Yid Vicious / Klez, Kez, Goy mit Fez

Album cover: wonderful tritone image of instruments, cheeze, and a goy with a fez

Yid Vicious
Klez, Kez, Goy mit Fez

Uvulittle Records

For a couple of years now there has been a steady stream mentioning a mid-west klezmer band with a punk title and solid, traditional klezmer credentials. The band is Yid Vicious, and this album is better than solid. It dances and achives, maybe, some of that brass-propelled klezmer freilach sound that revival pioneers, The Klezmorim, sought oh so many years ago.

This is a solid instrumental album, the likes of which no one else has been able to make this good, and make it stick. No vocals here. No traditional or new Yiddish songs. One sephardic instrumental ("Por Que Llorax La Blanca Ninña"). Damn fine clarinet. Add powerful, soulful horns (Bob Jacobson's euphonium, flugabone (flugabone?), and accordion) driving the rhythm. Add in trumpet, guitars, bass, drums, and a violin that is very good, but perhaps needs a session at klezcamp to learn the difference between playing klezmer and playing celtic (okay, one minor flaw), and you have the best klezmer dance band of the season.

But, wait, there's more. Special mention needs to be made of the album cover, which is visual delight, wonderful song titles, and finally, I gratefully acknowledge this album as the official, "Cross-country drive, 1998" klezmer album, thanks to a rough mix CD that Bob Jacobson provided on an accident-ridden, otherwise sunny afternoon, when I pulled into Madison to catch the gang live. I can testify that the album not only sounds great under reasonable circumstances, but that even the rough mix makes the miles go much faster whilst driving a noisy truck cross country.

But don't believe me. If you aren't hooked by the time the band starts playing the tumultuous, celebratory closing medly, "Anarchy in the Ukraine," it can only be because you blew out the speakers on your stereo, having turned the music louder and louder and dancing (preferably with lots of people, but my partner and I have also, uh, never mind. At least one friend or partner) until the music blows your socks off. I already said it. Best klezmer dance music of the season. Even works well whilst driving a truck. Enjoy!

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 10/25/98

Personnel this recording:
Bob Jacobson: euphonium, flugabone (?), accordion
Daithi Wolfe: fiddle
Christina Baade: clarinet
David Austin: trumpet
Mike Pollay: guitars
Matt Appleby: bass
Jon Pollack: drums


  1. A vicious bulgar (trad., via "La'Om") 3:52
  2. Baym Rebn's Sude--At the rebbe's table (trad., via "The Klezmorim") 5:25
  3. Khsidim Tants (trad., arr. YV) 3:38
  4. Hora mit Tsibeles--Hora with onions (trad.) 4:51
  5. Leben Zol Palestina (Naftule Brandwein) 3:27
  6. Never Mind the Cossacks (trad., sher medley, arr. YV) 5:15
  7. Por Que Llorax La Blanca Niña--Why the Pale Girl Cries (trad. Sephardic) 2:45
  8. Terkishe Yale V'yove Tantz (Naftule Brandwein) 5:07
  9. Devil's Sher (trad., after IJ Hochman and Boiled in Lead) 3:44
  10. Tantz, Tantz, Kneydlekh--Dance, Dance Matzo Balls (trad., after Le'om) 4:24
  11. Nokh a Glezl Vayn--Another glass of wine (trad.) 4:56
  12. Behusher Khusid (trad.) 2:42
  13. Fun Tashlikh--at the casting away of sins (Naftule Brandwein, via the Klezmatics) 3:01
  14. Anarchy in the Ukraine (trad., arr. YV) 9:11

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack Ari's home page
to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page