March 30, 2015 by billysparrow
More people should know about Ray Budzilek. Not only was he responsible for some of the finest, peppiest polka music of the golden age, but his back story is equally impressive. After having started his career as an accordionist and leader of a big-band-style polka group, Budzilek served during the Korean conflict and, on January 15, 1951, was shot and sustained spinal injuries that put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. So when he returned, instead of abandoning his musical dreams, he switched to the clarinet and sax, put together a new orchestra and went on to even greater success, recording albums for Capitol, Roulette, and other labels. Aint that a man.