THE KRAMER SISTERS A Sampler
Oh Lonesome Me – Watermelon Time – Making Plans – Save The Last Dance – Vintage Medley (Put Your Arms Around Me Honey; Ma He’s Making Eyes At Me; Oh Johnny) – Harbor Lights/My Happiness – Cerna Vrana (Black Crow Polka) – Heartaches By The Number – Ashes of Love – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – Seeing Nellie Home/Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet – Somewhere Between – Boo Hoo/Music Music – Red River Valley – Red Raven Polka – Almost Persuaded – Far Side Banks of Jordan – It Had To Be You/Bye Bye Blackbird – Were You There – Beautiful Nebraska
Just when one thinks there’s never ever going to be any ‘new’ old music, here comes the Kramer Sisters. These Nebraska gals have put together an unbelievably delightful adventure into old songs done kind of like it was in the old days, but utilizing new studio techniques, mixes, and terrific microphones. They have produced one of the best old-timey upper Midwest music CD’s I’ve heard in a long time. Do you by any chance remember the Andrews Sisters? Well, that harmony sound is just a little part of this overall project. The songs stand on their own. Once a great country song goes through it’s phase of being on the charts, making the singer popular and famous, and the recording company millions of dollars, at the pro-level they just disappear. That doesn’t happen on the Great Plains of Nebraska. Those incredibly great songs, which sold millions of records, don’t just go away here. They’re still alive and well. And guess what, Sue Prochaska Underwood, one of the Kramer girls, plays accordion of all things. No, that’s wrong, she doesn’t just play the accordion. She has mastered the instrument, and she ‘performs’ on it. What a delightful sound that is. If you live in the upper stratosphere of humanity, you instantly connect her playing to a little French Cafe somewhere, or perhaps a great Czech Polka Festival, or even a popular ‘down by the river’ old-time music festival that the Kramer Sisters host. I believe it’s in early July in Crete, Nebraska. This CD is kind of a result of the success of that event, these are the songs the Kramer’s fans like best. Wow, what an interesting collection.
The focal point of this ‘sure to please an over-50 person’ is the precise harmony of the sisters. Janet Jeffries Beauvais is on lead vocals and plays rhythm guitar; Dawn Bedwar Mundt does harmony plus harmonica, percussion, tambourine, bones, maracas, and Czech stomp fiddle; and Sue Prochaska Underwood does that great button accordion, banjo, mandolin and of course the final three part harmony. They like to think of their music as a tribute to their Eastern European and 19th century Nebraska pioneer heritage, which includes a delightful Czech repertoire when they are performing live. They add the Czech bagpipe, the stomp fiddle, and the horse tail jug to these performances. Typical of nearly all our music makers in the upper Midwest, when these sisters are not pleasing thousands of fans with their music, they are involved in historic preservation work, education, families, and community outreach.
I believe the ‘one’ focal that attracts me so instantly to this recording is the fine button accordion playing. One doesn’t get a chance to hear this much anymore. It’s also remarkable that these girls continue the musical ‘hand-me-down’ tradition so common in the upper Midwest. They add their own personality and stamp to everything they do, but to anyone who appreciates an older style of country music, you will immediately connect to this wonderful adventure.
They recorded at Dave Schellenberg’s dBm Production Studios in Omaha, who added some very tasty bass licks to the session. Nice mix all the way through, and the energy of a ‘live’ performance comes through loud and clear, a result of good studio direction and engineering.
The Kramer Sisters are jewels in the crown of the Great Plains state of Nebraska. And they’re proud of their Midwest heritage. They include Nebraska’s state song “Beautiful Nebraska” on this CD. Don’t you think that is cool? Don’t be surprised girls if the Rural Roots Music Commission gives you a nod on an extremely well done CD.
ORDER THIS CD DIRECT FROM THE KRAMER SISTERS: Janet Beauvais, 841 Forest Ave., Crete, Nebraska, 68333