Chicago Accordion Club – Sept 08

Sept 15th, 2008

Chicago Accordion ClubFrom the land of sky blue waters came an accordionist refreshing to the Chicago Accordion Club. As summer turned to fall, he portaged a finely bejeweled Planet Squeezebox instrument into the hall and instantly gained the close attention of the crowd. Dan Newton had come without his well known Cafe Accordion Orchestra, but he was ready to cast a solo autumnal spell.

Throughout his performance Dan delivered an entertaining and instructional monologue in introduction to his songs. He cared to begin with “Indifference” from the French cafe musette scene of the 1930′s. He then explained that Duke Ellington incorporated the accordion into such jazz compositions as “Accordion Joe,” before singing and playing the swinging number.

Daddy Squeeze at the Chicago Accordion ClubDan related his journey from Lincoln, Nebraska to St. Paul, Minnesota and the founding of the Cafe Accordion Orchestra. He continued to sing “Downtown Strut” in a Memphis jug hand style in which the “old folks started it, the young folks got it.” What else could he finely grind out next but a strong “Cuppa Java the Size of My Head,” a tune about coffee with a calypso beat.

Explaining that he did not get his first accordion until he was thirty, Dan offered to take everyone to the swamp for marshmallows with the “Cherokee Waltz” and its lilting Cajun French lyrics. He continued to amaze the members and guests by crooning in zydeco Creole manner “Jete sa Bal.” Everyone stayed alert when the talented accordionist singer moved “Under the Table Again” and up country for the drinking song.

Dan changed up the tempo with a TexMex vocal of Augie Meyer’s “Velma from Selma,” before dancing through New Mexico to Arizona for “Yaquicita,” a cumbia folk tune from Columbia with some German influence. Combining Latin airs with the French musette, Dan composed a terrific Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont homage. The salute to the pair’s movie tangos called “Julius et Margaret” brought many smiles and had some recall the line: “I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thought, I’d rather dance with the cows until you came home.”

The clever mind of Dan Newton kept stirring as he wondered what would have happened had Chuck Berry been raised in Minnesota instead of Mississippi. The resulting Norwegian tinged “Yohnny B Goode Polka” was absolutely hilarious! The splendid accordionist storyteller concluded with a song from his own heart, “La Vie Musette.” It was played on a 72 bass instrument with “real” diamonds and rubies that reflected the sparkling eyes of the standing and cheering audience.

- Chicago Accordion Club News 2008