Hebrew School

The Most Mishige
October 3, 2007, 5:45 am
Filed under: jewish music | Tags: ,

I’m not sure why I think Mickey Katz is so cool. Is it because he had sinister clarinet chops and his band totally rocked? Is it because he’s Jennifer Grey’s grandfather? Or because he sang half in Yiddish, relegating many of his words and references to the realm of mystery for me? Or is it because he was completely out of his mind?

above: Katz at the UN

Katz not only pioneered send-ups of popular songs long before Weird Al Yankovic wrote Yoda (I still prefer a certain movie imitation of said muppet); all of his parodies were Jewish and yet he was still immense in his time. My favorite Mickey songs: “Knish Doctor,” “How Much is that Pickle in the Window,” “Schlemiel of Fortune.” Some more album covers from his Capitol and RCA years:


Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass

I’ve been looking for this one for a while, and, mah rabu ma-asecha Hashem (yep, Her creations clearly are wondrous), it appeared on the WFMU blog Sunday night (obviously sleep was a bad idea). It appeared along with a score of other Tijuana Brass wannabe bands. No, I did not realize there were so many. Al Tijuana, pictured, is none other than comedian Lou Jacobi, arguably known best for his role as a transvestite husband in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).

The album is a mix of TJB standards (“The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Malaguena”), 50s and 60s popular songs, and Jewish classics (“Tsena, Tsena”), interspersed with periodic un-funny quips from Jacobi– “Never on a Sunday? Well we say never on a Saturday!” Compare with Mickey Katz, brilliant parodist and actual musician– admit it, David, you hate it.

Well, okay, but a few shining moments– the theme to Peter Gunn, “A Taste of Honey,” “It’s Not Unusual.”  Not, it’s not.

n.b. Lest you be deterred by the spate of easy listening posts these past few weeks, please remember that I can and do rock. (youtube link)