A couple of months ago Tzudik Greenwald’s album, Brothers, was released, and immediately I started getting requests to review it. I had not heard a lot about the album and with so much else coming out it got swept under the rug. Well, I finally got around to getting and listening to it, and I am ashamed at myself for not being one of the first people out there to buy it. Tzudik is an amazing talent with an amazing voice, and I have enjoyed his album immensely. In my opinion, Yossi Green is the perfect producer for an album like this. He has previously produced albums for similar types of chazzanim/performers (Dudu Fisher comes to mind) and seems to have a good feeling for the perfect types of songs to highlight such a powerful chazzanish, yet sweet voice. Yossi is also the main composer on this album. Tzudik proves to be quite versatile and able to handle the different styles presented on this album. I don’t know how popular of a performer he will become in the US (especially since he lives in Eretz Yisroel) but he is one amazing talent, and his album is such a great listen.
Here is my song by song assessment:
Gadlu- I love how this song begins with Tzudik singing a chazzanishe piece accompanied by organ music. The song quickly gets lebedik, and by the 3rd part of the song, it is a pumping disco. Yossi Green adds his inimitable backup vocals. Shua Fried nails the essence of the song with his musical arrangements. I must say this song alone got me hooked on Tzudik!
Al Eileh- This is a haunting and soulful song, matching the sad words from Megilas Eichah. The only issue I have with this song is that it seems like Yossi Green does a good portion of the vocals on this song. He happens to sound amazing, however I would have loved to hear how even more amazing Tzudik would have made the song sound singing it all himself.
Ano Avdo- A very fun sounding disco is a perfect way to get back in a good and upbeat mood, after such a serious song. Again, Yossi Green handles a good portion of the vocals. I like the ending of the song. All in all it’s a nice enjoyable song to listen to.
Kol Mekadesh- With the song starting as a hartizge song, Tzudik’s vocal talents really shine in this Shabbos zemer! I like how the song becomes a bit upbeat in the middle and switches back slow. I can imagine this being sung at a Shabbos seudah (although for you who remember my personal shita on new songs from zemiros, it will probably not be sung by mine).
Shabbat Menucha- This is a Mediterranean styled horah. It starts and ends with a boy’s choir singing and also features some Middle Eastern/Sephardi sounding synthesizer music. It is also a very enjoyable song!
Modim- This is an upbeat song composed and arranged by Mona Rosenblum. This is one of my favorite songs on this album for two reasons. For one, with all the sophistication in Jewish music today, I still enjoy the throwback simple song/arrangements, which remind me of the styles of 15-20 years ago. This song fulfills that for me. My second reason is that the chazzanishe interlude and the ending of the song really highlight Tzudik’s voice and range, and make this a very geshmake song!
Sha’as Rachamim- This is another haunting and soulful song, this time with words from Avinu Malkeinu. It is composed and expertly arranged by father and son duo Moshe and Eli Laufer. This is another hartzige song that really lets Tzudik’s voice shine.
Sim Shalom- This is a swing style song composed by Yossi Green and arranged by Menachem Bristovsky. It has Yossi Green style written all over it (which is not a bad thing) and it features Yossi’s vocals as well. There is a chazzanishe interlude in the middle of the song and at the end of the song as well. It is another enjoyable song to listen to.
Blessed in Heaven’s Eyes- Even without looking at the jacket cover I can tell this is a Ken Burgess song, and is also arranged by Ken as well. The choir featured on this song is The Black Hebrews Choir, from Dimona. It is a meaningful and enjoyable song.
Brothers- The last song on this album is also the title track. It is a lebedik song that combines words from Tehillim together with Yiddish and English words, both translations of the words from Tehillim. It really helps the album end with a bang!
The recurring theme of my review is that this album is enjoyable! I enjoyed it and I am sure you will too! It is available everywhere good Jewish music is sold!