Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Yiddishe, American, Spanish Mama

My Yiddishe Mama was the legendary Sophie Tucker's signature song. One she started to rock in 1925 after the death of her own mother. She originally released it in English with a Yiddish version as the B-side and it became a smash hit, despite the heaviness of its lyrics:

"She would have leaped into the fire
and water for her children.
Not cherishing her is certainly the greatest sin."

Every Jewish stereotype of the Jewish mother-child stereotype succinctly captured in just three lines. Brilliant craftsmanship that perhaps has contributed to its longevity. It has been recorded by everyone from Itzhak Perlman to the Barry Sisters... and here are four of our favorites. The original and arguably still the best, by Sophie Tucker. Yossele Rosenblatt, the greatest cantor of his generation lending his signature sobbing sound to the Yiddish. Tom Jones leading Australian singing sensation John Farnham in a duet. Jones was want to introduce the song in concert by saying, "This is a song I learned, from my father, when I was a boy." And then romantic balladeer, the late, great Spaniard Nino Bravo takes it to a new level with his version, My Querida Mama, My Beloved Mama. If you have a favorite, we would love to hear about it.

Sophie Tucker

Yossele Rosenblatt

Tom Jones and John Farnham

Nino Bravo

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Little Eva Mystery

Many of you will no doubt remember Little Eva, who made it big with the smash sensation, The Locomotiion, after landing the prime job as Carole King's baby sitter. But does anyone know why this song about a gorilla was named Magilla -- as in, "the whole Magilla..."?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yodelling Ahroni

This website has sung Hanna Ahroni's praises before... and so we were delighted to receive this track from Lorne in New York, Hannah's Hora. Part haimishe, part yodel, where the Semitic meets the Alpine. Listen and be enthralled...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And you shall know us, by the trail of our radio clips...

Happy New Year to everyone, and a massive thanks to all those who have been in touch to discuss the albums and artists featured in our book, as well as those of you who have kept sending your vinyl finds our way.

Our project has garnered some gorgeous coverage over the past few weeks. In the wake of our All Things Considered feature, the amazing Michael Raphael did this piece on the (deeply lamented) Weekend America focusing on the magical and evolving world of cantorial sound.

Very Short List gave us a great hit -- as well as placed the great Sol Zim on their banner, which is where he surely belongs.

The iconic Irving Fields took news of our project to the salacious territory of New York Post's Page Six.

And WNYC's Soundcheck did a great piece here. The kicker to this feature was that Soundcheck invited Conrad Keely of the band whose name inspired us, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of our Dead on the show the next week for an interview and live performance and Joel Meyer, the show's brilliant producer, sent us the above snap, which kind of brings the whole project together in a rather surreal way. Conrad. You rock.