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SLOVENIAN STYLE POLKAS - CLEVELAND STYLE POLKAS - BUTTON BOX MUSIC - SLOVENE TUNES - YUGOSLAV FOLK SONGS

 

 

      Bob Timko

Biography

 

 

 

 

Bob Timko

 

 

Happy Landing Polka

Bob Timko grew up in the East 64th Saint Clair Ave. neighborhood on Cleveland's east side. Croatian Home and Flaisman's Bar were located on the corners of East 64th and Saint Clair where music prevailed on weekends. Many musical personalities such as Dick Flaisman (sax) and brother Jack (accordion), Cecilia Dolgan (vocalist) and Bill Tomsic (sax), "grew up" on East 64th Street. Bob was fascinated with the sound of an accordion at age 5, so his parents engaged the teaching talent of accordionist Joe Prince. After 4 ½ years, Joe Prince felt Bob should progress to a higher level and recommended accordion instructor Joe Trolli. Joe was a magnificent instructor and songwriter and soon taught Bob the ability of perfect pitch in addition to Joe writing music and Bob playing the music simultaneously. Most important, Joe demonstrated repeatedly the need to play from the heart while performing or reading sheet music. After 4 years instruction, Joe Trolli suggested that Bob continue his musical education with John Sedlon. Bob studied with John Sedlon for 2 years. At the age of ten, Bob entered the Burt's Amateur Hour Radio Talent Show aired live from WTAM AM Radio studios in Cleveland. On the advice of Joe Trolli, Bob played Just Because on the show and won that weeks contest. Bob was awarded second place in the final contest. That night, the Frankie Mullec Orchestra was introduced on the air by polka orchestra leader, Kenny Bass. Bass represented the recording company and was premiering Frankie Mullec's new record release, Tell Me A Story. It was this very night that Bob's talents were recognized by Kenny Bass. Bob was invited by Kenny Bass to appear on Kenny's talent show contest, held on Wednesday evenings at Yankovic's lounge on East 152nd Street in Collinwood, and aired live on WSRS Radio. Bob tied for first place along with the teen age Art Perko Orchestra. At the age of 14 Bob joined the Melody Mixers polka band. Several years later Bob organized his polka band. In 1955 Dick Flaisman, sax player with the Kenny Bass Polka Poppers Orchestra, asked Bob to audition on accordion for the opening created by the resignation of accordionist Lenny Surova. Bob's audition was during an appearance of Kenny's orchestra at Frank Champa's Glen Park Café on East 185th Street. Later that night Kenny asked Bob to sit in the Polka Poppers. Bob played accordion with the Kenny Bass Orchestra until Dick Sodja returned from his tour of duty in Korea with the U.S. Army. At this time Bob learned to play drums. Bob recorded on 12 of Kenny's 13 albums. Bob left the Kenny Bass Orchestra in 1968 and form his own polka Orchestra. Bob signed a recording contract with Greyko Records and the album Sound of Timko was recorded and released. The Orchestra continued performing during the 70's and recorded another album Polka's On Tour with Delta. The Bob Timko Orchestra was chosen by Rev. George Balasko, and proudly consented to be musically part of the original 1st Polka Mass in the United States, which was held on Memorial Day, May 29, 1972 at Holy Rosary Church, in Lowellville Ohio. Bob became friends with Al Benasich of Cleveland, who regularly attended most of the orchestra's appearances in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He approached Bob and asked him to consider a partnership in opening a new Polka Lounge in Cleveland. They later teamed up, and as fate would have it, purchased the only available liquor license and bar, which was the Mint Tavern on East 156th Street. They extensively, with the help of Mac Baron, renovated the inside of the old tavern, and after 6 months of major construction, with a Las Vegas appearance, opened Timko's Polka Place. Music and dancing every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with popular Cleveland and out of state polka bands. After opening Timko's Polka Place, the orchestra recorded and released The Happiest Sound Around. The Bob Timko Orchestra was voted America's Favorite Polka Band in 1975 and 1976. The Bob Timko Orchestra played their last public road appearance in 1978 for a Polka Mass with Rev. George Balasko in the chapel at Kent State University in Ohio. A social was held afterward and the band made their sad farewells to teary eyed fans. Soon afterward the Orchestra made its final stage appearance at Timko's Polka Place in Cleveland Ohio. Several months later Timko's Polka Place was sold. In June 1979 Bob moved with his family to Florida. In 2003, Bob received a phone call from polka promoter Val Pawlowski. She asked Bob to return with his music and the Sound of Timko. Bob accepted the booking and the Timko orchestra was reborn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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