Kabalas / Martinis and Bagels

Review | Personnel | Songlist

About The Kabalas

Their second album: The Eye of Zohar

For bookings:

the Kabalas
243 46th St., Moline IL 61265-1942

e-mail: kabalas@netexpress.net

Web: http://www.qconline.com/kabalas/

Album cover: A perfect paradigm of the contents.

Martinis and Bagels

(includes coloring book)
Dionysus Records ID123343, 1995

The self-described "Polkadelic Klezmer" Kabalas make a pretty decent klez and polka band. In fact, they make a pretty damn spiffy polka band, with vague nods to klez with their opening "Freilach Hashlishi" and closing Russian Sherele (not to mention the polka version of that Six Day War standard, "Makhar", disguised as "Stray Katz"). In the spirit of the album, I could also throw in "Underdog," now that Shloinke have put a version the web as "the oldest known klez song", but the song also emphasizes another similarity to old-time klez bands--no vocals; or more correctly in this case, terrible singing voice over otherwise okay instrumental musicianship.

Parody is where this band is really at. The problem is that there are a lot of songs ("Death takes an Ibuprofen," "Private Oy! Deli Detective") where, how can I put this, there just isn't any way the song could have equaled the cleverness of the song title (brevity being the soul of wit, etc.). And yet, and yet, there are solid reasons why I've taken months to consider this review and why I've kept this CD on the virtual turntable. When these guys are brilliant, they're brilliant. I play "Get Maj!" to all of my friends, and I walk around humming the "Wall Martt Polkaa" to the point where I may never be able to forget it. Friends now know the words and sing it to me!

If you're looking for klez, this is probably the wrong place. In fact, as soon as I set up my section on "not klez, but close enough", this will be one of the first entrants (along with the Brave Combo, older Boiled in Lead, and the redoubtable 3 Mustaphas 3). On the other hand, if your mind is sufficiently broad to consider klez- and polka-tinged fun, check this out. And don't forget to ask for the coloring book!

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 3/17/96

Personnel, this recording

Scott Morschhauser: vocals, accordion, bongos, guitar, auxiliary percussion
"Nervous" Neal Smith: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, auxiliary percussion, backing vocals
Barry "the Wolfman" Wolf: accordion, auxiliary percussion, backing vocals
"Mr." Joel Dick: trap set, frame drum, auxiliary percussion, backing vocals


  1. Freilach HaShlishi (trad. arr. Kabalas) 2:08
  2. Planet of the Apes Polka (Scott Morschhauser) 3:20
  3. Private Oy! (Deli Detective) (Scott Morschhauser) 3:22
  4. Stray Katz (trad. arr. Kabalas) 1:36
  5. BunzuvStiel Polka (Scott Morschhauser) 5:53
  6. Peeschoo Lee Fast (trad. arr. Kabalas) 2:52
  7. Peeschoo Lee Slow (trad. arr. Kabalas) 2:53
  8. Death Takes an Ibuprofen (Scott Morschhausen) 3:31
  9. Get Maj! (Neal Smith) 3:23
  10. Underdog (W.W. Biggers) 1:15
  11. Freilach HaRishon (trad. arr. Kabalas) 2:15
  12. Wall Martt Polkaa (Scott Morschhausen) 3:38
  13. Russian Waltz (trad. arr. Kabalas) 3:32
  14. Mr. Right (Scott Morschhausen) 3:14
  15. Tsena (trad. arr. Kabalas) 1:57
  16. Talkshow (Scott Morschhausen) 3:35
  17. Hey! Lordy Mambo (Neal Smith) 5:24
  18. Russian Sherele (trad. arr. Kabalas) 4:21

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