New Release: Fritz Hodde and the Fabulous Six

Fritz and the Fab Six Continue the Journey

By Theresa Parker

Fritz and the boys celebrated the band's 50th anniversary with a party at SPJST Lodge 18 in Elgin in September 2013, and just recently released a CD – Fritz Hodde’s 50-Year Journey with The Fabulous Six. The band chose the songs to record based on what their fans request the most at dances.  While it’s difficult to record all songs requested on one CD, we recorded a few on this CD and will select others on the next CD.  We do try to record new songs for each CD, as well, in hopes that they might become synonymous with our group’s name.  Others may have recorded the same song, but we hope that people might like our rendition of ‘The Fabulous Six’ style,” Fritz says.

Fritz is the only original band member still playing after 51 years. His son, Scott, joined in 1984. Russell Kalkbrenner became a member in 2002; Scott’s son, Brandon, in 2005, and Gary Greener, joined the group as the drummer last year although he sat in on occasion for about four years. Gary is also a good dancer, as he and his fiancé, Kara Walker, were voted King and Queen of this year’s National Polka Festival in Ennis.

Although the group numbers five, they decided to keep the Fabulous Six name to honor those who have gone before them. 

“After losing many band members over the years, we decided we wanted to continue with our trademark, the original name The Fabulous Six,” Fritz says.

One band member they’ll never forget is George Strmiska. George played for years with the Vrazels then became one of the Fabulous Six, playing from 1998 to 2002. George passed away in 2003. “One of the songs chosen for this CD - I Told a Lie to My Heart - is dedicated to George.  His guitar playing was remarkable and Brandon, following in George’s footsteps and loving George’s musical ability while playing guitar, did a great job emulating George’s unique style on this song,” Fritz says.

Fritz is happy that his son and grandson are continuing the polka band tradition. “Not only do they exceed my musical ability with all of the instruments they play, but both have excelled in the pronunciation of the Czech language and we couldn’t be more proud. I respect and admire their many talents and I’m proud and honored to share the stage with them,” he says. 

Brandon has also produced his own CD – All By Myself (A JA SAM) – in which he plays and sings all parts. He has also gotten some of his polka buddies together to form a new band - The All Around Czechs. Their debut performance is set for Saturday, December 13, at Sefcik Hall in Temple.

Over the years of performing, Fritz has noticed the generation gap among the dancers widening. “But we are very proud to see the younger generation’s involvement of late to help carry on the polka tradition.” 

One thing that hasn’t changed are the band’s fans, he says. “We have maintained quite a few loyal followers over the years that have always been there for us and we are proud to call them friends.” 

Fritz Hodde 50 Years CD.jpg

Fritz Hodde and the Fabulous 6
Fritz Hodde’s 50-Year Journey with the Fabulous Six
15 tracks: 6 polkas, 5 waltzes, 4 country
Polkabeat faves: Who’s Gonna Love You Polka, Grinders Polka, Katherine’s Waltz, I Told a Lie to My Heart

Brandon Hodde CD

Brandon Hodde All By Myself (A Ja Sam)
15 tracks: 8 polkas, 6 waltzes, 1 country
Polkabeat faves: A Ja Sam, El Golpe Traidor, Isabella Waltz

Available: Polka On! Store

Fritz Hodde: 50 Years of Making Polka Music

6211048019_2acda0c620Congratulations to Fritz Hodde on 50 years in the polka music biz! Fritz and the band, the Fabulous 6, will celebrate by having, what else, a polka party! The free event is set for Saturday, September 14, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the SPJST 18 in Elgin. To help Fritz commemorate this special anniversary, polkabeat asked polka musicians to send their congrats.

Dear Polkabeat: We really want to say a “Big Thank You” for all you did to promote Fritz Hodde and The Fabulous Six's "50th celebration."

Also, thank you very much for all the other promotions that you do for the band. Sometimes we forget to say thank you and we want you to know that we are grateful.

A big thank you for reaching out to polka musicians to comment on Fritz Hodde and The Fabulous Six's 50th anniversary. I copied some of those e-mails and placed them in a memories book on the band table Saturday night. Hope you don't mind. I saw quite a few people looking at them.

This was a special day for Fritz Hodde & The Fabulous Six. A day we'll never forget. A great big thank you to our fans, friends and family for helping us make this day a huge success. Many memories to be thankful for. -- Fritz Hodde

Musician Well Wishes Congrats Fritz on 50 years of music. In these years your music has obviously entertained thousands through live performances, radio and recordings but my highest respect is seeing you handing down that family tradition of Czech music in Texas to your son and grandson. That is a legacy that will hopefully continue for more generations and be such a wonderful contribution to the culture we all know and love. Prost, zivili, nazdravje, cheers on this important milestone. Alex Meixner

We would like to wish our good friends Fritz Hodde and the Fabulous Six congratulations on 50 years of great music! Keep up the great music! Brian Klekar and the Czechaholics

Congratulations on 50 great years of music, and thank you all you have done for the Czech Culture and heritage. Trey Sylvester and the Ennis Czech Boys

Congratulations Fritz and all the members of the band on your 50 years of entertaining! Vrazels’ Polka Band always looked forward to and enjoyed playing alongside with you at the many performances that we worked together over the many years. Your band always was and still is very popular on our radio show on KMIL Cameron every Sunday. We wish you many more years in the entertainment business. Alfred Vrazel

Congratulations on making great music in the fantastic world of polka for 50 years! And thank you for your devotion to the cause. We all appreciate your efforts and contributions and look forward to the next 50! Polkatively, Carl Finch and Brave Combo

I have fond memories of the Fabulous Six going way back to the '60s when I first started playing music. We often crossed paths as our bands played in the same venues (Granger, Holland, Seaton, Taylor). I was struck that this was a “family” band like ours and that Fritz and his father both played. I greatly enjoyed and admired Fritz’s talent on trumpet and accordion. We sometimes played “battle dances” and it was always an honor to have the “jam” session with both bands! Over the years, as the band changed, I enjoyed many talented musicians that played with the Fabulous Six. Then as the family influence increased with Fritz and Scott (and Dianne) playing together and now Brandon, it only got better! Fritz was always kind to me (even as a kid starting out) and it was always a nice conversation about how the music was going at the various halls, the different bands and musicians who were around, and the different events that were taking place in Central Texas. The Fabulous Six (Fritz or Scott) always acknowledged us if we were in the crowd at a dance and I was often invited up to play a number or two with the band, which I always enjoyed and appreciated. Lots of fun times and enjoyment brought to many by the Fabulous Six. I congratulate the Fabulous Six on this notable benchmark of 50 years and wish the very best in the future. Jerry Haisler and the Melody 5

Congratulations, Fritz! I remember back in the '70s watching you play accordion and trumpet at the same time down at Bill Mraz Hall. It was amazing and inspiring! Mike Gest, Texas Legacy Czech Band and Moonglow Orchestra

Congratulations Fritz! Keep the great music flowing and looking forward to jam with y'all again soon! Chris Rybak