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Group Members: Bubba Hernandez
All Music Guide:
Applying the polka and world-music dance treatment to a most unlikely song lineup ("People Are Strange," "Sixteen Tons," "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," "O Holy Night"), Brave Combo formed in the late '70s in the small Texas hometown of vocalist and guitarist Carl Finch, recorded three albums for the self-owned Four Dots label, and later moved to Rounder. The group's line-up, though constantly shifting, began to coalesce around Finch, horn player Jeffrey Barnes, bassist Bubba Hernandez, and either Mitch Marine or Joseph Cripps on percussion. After signing with Rounder in the late '80s, Brave Combo released the 1987 compilation Musical Varieties before recording nine albums with the label by the mid-'90s. The group also backed up pop figure Tiny Tim on his last collection of songs, 1996's Girl. Polkasonic followed three years later, and in the spring of 2000 Brave Combo resurfaced with Process. After recording a live album for Cleveland International (Kick-Ass Polkas, 2001), in 2003 they returned to Rounder for Box of Ghosts, a collection of classical themes dressed up Brave Combo style. Among various other recording and performing activities during the 21st century, the band also appeared on avant accordionist extraordinaire Guy Klucevsek's The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour in 2012.
Brave Combo is a polka/rock/worldbeat band based in Denton, Texas. Founded in 1979 by guitarist/keyboardist/accordionist Carl Finch, they have been a prominent fixture in the Texas music scene for more than twenty-five years. Their music, both originals and covers, incorporates a number of dance styles, mostly polka, but also some Latin American and Caribbean styles like norteño, salsa, rumba, cha-cha-cha, choro, samba, two-step, cumbia, charanga, merengue, ska, etc.
As part of their perceived artistic mission to expand the musical tastes of their listeners, they have often played and recorded covers of well-known songs in a style radically different from the original versions. Examples include polka versions of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and The Doors' "People are Strange", The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as a cha-cha, and "Sixteen Tons" as a cumbia. While their records may have a sense of humor, they are played straight and not usually considered joke or novelty records.
Awards and honors 
They won a Grammy Award in 1999 in the Best Polka Album category for their album Polkasonic, and again in 2004 for their album Let's Kiss.
In naming Denton, Texas, the "Best Music Scene" for 2008, Paste magazine cited Brave Combo as the "Grand Pooh-Bah of Denton bands" and said that "Brave Combo, is in many ways the template from which all the rest are cut: eclectic and artistically ambitious, with a high degree of musicianship and a strong DIY ethic."