored, wealthy Parisian suburbanites started “dressing down” and “slumming” at the dance halls. Some club owners, eager to satisfy their wealthy patrons need to have a cultural experience, would douse the lights and have “hired thugs” fire pistols with blanks in the darkened room.

So where does one find this music today? Until recently, it has been difficult to find. But thanks largely to the efforts of a few devoted people in France, old recordings are being preserved and re-released and new ones are coming out regularly. A list of my personal favorites, and recordings I believe to be essential are available on this web site. On the Accordion World page, click on “Musette: An Essential Discography”, and enjoy some of the best accordion music you’ll ever hear!

*Java is the name of a particular type of waltz step and rhythm within the Musette genre that became extremely popular in the early 1930s.

My Favorite Accordion Links

Los Super Vatos
Check out this site from our friend Bubba Hernendez, the bassist for Brave Combo. He’s got a cool new project called “Los Supervatos”. If you like Brave Combo, you’ll like this, too!

Musette: the Music and the Dance
Here’s a link to a great, comprehensive web site, available in French or English. This site tells all about the musette, the music and the dance style, it’s past, and it’s present state of affairs. There are quotes from musicians, dancers, and club-goers from the turn of the century to the present. There are even listings of where one can go to see or learn the musette dances!

Minnesota Accordion Club
This is the home site of the biggest accordion group in Minnesota. You can download sheet music, join the chat group, and learn about upcoming accordion events in the Twin Cities. There’s also a whole bunch more links to web sites featuring accordion bands, history, repair, almost anything you need to know about accordions in Minnesota! The MAC also has performers every weekend at Kramarczuk’s Eastern European Deli, on E. Hennepin Ave and 2nd St, Minneapolis.

Accordion Heaven
The website of Mahler Music Co., located in St. Paul, Mn. Providing complete on-line service for sales, repair, midi, sheet music and recordings. Features the exclusive “Planet Squeezebox” accordion line. Fine, professional quality, custom-made Italian accordions, outfitted with midi.

Accordion Links
A reference point for finding recordings,artists, sheet music, repair/manufacture, anything the accordionist or accordion fan could want. Very European, with option of reading the site in French and Dutch.

The Baguette Quartet
The website of the band from California of the same name. They play true 1920′s style French musette and caberet music. Great source for information about French accordion music.

Café Accordion Orchestra
Website of Daddy Squeeze’s favorite band. Booking, performance calendar, audio samples, mail orders, and silly photos of the band in (and out of) action.

Castle Accordion
The official web site of the only accordion store in Minneapolis. Located in a refurbished White Castle hamburger joint, they offer the Twin Cities widest variety of new accordions, and fine hand-crafted jewelry.

It’s Polka Time
As the name implies, a site for the polkaholic and old-time fan. Run by Minnesota polka DJ Craig Ebel, it’s got a great listing of polka-oriented broadcasts, dance venues, music stores and web-sites.

Jim Dryden
Jim is the favorite artist/illustrator here at Daddy Squeeze Music. Jim has created covers for “Cafe Accordion”, “Dancing on the Moon”,”On Holiday”, and the new cd, “La Vie Musette”. Visit Jim’s colorful site and see some other examples of his terrific work.

Rootsworld
An on-line accordion festival with album reviews, artist itineraries and interviews. This site splits the globe into accordion regions, with lots of info about African, Asian, and other hard-to-find accordion styles.

Prairiedog Music
The site of Daddy Squeeze’s partner and favorite finger-pickin’ bluesman, John Walker.

Cajun and Zydeco Resources in the Upper Midwest
The Louisiana Upriver homepage with information on upperMidwest dances, concerts, radio shows, events and general happenings involving Cajun, Creole, Zydeco, and other Louisiana music.

Noiseland Industries
Andrew Volna runs the most efficient, helpful, professional and reasonably priced CD manufacturing business I could find. They are genuinely interested in making sure your project looks and sounds its very best.

Other Links

Jazz Concertina

Café Accordion Sheet Music!

Mel Bay presents Cafe Accordion…

Mel BayAll the tunes on Dan’s solo cd,”Café Accordion” are now available in printed form. You can own them by buying “Mel Bay Presents Cafe Accordion”! These books include a copy of the cd, printed music with chords,and notes on performing from the composer!

In the Twin Cities you can find the books at Castle Accordions in Minneapolis, Mahler Music in St.Paul, and Homestead Pickin’ Parlour in Richfield. You can also order the book at www.melbay.com.