As someone who loves music, I am a little embarrassed to admit that growing up I was not a Shlomo Carlebach fan. I obviously knew his famous songs, but didn’t own any of his cassettes or CDs. After he passed away I was exposed to his music a little by some friends and went on a buying binge, buying anything of his I could. I still wouldn’t consider myself a Shlomo Carlebach expert, and he would not be on my list of favorite Jewish music performers, but I have a better appreciation for his music, and what he contributed to Jewish music. I also love most of the Carlebach style performers who have either put out their own music or redone Shlomo’s songs themselves. Saying all that, I also have to admit that I also have not been following Yehuda Green since the beginning of his career either. There were a few songs from his first album, Land of your Soul, that the bochurim in Yeshiva sang, but I never really had the urge to go out and hear the whole album. When he released his second album, Yearning, I got it and it got me hooked. And yes, I went out and bought his first album as well. Yehuda is the main chazzan in the Carlebach shul, and is very involved with carrying on the legacy of Shlomo Carlebach. The fact that he features many of Shlomo’s songs on his albums is proof enough, but he also features his own compositions that are in the unmistakable Carlebach style. On this album there are also a few songs that are co-composed by Shlomo and Yehuda (I am not sure how that worked since Shlomo Carlebach passed away years ago, and if someone has a good answer for me I would love to hear it). This is an album that is not going to have the latest styles on it, because Carlebach style is not that, but it is such an easy and relaxing listen to anyone who enjoys the Carlebach style.
Here is my song by song assessment:
Avinu Malkeinu- The album begins with a song that is a collaboration between Yehuda and Shlomo Carlebach. This is the type of style song that has become a prototypical lebedik Yehuda Green song. The arrangements are not very sophisticated but, as the whole album, are very tastefully done.
Birchas Hachadosh- A Mozditzer Niggun that Shlomo Carlebach used for the nussach of Birchas Hachodesh. I have never heard Birchas Hachodesh done in the Carlebach shul or in the Carlebach style, but this is a nussach I can definitely imagine hearing in shul.
Mi Sheasa- A Shlomo Carlebach composition which is a perfect kumzitz song. Being that this is a song from the Hagaddah, I don’t know how often someone will have a kumzitz at their seder, but this song and it’s message would sound nice anytime of the year.
Hashem Melech- This is an upbeat and lebedik composition by Shlomo Carlebach. This song has some interesting instrumentation, especially with the use of violins. This is another nice song, on an album filled with nice songs.
Ka Echsof- This is another song co-composed by Yehuda and Shlomo Carlebach. This is the longest song on the album, and a little too long in my opinion, however it is a hartzige Shabbos zemer. My personal shita is pretty much documented on this website many times and it applies here too.
Od Yishoma- This is a lebedik song co-composed by Yossi Green and Yehuda Green. This is another Carlebach style song, which makes it fit in with the rest of the album! The 2nd part (the chorus) of the song is very catchy and I like how Yehuda sings it over and over again at the end of the song. The arrangements are very simple, but that fits perfectly with the Carlebach style as well.
V’chol Mi- As I sit here and listen to this Yehuda Green composition, I realize that I sang this song with some bochurim at an impromptu kumzitz a couple of weeks ago, and didn’t even realize then whose song it was, just that it was familiar and I loved it. This is a beautiful and hartzige song that will become another one of Yehuda Green’s signature songs.
Shirat Hayam- Yehuda Green has two types of specialties, the real hartzige and meaningful song (see my comments above about V’chol Mi) and a nice and lebidik niggun. Having them back to back on this album is a treat!
Im Atah Maamin- This song is basically a hartzige niggun without words and a few words sprinkled into the first part of the song at 3:52 of the song. It is a very nice and enjoyable song to listen to.
Eleka Dila- This is another song that is a collaboration between Yehuda and Shlomo Carlebach. It is a nice slow hartzige “Carlebach” song that Yehuda sings beautifully.
Lemikdashcha- Yehuda begins this song, his composition, by singing through the song rubato. It does get lebedik for a little while and ends slow. It is not from my favorite songs on the album, but that just speaks to how strong this album is.
Dear Brother- This is a traditional Chassidic melody with Yiddish lyrics added by Lipa Schmeltzer and some English lyrics added at the end by Yehuda himself. This sounds like a classic song to end a kumzitz with and therefore, in my opinion, it is the perfect song to end off the album as well. Reading my colleague Hillel Kap’s review, I see he agrees with me and that Yehuda does too!
In conclusion, I must say that I really have enjoyed listening to this album, and find it relazing as well. For someone looking for “current” and contemporary styles of music, this is not for you, however for the rest of you, I say go get it!
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