Bayou City

The Inside Scoop On "The Altuve Polka"

Polish Pete and the Polka? I Hardly Know Her Band's "The Altuve Polka" is Houston's newest World Series sensation.
Polish Pete and the Polka? I Hardly Know Her Band's "The Altuve Polka" is Houston's newest World Series sensation. Photo by Donna Smith
With Game 6 of the World Series between the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers scheduled for tonight, the City of Houston is in the grips of baseball fever like few other times in its history, if ever. This mania has even made its way into the local music scene by way of a handful of well-known Houston musicians' lighthearted polka homage to Astros second baseman and odds-on American League MVP candidate Jose Altuve. Last Friday, Polish Pete and the Polka? I Hardly Know Her Band recorded and released "The Altuve Polka," and the song is taking off with the same rush the city is feeling thanks to the Astros' success.

Polish Pete, better known as Continental Club partner Pete Gordon, swears “The song just wrote itself. We recorded it and released it on Friday and over 100,000 people have seen it so far. We put it up and if there’s one thing people love, its a polka!”

Since its release, "The Altuve Polka" has made its way to ESPN and Mojo Nixon's (Gordon's former bandmate) weekday-afternoon show on Sirius/XM's Outlaw Country channel. Polish Pete and his bandmates performed it live on KPFT Saturday morning. But most importantly, in a brief interview with the MLB Network, Altuve himself said that he loves it.

Riding high on the song's online success and hoping to pump up the crowd and help the Astros win, Polish Pete took his band to the streets outside of Minute Maid Park Sunday night and played a pep rally for the fans. His fine polka skills even got him a ticket into the big game seated behind home plate next to none other than Larry King. Though sans accordion, Pete found himself “sitting there watching the game with the chief Dodgers fan, Larry King!" he says "Larry not so happy this morning, not as happy as Polish Pete!”

click to enlarge
Dodgers superfan Larry King and Polish Pete
Photo courtesy of Pete Gordon
The never-shy Polish Pete asked King about his song. “I said, 'Hey Larry, have you heard the Altuve polka?'" he says. "And he said, 'Love it!'”

Polish Pete and the Polka? I Hardly Know Her Band was started five years ago by Gordon and his fellow Houston musicians/Continental Club fixtures Allen Hill, James Henkel, Tomas Escalante, and John "Goodtime" Smith. All five musicians are quite talented in their own right and frequently collaborate on more serious endeavors, but when they get together to polka it’s impossible not to smile like Jose Altuve.

Gordon has always been an Astros fan, and notes that “baseball is a lot like polka — sometimes the polka is not so popular and then all of a sudden you start hitting home runs and you have a great big hit on your hands. Kinda like baseball, polka and baseball, you gotta stick with it, you gotta believe, you gotta have fun, just like Jose Altuve, my favorite player.”

When asked why he chose to write his infectious tune about Altuve, among all the Astros' talented players, Pete says, “Why Jose? First, the song says it all. Jose stands tall! Jose has been with this team through all the ups and downs this team has seen.

"He always played his heart out, he put his heart on the field everyday and he smiled all the way," he continues. "All he wanted to do was win and they built the team around Jose because he’s our leader and he is a true competitor and winner. He is the best baseball player I’ve ever seen in my life — I love Jose!”

The same contagious good feelings we are all getting from the Astros success are transmitted when you watch the fun-loving polka band in local director Jason Yu's music video for the “The Altuve Polka." Let’s all keep cheering on our home team and spreading the funky polka love for Altuve and the Astros, and later this week we could all be watching Polish Pete and his band leading the victory parade.
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.
Contact: Gladys Fuentes