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Music from "The Shvitz" revisited!

Album cover: This cover gives punk klez a bad name.It's official. As I wrote last week, the KlezmerShack started, in part as a place to put six reviews that I wrote for Whole Earth Review (Fall 1995). I'm not good at holding on to copies of things, so it will come as no surprise that I long ago donated my old copies of WER to a prison library.

One of my most vivid memories about writing those initial reviews (taking the time to try to write just one paragraph about each CD, rather than drown the reader in ill-thought verbosity) is how I held up the articles for two new CDs: The Statman/Grisman CD that friends were very excited about, and the new Klezmatics "Jews with Horns".

In the end, however, although the KlezmerShack launched, as near as I can tell, with a review of "Jews with Horns" (and reviews of the two preceding Klezmatics albums, as well) I apparently decided to write a review of Frank London's first solo album, the soundtrack to a wonderful movie, "The Shvitz". Who remembered? Although, thinking back, I suspect that I was working on breadth: I wanted to give people a sense, from the recent Tarras reissue to this CD, of how much territory, even back in 1995, "klezmer" covered.

As I type this note, I am listening again to the soundtrack. It's still good. Features folks like Frank and the entire Klezmatics team, plus Elliott Sharp and Marc Ribot and Greg Wall and other less-familiar names of folks who became the mainstay of the Radical Jewish Music team on Tzadik. It's still worth listening to, just like the other five recordings. But then, so is "Jews with Horns"! When you have to choose only six recordings, it's hard to go wrong!

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