It seems like half the people I talk to who are in involved in the Jewish music business are 30 year old guys. They’ve brought about tremendous change and on the whole, they’ve created an energy, an excitement and a level of enthusiasm that was has only benefited Jewish music.
But I have news for you guys. You didn’t invent Jewish music. It was around long before you. I probably even have records in my house that are older than you guys. Yes, records. I admit it. Not only do I own cassette tapes and a million tape recorders, but I have a record collection. And a turntable to play them on.
So while you have brought us a whole new generation of Jewish superstars, while you’ve raised the bar in Jewish music, there’s a lot of old stuff out there that is quite good. Obviously the production levels aren’t the same. Imagine the equipment they were working with back then! But it might be worth your while to take a listen. There is some beautiful stuff out there. And for all those of you who keep complaining about the high cost of CDs, some of it is even out there in the bargain bins of your local Judaica store.
For starters, there’s my all time favorite album, Miami Choir Boys Victory Entebbe. And no, that’s not a typo. They were called Miami Choir Boys on that album, not Miami Boys Choir. What an album! Bamarom, Victory Entebbe, Shifchi…all awesome songs. I keep waiting for this one to end up in the clearance bin but it hasn’t happened yet.
Amudai Shaish: their first album was quite good, despite the gorilla on the cover. (Can you imagine a boys choir doing that today?) Their second album, a double, was groundbreaking at the time. It featured more than its fair share of good songs and hits such as Baruch Hagever and Al HaNissim which have stood the test of time and are still heard today. And the pictures of the choir boys in their circa1980 costumes and glasses are just priceless.
Toronto Boys Choir, Volume 2 – another great album. Practically every song is a winner. Miami Meets Toronto – a joint effort between Miami Boys Choir and Toronto Boys Choir with terrific songs like L’maan Tzion, Amar Rabbi Elazar and the classic Horeini. Can you imagine Miami and Yeshiva Boys teaming up and producing an album together? I think not. New York School of Jewish Song, Volume 1. With hits such as Ravrivin, Kol B’Rama, Va’Amarten Ko L’Chai and Hinei Ma Tov.
And then there were the groups that just kept pumping out one terrific album after another. All the early JEPs. London School of Jewish Song. So many beautiful songs, I couldn’t possibly even begin to name them all. I’m sure there are so many other terrific albums and great songs out there that I didn’t mention. Feel free to post your comments and let me know what I missed.
So listen up, everyone. There is a treasure trove of music out there, just waiting for you to discover it. A lot of it is even available on CD. Go to Sameach’s website. Go to Aderet’s website. Listen to the clips. You may very well be surprised at what you hear. The fact that it may be older than you are doesn’t mean that it isn’t good.