Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Arkady writes:
Hey guys,

This week I came across what turned out to be A HORRIBLE RUMOR about a
passing of our colleague, drummer, MATT MILLER...


But, Matt definitely could use your help and prayers!

In support of the collective effort of Matt's friends, I've contributed this

Please stay tuned, and do what you can to help Matt. And, if nothing else,


Be WELL....

Psachya writes:
In response to Warren Cohen -
There are some '70's club-daters still in the game. Here's a by-no-means complete list of '70's guys I've gigged with (or seen at simchas) relatively recently. Some are semi-retired; some, like the first name on the list, are still full steam ahead:

Yisroel Lamm
Mordy Bass
Michael Septimus
Yehuda Spinner
Lenny Schwartz
Vladimir Grinberg
Avram Pengas
Jerry Markovitz
Lenny Friedman (after a long hiatus)
Yossi Rosenberg
Jerry King
Shelly Lang
Shmuel Klaver
Avner Levy
Shlomo Haviv
Ken Gross
Gadi Bodinger
Harold Fruchter
Aaron Goldring
Arie Pollak
Yitzy Braun
Rami Levit
Eli Zomick
Yossi Piamenta

I realize that some of the names are borderline late-'70's/early '80's, but you get the idea. And if this is the Warren Cohen I know, I would also add to the list his brother Michael, who still plays a fine trumpet.
PT writes about the "Iron Butterly" album:
What ever happened to those guys?

I did a show with Kabbalah at the Javits Center many years ago and they were one of the acts. I still have that cassette somewhere.
I believe they released a Hebrew album about a year or so back, but I haven't heard it. In between, they became the Torah Tots. Oh, and some chick singer stole their song

6/27/07 Link Dump

So Blogger's "BlogThis!" is acting up again. Here's a long delayed link dump.

PT's getting ready for a big show, and he's brought in a legendary producer to help. Sounds good, but ich meyn az s'darf mehr cowbell!

MoC is ranting about YaMaMai and royalties. One of the commentors there is misrepresenting the parody exception. Changing the key or some notes or syncopations does NOT qualify.

Is Chaim picking on MBD?

The RIAA is getting sued again.

PHP's Doni Joszef writes about Jewish Musicism.

Not by Aerosmith! Dude sings like a lady!


Jack doesn't like Beth Shafer's latest. Her fans seem quite upset at this. (He doesn't like Rick Recht, either.)

Here's Avi Adrian's bluesy singing bird.

Here's Asian Fiddler.

Me wants one!

Here's the best graduation performance this season.

Sibelius 5 is out!

Check out these these Epstein Bros. clips.
( Via Teruah.)

Here's Mo C on Avi Singolda.

The Jewish Week reviews Mare Winningham's disc.

Na, Nach, Nacha, Nachas Fun Kinder!

Sameach has posted Aaron Razel's "Krembo Song" video.

Friday, June 22, 2007

From the mailbag...

Warren Cohen writes:
Are there any Jewish club daters from the 1970's still playing?
"Argood" writes:
Hello there, do you by any chance have any Freilech Hora Keyboard Styles you can email me?
PT writes:
Kabbalah was one of the best Jewish Rock Bands to come out of the ‘80s.

Let’s face it.

Kabbalah was one of the ONLY Jewish Rock Bands to come out of the ‘80s.

Kabbalah was one of the first bands to fuse Jewish Music and lyrics with real rock music, and released two albums, Kabbalah, and Kabbalah: Classic, in 1986 and 1987. The Moshe Skier Band plays many songs from these albums. They were originally released as cassettes, and have been out of print for 20 years.


Thanks to the MAGIC of the INTERNETS, and MP3 download technology, the seminal Jewish Rock albums Kabbalah and Kabbalah: Classic can be yours for download!

Act now and the first 20 orders will get a free Ginsu Knife*

Visit here for more details:

or (scroll down for Kabbalah)

Moshe Skier (founding member of Kabbalah)

*subject to availability**

**we don’t have any Ginsu knives
Dovid Kerner writes:

Wish I had a happier song for you - Sderot Town at
Moshe Axelrod writes:
Hey Eden Fans,
Just posted is a never before heard version of Min Hameztar! It is not the Album or the EP version it was completed sometime after the record was released and has its own flare and sound to it. For more info on the song and what it is read our Newest Blog Post . The New version is the Fourth Song on our list and can be heard here

The Song Remains The Same?

Yesterday, Life-of Rubin linked to vocalist Benny Friedman's MySpace page. The page includes several audio clips of Friedman singing, including a song, "Special Child", that is credited to Chanale, a "for woman only" religious singer.

The lyrics seemed familiar though, so I've dug out an old album, "Iron Butterfly" by "The Next Generation, that was released in the late '80s. There's a beautiful song on that album called 'Shamayim's Special Child." Here are Chanale's lyrics for 'Special Child"
A meeting was held far from earth
With the angels and G-d above
They said it’s time again for another birth
This child will need much love

And though her progress may seem slow
And accomplishments she may not know
Let’s be careful where she’s sent
We want her life to be content

Please G-d find someone who
Will do this very special job for You
And let them realize right away
The leading role they’re asked to play

And have them show her till the end
They’ll always be there as her friend
And share a love so deep and strong
And that’s the place where she’ll belong

Make sure her parents hold her close
And never miss a smile
And when life gets hard they’ll always know
She’s a gift to them this child

Give her a friend to hold her hand
Listen close and understand
Take the time to make her grin
Bring out her beauty from within
Now, here are the lyrics to "Shamayim's Special Child":
A meeting was held far from earth,
It's time again for another birth,
But this child is special,
He'll need special care.

At times his progress may seem slow,
Accomplishments that may not show,
Who will guide him through his life,
Who will be there.

Will you be his feet if he is lame,
And hold him tight to ease the pain,
Fulfill his dreams and help him grow.

If you'll be the spark he'll be the flame,
And warm your soul in future days,
teach him all there is to know.

He may not run or laugh or play,
His thoughts may seem quite far away,
In many ways a stranger in his home.

So lets be careful where he's sent,
Who will make this child's life content,
Whi will show him he will never be alone.

Will yours be the eyes through which he sees,
And guide him through eternity,
Teach him mitzvos he can do.

And every prayer he says will shine,
Amongst the stars up in the sky,
Sparkling like a flaming jewel.

They will not realize right away,
the special role that they're asked to play,
Nor the strength that comes,
From the faith they'll feel inside.

But soon they'll realize the privelege given,
So meek yet precious,
A spark from heaven,
They'll thank Hashem for Shamayim's special child.

And when you're walking, walk with pride,
And hold him closely by your side,
Make him strong and help him grow,

For though his learning may be slow,
Each new thing he learns will show,
He is Shamayim's special child.

Baruch Atah Hashem,
We will thank you once again,
For Shamayim's special child.
Some unsolicited advice to Benny: Cover the original. (With attribution and royalties, of course.) It's a much prettier melody. The tweaked borrowed lyrics aren't an improvement either.

UPDATE: 9/5/07

An anonymous source close to Chanale emails that she never heard the original song, only knew the lyrics, and did not know where they came from. She saw the lyrics as a poem written somewhere. She has updated her website and has contacted the original composers in order to pay any royalties and offer credit in future printings of the booklet. The Stone brothers have given permission and say that the original original source of the lyrics are from a poem written by Mrs. Kahn of Camp Hasc.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Peeps Are Bustin' Out All Over

It's June, 'nuff said.

Here are some characters we've met this season.

"Chivas Guy"

We're playing a simcha in the Five Towns and are set up next to the bar. There's no bar service at this event, but the host has set up a nice selection of scotch and bourbon on the bar for people to enjoy. The selection consisted of Glenrothes Select Reserve and Glenrothes '91, Tomintoul 16 Year, Talisker, Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon, Labrot & Graham Woodford Reserve Distillers Select and more. Not exactly a low-budget selection. We were quite surprised to notice one fellow sidle up to the bar, peruse the selection, and then surreptitiously slip a hip flask out of his pocket and pour himself one. We made eye contact when he looked up to see if anyone had noticed this. So, he came over and explained: "I'm from Brooklyn! We don't know from this single malt stuff. Chivas! That's the good stuff!" Then "Chivas Guy" walked off carrying his drink.

"Business Card Lady"
"Business Card lady is a piece of work. A shadchan, she's having a conversation with a potential client right in front of us. She soon realizes she'll need to take some information down. Her first question to us, "Do you have a card?", is immediately followed up with "Do you have a pen?" Classy. Get your scrap paper elsewhere, lady!

"Podium Cellphone Guy"
This is the guy who needs to be on his cell phone throughout the entire simcha he's attending. Naturally, the best place to do this is leaning on the podium in the front of the room so everyone can notice he's so busy.

"Hat Lady"
In the summertime, you'll run into the "Hat Lady" at various brunch events. A regular at all the proper ladies social events, she's a true woman of mystery. No one knows what she looks like, because you'll never see her face.

"The Poetess"
"The Poetess" is the event MC who must deliver all of her remarks in rhyme. Think BY yearbook or Dr. Suess on a really bad day. Did we mention that there were thirty speakers (1-2 minutes each) all of whom needed to be introduced?

"The Shul Choir"
"The Shul Choir" performs at the shul dinner. It's apparently the only time they get to perform outside of services. A reasonably talented bunch, they have no clue about programming. Guys, the third song was overkill. The fourth was beating a dead horse. We won't even talk about the "encore". Special programming tip: when choosing repertoire for your own shul dinner, you might try something other that the "Adon Olam" and "Etz Chayim" you regularly perform in shul.

"The Polka Dancer"
This guy polka dances to everything, even "Walk This Way". Note to his long-suffering spouse: Truly, we feel for you!

"Harmonica and Spoons Player"
"I brought my harmonica. I'm going to grab a quick bite and then I'll come sit in with you." Words that strike fear in a bandleader's heart. Unless spoken by Howard Levy or perhaps Jason Rosenblatt. Did we mention he plays spoons too? We found that out when we switched keys to a scale he couldn't reach on any of his three harmonicas.

The "Masticating Dance Leader"
This fine specimen spends her entire gig as dance leader chewing gum. She adds a very classy touch to your upscale affair.

"Ultimate JAP Party Coordinator"
The scene: a Bat Mitzvah in an undisclosed restaurant.
The parents of the Bat Mitzvah were hosting their first big event and they needed handholding throughout the event. They hired the "Ultimate JAP Party Coordinator" to run their event. They needed her to run everything. If the schedule said speeches were to be at 1:20, then they needed her to come over and tell them it was OK to start the speeches, even though everyone was seated and they could have just gotten up and started them. If a dance set had just ended and the next course was scheduled, they needed her to tell them it's time to move to the next course. The fact that the reastaurant manager or bandleader had said this wasn't good enough. They needed to hear it personally from the party coordinator.

In light of this, we were a bit surprised when the party coordinator stepped out in middle of the event, telling us that "if anyone is looking for me, I'll be next door." We assumed she was stopping in to chat with a friend for a few. Soon enough, the restaurant manager came over looking for her. There were speeches on the program and the clients needed her to tell them they could begin. They needed to speak to her personally and were getting progreesively more nervous as it was now ten minues after speeches should have begun. So, we went next door... to the nail salon, it turned out... where the "Ultimate JAP Party Coordinator" was sitting getting her nails done! Only on Long Island, folks!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Benefit Concert for Darfur in Israel -- Tomorrow

David Bogner emails:
Dear Friends, Bloggers and Blog-Friends;

I'm writing to tell you about an outdoor concert that is scheduled to take place tomorrow evening(Monday June 11th) in Jerusalem's German Colony. All proceeds from this concert will go towards relieving some of the suffering of Sudanese refugees.

I've been roped into, er... I mean invited to play with one of the acts on the bill -a blues/ R&B/ Motown/rock band called 'Settle Down' - so I'd like to see a lot of friendly faces in the audience when we kick off the show. :-)

First and foremost, I'd like to see as many of you there as possible. But barring that (like if you live outside of Israel or have another pressing engagement), if you have a blog and would like to dedicated a couple of inches to trying to get any of your Israeli readers to show up at this important event, please feel free to use the attached poster.

More info can be found on my site today treppenwitz: Public Service Announcements and Self-Promotion .

Thanks... and sorry for the intrusion.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rippin' Off Shlomo Katz

MOChassid posts about appropriation of Shlomo Katz's song "Niggun Nevo". Check out the comments. There's a clueless one from someone calling himself "Gigging musician"
I respectfully dissagree with you.
It wasnt a hit till, as you call it "shiny shoe" guys made a more yeshivishe feel to it. These producers made it a hit. Much more people know the tune now than before, so who are you kidding?

As far as the royalties, give these guys some time. As you very well know the amount of money that goes into an album can make anyone tight on money, i'm sure they will get around to it(though i cant speak on their behalf, as i dont know them)
Jordan Hirsch takes care of this one pretty well. (Ayin sham!)

It's pretty obvious that "Gigging Musician" doesn't play on the YU/NCSY circuit much. Shlomo's songs "Niggun Nevo" and "Shabbos Kodesh" were being requested before Shlomo's album was released and well before the Brooklyn JM guys recorded their "yeshivishe feel" arrangements.

In general, there's been a trend wherein the Brooklyn JM artists cop the material that's been picking up in YU/NCSY circles and bring it into their circuit. There's nothing wrong with choosing proven material that way (the cross-pollination works both ways) but pretending that they "made" the songs hits is delusional. And of course, they should pay royalties. In this case, it's especially ironic that one of these performers didn't pay royalties for "Niggun Nevo", given that it was a last minute add to his CD to replace a different track (Rabbi Menachem Goldberger's Lecha Dodi) he'd recorded, but ran into trouble over.

Other songs that went the YU-Brooklyn circuit route include several of the Carlebach revival hits like "Niggun Neshama", "Ki Va Moed" and "U'fduyei".

From the mailbag...

Robert Miller writes:
This is displayed at the Lazer Beams site (left hand column):
Or BaLev - Light in the Heart- Erez Levanon, hy"d
This is the CD that we've all been waiting for, the musical legacy of Rav Erez Levanon of blessed and saintly memory, who was murdered by terrorists in March, 2007.
Hillel Fendel writes:
Shalom. A Google search for "stanley miller band" sent me to your site, but I'm not sure how to get in to participate. Do you or some of your writers know how I can hear his records? I have one great song taped from 30 years ago - Ten Shabbat V'Ten Shalom - but I would love to hear the rest. Any info would be appreciated, including contact info for the guy who wrote that he once played for them.
Judging by emails received, it appears that there's some interest out there in a reissue of the Stanley Miller Band recordings on CD or mp3.

Yerchmiel Altizio of Merkavah writes:
Thanks for the review. Very accurate and honest.
Thanks for the suggestions for improvement!
Heshy Rosenwasser writes:
I have to ask a pointed question of every current "JM" artist and producer:


It seems like every artist in the Jewish Music genre has fallen prey to the use of this not-so-new technology! When used properly, it can correct notes that have gone sharp or flat, which can be a boon to singers with less than perfect pitch (and as such, I admit I've used it too). However, when you crank up the levels on this effect, it erases all the bent pitch that's supposed to be there between the notes and makes the vocals themselves sound thinner, with the result that the singer sounds like the "Borg" in the Star Trek films.

You've heard it before:
Do you believe in life after love
I can feel something inside me say
I--r-e-a-l-l-y--d-o-n-'t--t-h-i-n-k--y-o-u-'r-e--s-t-r-o-n-g--e-n-o-u-g-h, no

It's as if some JM producer had heard that Cher song about ten years ago and the light bulb went on over his head: Why don't we use that too? It would be so cool! (Besides, there isn't anything halachically wrong with it ... is there?)

And now, whenever I turn on the "JM in the AM" radio show, EVERYBODY AND THEIR BROTHER IS OVER-AUTO-TUNING THEIR VOICE! Everyone from the Yeshiva Boys Choir to this new Israeli guy Ohad, whose excessive use of it is particularly offensive.

I am not an artist in this genre, but I am a Jewish musician with an appreciation for Jewish music, and as such I'm calling on every single producer and artist in Jewish Music today:
Let your singers shine while using their REAL voices! Use the technology SPARINGLY and JUDICIOUSLY!

'Nuff said! Now back to our original programming.

Heshy Rosenwasser

a/k/a THE HESH INC. - Musician, Artist, Writer
Psachya forwards a JWR article: 'All about me' Weddings.

Alejandro Agdamus writes:
Hi, I'm Alejandro from Argentina. I was trying to download freely the sheet of Mahshav by John Zorn but I didn't find it at the web. Doesn't matter if it is for piano or other instrument. I just want the bass line and the melody. (I'm not good with english) ¿Do you know any site where I can download it from? Thank you very much.
I'm not aware of any commercially available Zorn transcriptions.

Mordechai Shinefield forwards a link to his music column for AJL.

A Simple Jew forwards a link to "Question & Answer With Yoni Lipshutz Of Simply Tsfat - Im Atah Ma'amin."

Finally, someone [names omitted to protect the guilty] wrote:
I cam across your blog and thought you might like to hear [redacted]. You can see some video and hear mp3s at [redacted] Also more videos at[Redacted]. I hope you enjoy
I'm always happy to link to JM artists. But, if you've sent in a link and we've posted it, sending a virtually identical email a few months later is pushing things. Especially if you haven'tbothered to acknowledge the earlier link.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

6/7/07 Link Dump

AP reports that 1,683 guitarists got together to play "Smoke On The Water." Afterwards, they played the "B" section of Keitzad Merakdin.

Jewish Rock sampler with clips from Eitan Katz, Aaron Razel, Elyon, Yehuda Green, and HaMakor.

Get your SoCalled mp3's over at Jewschool.

The Police 'suck!'

Bob From Brockley posts some World Music/Jewish Music clips. Neat stuff! The Maurice El Medioni disc sounds good.

Amazon has it here:

I have Maurice El Medioni's "Cafe Oran" disc. It's great. Frank London and Dave Krakauer guest on it.

Amazon has that disc here:

Apple is hiding user ID info in their non-DRM tracks also.

Chaptzem Blog! reports that the Vishnitzer wedding hall in Boro Park has been sued and will cease operations after fulfilling its current obligations. The opening of wedding halls on residential blocks is a huge problem.

The Jewish Week reports on a Bat Mitzvah girl who donated $20,000 of her Bat Mitzvah gift's to Zichron Menachem's music therapy program for young cancer patients. Just beautiful!

Tzadik has left the building eMusic.

Heichal HaNegina posts about R' David Zeller's passing and about some new Carlebach-esque musicians.

The J-Post profiles the Cohen family in "It's A Family Thing."

Steve Vai: Bulgarian Wedding Guitarist?

Finally, J-RockerRabbi Seth Nadel has started a Torah blog.