Mendy Wald: Echad

echadSo many new albums come out every year. Some are blockbusters and become hugely popular. Others just seem to go by unnoticed. But the fact that a CD seems to slip under the radar doesn’t mean that isn’t worth a listen. So while practically every Jewish music lover has a copy of 8th Note and Omar Dovid, there are lots of other CDs out there that are worthwhile.

Case in point: Mendy Wald’s Echad . I’ll admit it. I hadn’t heard too much of Wald’s earlier work. But the title track on his Koach album was an excellent song. And his Mimkomcha from L’Chaim is simply stunning. So when Echad came out, I figured it was worth a listen. I figured right.

I will tell you this right away. This CD is not a blockbuster, and Wald won’t be headlining concerts any time soon. But so what? Wald has a very good voice and every song he chose was well suited to his abilities. There were several excellent songs on this album and a few others that were perfectly nice. If you’re looking for some new music to add to your collection,
this may be a good choice.

Some thoughts on the cover and CD booklets in general. The cover by Shloimy Zeiger is nice. But when I opened up the insert, I was immediately struck by the thought that whoever did this booklet also did Baruch Levine’s V’Zakeini, because while both the watermark in the background and (obviously) the name of the artist are different, these booklets could be twins and were definitely done by the same person. Now, I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing. I understand the need for an eye catching cover. But maybe it’s time to stop investing so much time, effort and money in the insert?

Echod: This funky, off-beat, techno song may is, hands down, the best song on the album. It has fabulous lyrics from T’zfanya, of all places, and you have to listen to it quite few times before you can actually sing along with it. Ron Tichon did an awesome job on the arrangements. There are a few things were a little surprising for me – I don’t get why the music fades in and out during the introduction. And I would have done the ending differently. But all in all, I love this song. Definitely not your typical Yossi Green song!

Tzadik: A perfectly acceptable Yitzy Bald song with arrangements by Moshe Laufer, sung nicely by Wald. This time the lyrics are from Chabakuk. Nice to see lyrics from so many unusual sources.

Veseioreiv: (For those of you who can’t figure out what that spells, it’s V’Sayoreiv, from before duchening.) Without even checking the booklet, I knew immediately who composed this song. It’s classic Baruch Levine and Wald does an amazing job with it. His voice is full and rich and Heshy Mandel’s choir complements Wald nicely. The arrangements by Moshe Laufer are clean and uncluttered.

Marbeh: This Middle Eastern song is the first of two contributions by Mendy Werzberger who also contributes vocals.

Z’Chor: A pretty Mechel Leiber song with beautiful arrangements by Yisroel Lamm. Wald really has a chance to show just how versatile his voice really is.

Hashem Echod: I wish I spoke Yiddish so I would know what the words to this fun song actually mean. Without even understanding them, I will tell you that the lyrics sound great with the music. Composed and nicely arranged by Moshe Laufer, this upbeat song is among the best on the album and Wald sounds great. Once again, Lipa Schmeltzer proves that he has a great hand for lyrics. But what’s with the motorcycle at the end?

Galei: Typical slow song by Mendy Werzberger, arranged by Moshe Laufer. While there is nothing particularly memorable about this song, Wald sings it well.

Ono Hashem: Wald does a nice job with this Pinky Weber song. Nice ending by Wald.

Mi Yaaleh: Beautiful slow song composed and produced by JJ Fried, that just begs you to sing along, maybe even make up a few harmonies. Simple, beautiful and a great pick by Wald. One of the best songs on the CD.

Yisimcho: Another slow song, this one by Mechel Leiber, with gorgeous arrangements by Yisroel Lamm. While Wald is fantastic on his own with this one, the choir by Heshy Mandel adds even more to this haunting song.

If you’re tired of listening to the same songs over and over again you might want to give Echad a try.

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