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Jewface

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 14, 2006
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$16.01 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Jewface + Songs of the Jewish-American Jet Set: The Tikva Records Story 1950-1973 + It's a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Where popular music is concerned, most immigrant populations begin by looking back toward their homelands before developing styles that reflect their own take on the slow, arduous process of assimilation. Eastern European Jewish musicians had especially rich traditions to draw upon, although in the old country, professional players were often treated like social pariahs. But this began to change in the New World; many vaudeville and big band tunes evolved from klezmer tunes and owe as much to long-ago shtetl weddings as Tin Pan Alley. The cover says it all: "Jewface" is a wry reference to "blackface," yet another form of ethnic minstrelsy that is presently regarded as unspeakably un-PC. Recorded as early as 1905 and rescued from fragile wax cylinders and 78-rpm recordings, the tunes collected here are chock-full of Yiddish-inflected dialect pieces (comedian Jackie Mason is a modern descendant). They are often crudely, raucously funny, if one can get past the now-repugnant stereotypes. These ditties, which must have cheered up thousands of lonely newcomers, are heard in understandably antique yet remarkably clear sound. All are well worth the price of admission but Irving Kaufman's "My Yiddisha Mammy," which probably inspired Al Jolson, and "Becky Is Back in the Ballet," recorded by Fanny Brice in 1922, are both falling-on-the-floor, boffo numbers--in more ways than one! --Christina Roden


1. Pittsburgh, PA.
2. My Yiddisha Mammy
3. Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars
4. My Friends, Morris And Max
5. Marry A Yiddisher Boy
6. I'm A Yiddish Cowboy
7. Under The Matzos Tree
8. When Mose With His Nose Leads The Band
9. No Hot Water Way Up In The Bronx
10. Becky Is Back In Ballet
11. That's Yiddish Love
12. Nat'an
13. The Original Cohans
14. Becky The Spanish Dancer
15. The Yiddisha Professor
16. Then I'd Be Satisfied With Life

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 14, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Idelsohn Society
  • ASIN: B000J3Q0Y8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,603 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew G. Sherwin HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Jewface is a CD that gives us sixteen musical numbers recorded in the very early 1900s about the Jewish experience in America. Naturally, some of the humor in these songs is today considered to be rather politically incorrect. Indeed, many Jews were displeased by these songs even then! However, those Jews had difficulty stopping this genre of music because it was mostly Jewish people themselves making these recordings. I think that although some of these songs are sometimes offensive, it's also important for us to be able to laugh at ourselves. That was the original intent of these musical numbers.

The quality of the sound is rather good considering the age of these recordings. Sometimes I had trouble hearing a word or two but overall I could easily follow along.

There are all sorts of songs on this CD performed mostly by Jews who were poking fun at their own culture. The track set opens with "Pittsburgh, PA." This song tells the story of a group of Jews, all of whom have last names ending in "burg" or "berg"--and, naturally, they have their affair in Pittsburgh! "My Yiddisha Mammy" is a takeoff on Al Jolson's "My Mammy;" this actually made me smile; it's kid of cute and somewhat amusing. Listen also for a less appealing view of an old Jew who can't rest until he gets back the money he's loaned out; "Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars" pictures a man who can't die happy unless his son collects his debts. Sigh.

"My Friends, Morris And Max" is very funny! It's a song about two men, Morris and Max, who pinch pennies constantly in their mom and pop business--but there's always money for a new automobile! I like how Maurice Burkhart sings that if you asked one of the two business partners for money, they would always refer you to the other partner.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Deborah B-Y on February 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is exactly what it advertises itself to be: a compendium of songs and comedy routines featuring the stereotypical Jewish immigrant parodies popular in vaudeville before the 1930's. PC it ain't, but a necessary piece of theatre history it is. To listen to Fanny Brice singing "Becky Is Back In The Ballet" is worth the price.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By L. Berman on January 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a very entertaining collection of quirky old Jewish vaudeville-type songs. Yes, they sound scratchy, because a number of them were taken from really old (wax cylinders, even) recordings, but we like old radio stuff, so this didn't bother us. These were all pieces that we had never heard before, and we love them. Uncensored, self-effacing American Jewish humor. Cultural history in a jewelcase. What's not to like?
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ivan J. Goldberg on January 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Anyone who would be offended by Jewface is probably not Jewish at all! We have always had the ability to laugh at ourselves and this CD is nothing less than pure gold to the grand tradition of angst.

Enjoy

Ivan Joseph Goldberg

Miracle Mastering Studios L.L.C.

P.S. - The mastering from these old wax gems is a job well done!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By COMPUTERJAZZMAN on December 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a piece of history that is barely remembered today, but helped to form what was to become American Popular music in the 20th century. These are original recordings from the years 1905-1924 of Jewish vaudevillians doing their musical routines, complete with over-the-top accents. I'm Jewish but I am not offended by any of the subject matter, which is very stereotypical of the day (songs like "Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars" or "My Friends, Morris And Max"). The earliest songs were lifted off of Edison wax cylinder recordings. Some of the songs have pops, hisses and scratches, but you will never find any of these recordings anywhere else.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Waller on April 20, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I remember recordings on this album. I got it for my Step father. If you'r from the lower East Side in NYC & Grew up in the 1920's 30's You'll like it.
I really prefer Miky Katz.
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