22 Great Songs for Dancing

by: Lawrence Welk

Lawrence Welk has been the butt of a million jokes because of his harmless, middle-of-the-road image and immediately identifiable style, which detractors often describe as "cornball," "schmaltzy," or "rinky-dink." He was an enormously popular stylist, however, who constantly reinvented himself by playing polkas, big-band dance music, instrumental rock & roll or light music, as required. He managed to keep abreast, in his way, of changes in contemporary pop music without alienating an audience committed to old-fashioned pop and dance music, which was no small feat. 22 Great Songs for Dancing draws upon his Dot Records catalog, where he recorded some of his most adventurous music, but the selections are standard fare. Most of the songs are taken from three Dot albums: Dance with Lawrence Welk (1959), Bubbles in the Wine (1962), and the minor hit Champagne on Broadway (1966), all of which feature the distinctive instrumental blend Welk proffered throughout the '60s with accordions and harpsichords in upbeat arrangements with prominent melody lines. Welk's Ranwood label owns his Dot recordings, which account for most of the bandleader's chart hits, yet the label seems disinterested in reissuing his most popular singles and albums. Instead, we get bland, indifferently compiled thematic collections such as this one, with generic artwork and no annotation. The tracks from Bubbles in the Wine, released a year after Welk struck gold with his huge number one album Calcutta! are the highlights on an otherwise routine set. ~ Greg Adams

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