Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Had enough matzah yet?

We're halfway through Chag Ha-Pesach, and our over-consumption of white flour is beginning to have an effect on the internal organs.  (They do sell whole wheat matzah, which isn't bad, but we never seem to be able to stock enough of it to last through the week.)  So, to help get you through the next few days with a smile, here are a few 'Songs you never learned in shul' relating to - what else? - the Bread of Affliction: 

From the great Allan Sherman we have "Mammy's Litttle Baby Loves Matzoballs", the finale of 'Shticks and Stones' from his landmark first LP, 'My Son the Folksinger'. There is much more to say about Allan Sherman (and we shall) but in the meantime there are rewards aplenty for those who search out his TV appearances on YouTube.

There is also much that can be said about the legendary 1930s jazz hipster Slim Gaillard, whose Yiddish inflected novelty tunes can be heard on multiple CD compilations. Slim recorded several memorable paeans on his love for Jewish foods, among them, "Matzah Balls," which appears on the excellent Columbia CD of proto-Jewish pop, 'From Ave. A To The Great White Way', and thus can only be excerpted here.

As you can hear, Gaillard seems to enjoy eating his matzah balls with gefilte fish.  To each his own, I suppose, but that brings me to the deliciously named 1980s California group Gefilte Joe and the Fish. Gefilte Joe (who he actually is/was is a mystery to me) was not the first (nor the last) Jewish humorist to channel Mel Brook's Yiddish accented 2000 Year Old Man. As you can hear on "Matzoh Man," (from a curious and long-out-of-print Rhino Records six-pointed-star-shaped EP - on blue vinyl(!) - called 'Hanukkah Rocks') he 'sings' in a way that makes you wonder if it's a total put-on or whether he's just your average disco-loving Jewish grampa.

1 comment:

Robin Shtulman said...

Thank you for this posting. Allan Sherman is an incredible slice of my childhood and I cannot help but laugh! The audio you posted made my day.