Haven’t put a new album in the casket yet, but this one’s a great choice.
Several years ago, an archivist found a collection of old radio station acetate recordings in a New York City storage locker. What was on the acetates? Recordings of music and commercials and songs and news reports, all from 1940’s-era Jewish radio stations in New York City. He had the recordings carefully transferred to a digital format, and then produced a series of radio broadcasts that contained snippets from these acetates. Eventually he produced a compact disc of recordings from the archive.
This is some good stuff. Trust me on this.
I heard a portion of “The Yiddish Radio Project” on NPR a while back, and was totally fascinated by the concept. I mean, they’ve got radio jingles for products like Ajax household cleanser and Manischewitz matzo. Trust me, you know how difficult it is to spell “Manischewitz”? Well, they got an app for that – er, a jingle for that.
Many of the recordings from the Yiddish Radio Project can be found on this website, and it’s quite fascinating. You can hear radio commercials and klezmer swing music, along with sponsorship announcements and commentary of the time.
For example, take a listen to this recording by Dave Tarras and his Orchestra, as they perform “The Bridegroom Special” – along with a commercial from Pepsi-Cola and some other pre-performance messages.
Nice. And here’s another performance by Dave Tarras and his Orchestra, as they do “Die Goldene Chasene” – live on WHN New York.
Pretty danceable stuff, eh?
The Yiddish radio stations in New York were filled with commercials. It’s almost as if the commercials were interrupted by more commercials, with a break for even more commercials. Two Borscht Belt comedians, the Barton Brothers, took a Yiddish radio commercial for a Jewish clothing store and turned it into a hit novelty record that spoofed the heavily commercialized radio stations of the time.
This is a cute song as well, it’s “Yitl Mitn Fidl” and it’s sung bilingually by the Barry Sisters – both in Yiddish and in English.
And why would I want to take this with me to the next world? Come on now… it should be evident. If these transcription discs were never found… oh man, we would never get to experience this fantastic slice of world music.
This is only tangentially related, but I think you’ll dig it. A lot. For years I’ve been fascinated with the Borscht Belt, Upstate’s connection to the progression of American humor. What a treat it was to stumble on this a few years ago, taken from a 1949 film called “Catskill’s Honeymoon,” filmed at a resort called Young’s Gap Hotel; I haven’t seen it but understand it had a loose plot to make an excuse for a showcase of the entertainment of the era. Linguists call this mostly dead dialect Yinglish or Ameridish.
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