Thursday, October 30, 2008

Be Afraid of the Kvetching Ghosts (and the Kosher Pumpkins, Rothstein Werewolves, Specter Schmucks, Meshuggina Monsters...)

The Kvetching GhostsI've mentioned before my theory about Google, right? It's not actually a search engine. Somehow, through some Twilight Zone, it takes in our queries and alters the world to have some interesting results for us. Thoughtful of it.

Take the Kvetching Ghosts for example. You can, right now, go to Amazon and order a CD-R copy of the Kvetching Ghosts album "Haunted Jewish Halloween." I found this out when I punched "Jewish Halloween Music" into Google. Now, by any reasonable standards, there shouldn't be any Jewish Halloween Music. Halloween is not a Jewish holiday, and while many American Jews (including yours truly) carve pumpkins and send our kids out for bags of candy, there is no connection between Judaism, Jewish music, and Halloween. But Google created one (or found one) for me.

I didn't know what to expect from The Kvetching Ghosts. Some Yiddishkeit dybbuk stories set to creepy minor key post-klezmer Danny Elfman chamber music? Not even close. It turns out that the Kvetching Ghosts take recordings of standard Jewish repetoir pieces and overlaying them with a modest array of sound effects album monster growls, screams, and gusts of wind. Hmm. Would Hatikva go better with a Ghoul Laugh, a Woman Scream, or a Wolf Howl? How about all three? And the Kvetching Ghosts aren't alone. There are about a dozen other albums with similar band names and titles including the Kosher Pumpkins, Rothstein Werewolves, Specter Schmucks, Meshuggina Monsters, Oy Veys, and the Chosen Band. All of them available on CD-R for $9.99 and MP3 download for $8.99.

So, what's going on here? These albums seem to have been produced by SBR Music "Music for all your occasions." I sent an email to the folks at SBR but haven't gotten any response. A pity. I'd love to know what they were thinking. SBR offers a wide range of holiday and special theme music collections. All of the covers have the same low budget look of the Kvetching Ghosts. Ripoff? Earnest and artless? A big prank? Can't tell. My first reaction to all of this was "Hysterically funny album covers, terrible contents, probably a ripoff." For exhibit A, check out "The Kosher Pumpkins - Frightening Shabat Shalom"

C'mon. What a terrible and pointless thing to do to Shabbat Shalom.

But after listening to a bunch of these tracks I decided I needed to lighten up a bit. While all the varied collections are pretty much tiring repeats of each other with different names, there is a kind of odd charm to the whole endeavor. I've grown particularly fond of the "Kvetching Ghosts - Horrifying Bashanah"

It has a wonderful Disney Haunted Mansion feel about it. If I ever wanted to create a Jewish Haunted House or DJ a Goth Bar Mitzvah party, this would be the sound track. So, check out the Kvetching Ghosts, or one of the other almost identical recordings. Google was kind and provided Jewish Halloween Music, how can we not admire it? And speaking of admiring things, here are a couple more of the album covers. Priceless.

The Kosher Pumpkins

The Rothstein Werewolves

The Specter Schmucks


Heidi Estrin said...

Have you heard the song Werewolf Bar Mitzvah? You can hear it here:

Jack said...

Heidi - Thanks for the reminder, the video is a hoot! I did hear it and blogged about it last year. But I forgot to link to it again. Here's the link to my post