Monday, April 14, 2008

Fraidy Katz and Wolf Krakowski: Yiddish cabaret roots rock

I've gotten a pile of CD's in the mail lately. It's great fun, but I'm feeling guilty for not posting about them more expeditiously. The basic problem is that doing a good review takes real time. Time to listen and absorb. Time to reflect and consider. Time to write. That's a lot of time. Oh. And it takes some insight too.

No wonder I don't do many reviews. That's a lot of work.

Wolf KrakowskiSo this isn't really a review. Consider it an homage to two amazing performers and three phenomenal albums. Let's start with Wolf Krakowski. I got two albums of his in the mail about a month or two ago from a friend who wasn't going to be able to do reviews of them. I popped the first of them, "Goyrl: Destiny", into the CD player and proceeded to loose about three hours listening to it over and over again. The next day I forced myself to listen to the other one, "Transmigrations: Gilgul." Ok. I only lost two hours on this one, but that's pretty darn good.

These are "what if" records. What if Yiddish didn't get abandoned by a generation of Jews desperate to see their children assimilated and safe in the US. What if, instead, their children hung out in bars and on street corners with jazz musicians and rock-and-rollers, teaching cabaret and folk melodies and learning country licks. Their music would have sounded something like this...

Tate-Mame (From Goyrl: Destiny)

A Shod Dayne Trern (A Waste of Your Tears) (From Goyrl: Destiny)

Her Nor, Du Sheyn Meydele (Listen, Pretty Girl) (From Transmigrations:Gilgul,)

Fraidy Katz 'The Eternal Question' Album CoverWhile I was sitting on these discs, trying to find time to write about them, I got an email from Krakowski asking if I'd like a copy of the new(ish) Fraidy Katz album that he produced. Absolutely. And I wasn't disappointed. Fraidy Katz's "The Eternal Question" picks up where Krakowski's albums leave off, adding Katz's warm and expressive vocals but holding on marriage of traditional Yiddish melodies and roots rock arrangements that made Krakowski's albums such a joy. Here are a few song clips...enjoy!

A Shtekele (A Little Stick)

Nakht un Regn (Night and Rain)

You can get more information on Katz and Krakowski at the Kame'a Media website.

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