Noch a Sjoh
Robert Hager: Bastuba
Jaap Mulder: klarinet, saxofoon, zang
Tseard Nauta: trombone, banjo, viool, zang
Sjaak van der Reijden: trompet
Jacob Sijtsma: accordeon
Pieter de Vries: slagwerk
The only problem that I have with this album is that I've already heard the subsequent one, and, while I can hear in this many of the things that I loved about the first Di Gojim album that I heard, I also hear the things that would be more fully realized in the most recent fun sjtetl un sjtets.
The opening Boiberiker Drejlach reminds me very much of the opening to "Fun Sjtetl un Sjtets. It's a thoughtful medley that lets the band show its chops before proceeding to mere songs. Other songs on the album, such as the "Moldavische Suite" also demonstrate that thoughtful, instrumental side of the band. Naming a medley after Shalom Aleichem's imaginary town is a wonderful touch, as well, putting the mind into just the right mood. At the same time, the band is just as able as ever to joke through a weepy satire such as "Joske for Awek" and yet, showing how well they understand of what they are making fun, ends it perfectly with a melancholy Lubavitcher Nigun.
As is to be expected, the band has fun with some of my favorite standards, and does them well. In particular, "Zhankoye," (here called "Dshankoje", also sometimes called "The way to Sebastopol"), a paen to Jewish collectivization in Stalin's USSR (and a song a friend tends to introduce as "that song about forced Jewish labor under Stalin") is done quite credibly. It's one of my favorite songs. They also manage to have fun with "Ale Brider," something that gets harder every year since the Klezmatics brought it to our attention a few years ago. (In a rare slip, they go traditional on this version, forgetting to sing about "alle shvestern".) Instrumentally, they have fun with Tarras numbers such as a "Rumänische Nigunim" that might have seemed libertine to Tarras, but work here perfectly, and manage to bring Brandwein to life, as well, as in the "Vi bistu gewejsn far prohibition." Lest this sound like a reworking of historic materials, let me emphasize that this is very, very much an album of its time. It's that ability to take this material and make it fresh and exciting that typify the band.
All in all, this CD is yet another reason to approve of Di Gojim. And, as previous and subsequent recordings prove, you haven't heard nothing yet!
Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 2/19/97.