Phone BookSept 20, 2023–My recent column about my One-Hit-Wonder song Rocky Mountain Oysters caused an unexpected and un-merited surge in interest about my songwriting career. While attending a recent dance hall night, several fans requested that I sing The Fredericksburg Phone Book Polka. Okay… one person did.

This was my other big hit, although I made a rookie marketing mistake by limiting my audience to German-surnamed residents of one small Texas town.

In the tradition of every amateur singer-songwriter, I can’t share the actual song until I spend 400 words telling a long and pointless story of how it came about.

You see, I was at the time playing keyboards for a group called The Country Dutchmen, despite having a non-male drummer. We toured the hot spots from the DAV to the KOA to the Big Lake Community Center, playing country standards and traditional polkas. Some nights we actually got paid enough to cover gas.

It was during that time that the Texas legislature designated Fredericksburg the Polka Capital of Texas. Why, thought I, did the town not have a polka song of its own? Having not yet become a weekly columnist and having no outlet for my writing talents, I decided to compose that song.

I made two decisions: 1) It had to have a simple chord structure so any band could learn it in one practice, and 2) it had to sound like I was speaking German even though I wasn’t.

The first one was easy. I chose two chords, G and D.

(Sidebar for a songwriter anecdote: One night a fan requested I sit in and sing it with the great Floyd Domino, Cindy Cashdollar, and Bart Trotter. I was mortified, but Domino was a good sport. I was explaining the chords to him when Trotter leaned over and whispered, “Take Me Back To Tulsa.” Don’t sue me, Bob Wills’ heirs.)

For the German part, I was afraid my one semester of college German would not sound wunderbar. Then I had a brainstorm. Just read the names in the Fredericksburg Phone Book. They were mostly German. And in alphabetical order. That also gave me the name of the song.

And with that long and pointless explanation, I give you

The Fredericksburg Phone Book Polka

Words & Music 1987 by Phil Houseal

I stopped at a town in Texas

To have a look around

Opened up that phone book

Surprised at what I found


I thought I was back in Munich

As I read through those names

They sounded like a polka

I could hear those trumpets play


Bierschwale, Crenwelge, Dietz, Duecker, Deike

Ellebracht, Feuge, and Fritz

Gueistweidt, Gellerman, Hartmann, Hohmann,

Hoffman, Immel, and Itz


Keller, Klaerner, Kleinseik, Krauskopf, Kneese

Neffendorf, Klein, and Knopp

Langerhans, Langehennig, Leifeste, Lochte,

Luckenbach, Luedke, and Lott!


Soon it was time to leave,

and as I drove away

I knew that town of Fredericksburg

Would call me back someday


Ottmers, Petermann, Fenner and Beans, man

Frantzen, Kaderli, and Klier

Sagabiel, Sultemeier, Schneider, Schroeder,

Schuch and Schmidt and Schweer


Weinheimer, Wehmeier, Wunderlich, Weidenfeller,

Welgehausen, Woerner, and Wallace

Wahl, Walker, Wallendorf

WalMart (WalMart?)

Zimmerman, Zenner, und Das Ist Alles!


Now go back and try yelling it out loud really fast. Which is pretty much how I sing it.

The radio people wanted to know if I had other original polkas. Sadly, I do.

It’s called Depression Polka, because I thought it would be funny to set depressing lyrics to an uplifting melody. Here’s just the chorus:

Depression Polka Depression Polka

It’s making me so sad, I want to choke you

This incessant oompah is driving me insane

Why does every polka sound the same?


You don’t even want to know about Groundhog Stomping.