There is a huge box of cassette tapes sitting in my closet. Why is it there? Because I have no clue what to do with them or how to transfer them to CD. But that is another story.
While some of this music is old, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. One cassette in particular caught my eye, Yisroel Baruchov’s Achai V’Reyai, which was released in 2001. Right away I knew this album is one I wantwd to listen to. Why? Because Baruchov’s debut album, Dance It, was a great album that just never really made it big. Every single song on that CD was good. The fast songs were energetic and leibidic. The slow songs were hartzig and pretty. Just a terrific CD which is as enjoyable now as it was when it was released in 2000.
Anyway, back to Achai V’Reyai. As soon as I saw another Baruchov CD, I knew it was one I had to hear. And I was right. Another great album that should have been a hit but just never went anywhere. Terrific songs, almost all of which were composed by Baruchov, who is clearly a talented composer. (I’m guessing one of his most well known compositions is Shloime Dachs’ Hamalach.) In the vocals department, Baruchov is joined by Yitzchok Rubin and Yitzy Spinner. And Yisroel Lamm’s arrangements are lovely, as always.
Bottom line? Both of these albums are well worth owning, especially when they are relative bargains: $3.80/$5.80 each (cassette/CD) at jewishjukebox.com or $4.99/$5.99 each (download/CD) at mostlymusic.com!
On to the music:
Melech – This leibidic upbeat song sounds as fresh as anything that is out there today and is good enough to be on any A-list singer’s next album. Nice harmonies. Just works. Is Baruchov still composing? If so, don’t know why people aren’t using more of his stuff. This song is great! Definitely my favorite on the album.
Aishes Chayil – This simple, sweet, pretty song, composed by Yehoshua Schultz, is basically what you’d expect from a song with this name. Love the high part. Like a number of the other songs on this album, it has a nice ending instead of just fading out.
Yerushalayim – Cheerful, great song! Lyrics are great with the tune, but I might have given it a different name. Can’t imagine how many songs out there are named “Yerushalayim”. Harmonies work well together. Again, song doesn’t sound at all dated – something you could expect on a CD that was just released. While Melech is my favorite on this album, this one runs a close second.
Nikadesh – Hartzig, beautiful song composed by Mark Schlossberg. You can bet if this CD were being produced today there would be a kid singing on this song. It’s just that kind of song. Sweet, pretty, only enhanced by the beautiful harmonies. Love the harmonies on the low part, second time through. (Sorry, no timer on my boom box.) Just listen. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it.
Chusa – Fun song, great arrangements. Loved the harmonies on the high part. The fact that it’s not one of my favorites on this album is indicative of just how good this album is. It’s actually a very good song, but there are just so many good ones to pick from!
Achai V’Reyai – Love the intro to this song. I think it’s actually my favorite part of the song. Love the arrangements and (no surprise) the harmonies, which like on every other song sound so fresh and original. Cute ending.
Mi Adir – Loved the piano on the intro. Would make great dinner music for a wedding. Again, a slightly unconventional ending adds character to this very pretty song.
Shalom Rav – sounds a lot like Al Tira on Dance It. Energetic, upbeat, makes you want to get up and dance. Love the “ooooohs!” on the high part, last time through.
Yivarechicha – Once again, well thought out harmonies take a good song to a whole new level. Maybe it’s just me, but something about this song seemed to have a Shalsheles-y flavor.