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Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

WOODY GUTHRIES HAPPY JOYOUS HANUKKAH

Amazon.com

This second interpretation of Woody Guthrie's Jewish-themed lyrics by the Klezmatics--America's premiere Yiddish band--revolves around Hanukkah, and by the title, it's not surprising that most of the offerings boast a lively tone. Guthrie, the Dust Bowl balladeer, lived in post-war Brooklyn (Coney Island, to be exact), and, inspired by his mother-in-law, the Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt, wrote a newly found series of poems that focused on Jewish culture. Primarily set to music by the Klezmatics' Lorin Sklamberg and Frank London, the holiday lyrics come alive to prayerful Hasidic nigunim and playful klezmer freylekhs, as well as to Nashville-tinged country fare. The band also conjured several instrumentals to flesh out Guthrie's slight Hanukkah catalogue, though the funk-'n'-jazz "(Do the) Latke Flip-Flip" seems a mistake. Sequenced near Guthrie's "The Many and the Few," a somber persecution-and-renewal story song about King Cyrus's release of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, it seems as out of place as Christmas in October. But this innovative collaboration still has the makings of a holiday classic, as appealing to children as to the parents who spawned them. --Alanna Nash
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 5, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B000H30BS6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,741 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Ramsey on April 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
In recent years, the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives have been opening up their collection to musicians who would like to write (and then record) melodies for the many dozens of unscored lyrics left by Woody Guthrie in his declining years. Billy Bragg initially created 2 wonderful albums (and a DVD movie) doing that, followed by other artists such as the delightful Jonatha Brooke. One of the best, surprisingly enough, was the Klezmatics' 2006 album "Wonder Wheel", full of rich musical textures that offset the profound Guthrie lyrics perfectly.

I was interested to see whether this "Happy Joyous Hanukka" album would be a continuation or just what. Well, yes and no.

To be quite clear about what this album is, tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 are indeed Guthrie lyrics set to new tunes by the Klezmatics. Secondly, tracks 7 and 12 are written entirely by Woody Guthrie, basically amounting to Klezmatics covers of 2 very obscure Guthrie songs, and the Klezmatics do cover those songs quite well. Thirdly, tracks 3, 5, 8 and 10 are instrumental klezmer dance tracks written entirely by the Klezmatics, with no discernible Woody content. I really don't have much history with that type of music, but I suppose these are all very decent klezmer performances, and they seem to contain lots of original post-modern cleverness and spirit. Evidently, they were included in order to tie together the album with a feeling of Hanukkah festivity.

Of the 6 collaboration tracks, most of the tunes are emotionally powerful, diversely influenced and well conceived. Only track 2, an uptempo 3-chord piece of frivolity, seems to lack the substance of the other tunes.
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Format: Audio CD
I wasn't certain what to expect from this odd collaboration, but it is one of the Klezmatics' best works! They seem to have taken some poems on the topic of Chanukah that were written by Woody Guthrie, who was himself not Jewish but whose wife was Jewish. They've composed music around the poetry and recorded it here.

The music is terrific -- our family loves it. The two kids play this CD over and over, yet the two parents still like it (!), which by itself makes the disc an extaordinary find. But the most notable thing is that the lyrics and music sound of one piece, which is a real art given that I think the whole thing was done posthumously.

Also -- I believe that there were other non-holiday poems also written by Guthrie, so they ended up making two CDs -- the other is called Wonder Wheel, though I don't own that one yet. I'll get it though, since this project was so perfectly executed.
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I read the Honeyky Hanukah book at a Chanukah book reading at a Book Store. I played the song. Everyone enjoyed both. I loved hearing about Woody Guthrie's connection to Jewish music. It was like a little Chanukah miracle. What a treat! The Klezmatics performing Woodie Guthrie's Jewish songs!
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I think that Gutherie's "HAPPY JOYOUS HANUKKAH" CD is great, especially for children. The songs are surely joyous and wonderful to listen to. My only complaint were the addition of 4 pieces ("Gilad and Ziv's Sibra", "Latke Flip-Flop", "Groovy"s Freyekhs", and "Spin Dreydl Spin") that were not written by Gutherie and made no sense for this project.
Still, I would highly recommend this CD>
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Thank you to Klezmatics for performing Woody Guthrie's music for Hannukah! Excellent CD...used Happy Joyous Hannukah to create a Contra-Line Dancde for my Children's Choir this year! They love it! Looking forward to using the other songs on the CD as we celebrate Hannukah! Woody's grand-daughter is coming to our area this week...looking forward to the concert!
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The Kelzmatics do a very nice job with Woody Guthrie's lyrics. Love his songs! Bob Dylan may have studied with him, but Woody is the real legend and talent of folk music. Woody's Hanukkah songs are the most unique I have ever heard and I just love them!!! I have given this album to several of my friends.
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Woody Guthrie...for Hanukkah. A gift every joyous Jewish family will love. And Wonder Wheel by the Klezmatics was nominated for a Grammy... and may actually win it (Grammy's are next week). Woody may be gone, but the Klezmatics have made his fun, sweet spirit come to life... with a Jewish edge.

Great!
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This is an unexpected pleasure. And it gives you what it says on the cover - happy joyous music.

Is there anything for pesach?
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