The Klezmatics

The Klezmatics



Wow, damn, another Klezmatics reissue on Rounder. This album by America’s Greatest Band was originally released way back in ’97, and it’s a little departure for ’em. The first part is pretty much standard Klezzies: great songs based in timeless Jewish and gypsy music, done with passion and precision the likes of which can’t be found anywhere else these days. You won’t be forgetting Frank London’s arrangement of the traditional klezmer tune “Shvarts un Vays” (“Black and White,” for you Yiddish-impaired folks) anytime soon — both Matt Darriau (saxophone) and Alicia Svigals (violin) play the solos of their lives, and it’s hard as hell, baby.

There are a few more things on this first half that deserve special mention. The opening track, “Shprayz Ikh Mir,” is a hilarious drinking song; Svigals does a wonderful job adapting playwright Tony “Angels in America” Kushner’s lumpy dreamy words into a neat song on “An Undoing World”; and the great “Mitzmor Shir Lehanef (Reefer Song)” is a dusted-out tribute to kanabis, complete with echoey spacy clarinet solo. Above all these songs soar Lorin Sklamberg’s stunning tenor voice, beneath them all the rhythm section of David Licht and Paul Morrissett thumps away nicely. It could not possibly be better.

The second part comes from Kushner’s adaptation-play, A Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds, and it’s a bit different, given its origins — it sounds soundtracky, and doesn’t have the freedom that The Klezmatics should always have. But it’s still pretty amazing, and flows together like a dream, and features the creepiest wedding tune ever, the Kushner-lyricked “Fradde’s Song.” And make sure you don’t trust the track listing, y’all, or you’ll miss a great bonus track in “Eyn Mol.” It’s another drinking song, arranged by Sklamberg, and I want it played at my funeral.

All in all, another sweet one from The Klezzies — but not a good first disc. Start with Rhythm And Jews or Jews With Horns if you want a starter; this one’s a bit deeper and less immediately lovable. But it is quite lovable indeed.

Rounder Records:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Gary Wittner
    Gary Wittner

    Too Modern for Me. (Invisible Music Records) Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Willard Gayheart & Friends
    Willard Gayheart & Friends

    At Home in the Blue Ridge (Blue Hens Music). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Alex McArtor
    Alex McArtor

    Touch/Are You Alone (Bigmac Records). Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Superstar

    Sex, drugs, adultery, murder and finally, redemption – it’s all intertwined in the tale of Trent Davis, the “star” of author Christopher Long‘s latest, Superstar.

  • Moloko Plus
    Moloko Plus

    Moloko Plus is a monthly experimental music event in Orlando, Florida.

  • General Magic
    General Magic

    General Magic invented the smart phone in 2002, but just couldn’t get it to market. That’s just how they rolled.

  • Blue October
    Blue October

    Alternative 90s rockers Blue October rolled into Central Florida for a two-night run at House of Blues, and Michelle Wilson was blown away.

  • Pahokee

    Pahokee produces sugar cane and poverty, but some the brighter students might make it to the big time with a college degree and a new zip code.

  • Sumo Princess
    Sumo Princess

    When An Electric Storm. (Educational Recordings) Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Laura Valle
    Laura Valle

    Charismatic. Review by Stacey Zering.

From the Archives