Living in America

By , June 28, 2012 10:36 am

Now you can celebrate the 4th of July and your Jewish heritage at the same time.

This new compilation of songs from the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, FL is about the American Jewish experience.

It contains  Yiddish songs recorded during the early 20th century and expresses a Jewish immigrant perspective on New York, Coney Island and other things distinctly American.

You will also hear American patriotic songs sung by Jewish performers, Mike Burstyn singing about America in Hebrew and, from FAU’s Recorded Sound Archives Vintage 78s Collection, a very young Frank Sinatra singing “America the Beautiful.”

Click on the image above to hear this special compilation of songs from the JSA.

1. My America’s Free: Written byJerome Lipman and Irving Lewis. Sung by Molly Picon and Seymour Rechtzeit with the Abraham Ellstein Orchestra and Dave Tarras on clarinet. This upbeat tune lists some of the many things to love about America…..especially freedom!

2. Ich Dank dir Got fur America: Sung by Liebele Waldman.

3. America: Sung by Yiddish Theater star, Josef Feldman.

4. Yankee Doodle: This well-known Anglo-American song from the revolutionary War era is sung by Jewish singer/educator, Judy Caplan Ginsburgh.

5. I’m Going to Miami: Benny Bell tells a story of his trip to Miami Beach, Florida by train.

6. Hot Dogs and Knishes: Aaron Lebedeff sings this comic Yiddish song about Coney Island, NY.

7. Hurray far NY: This recording is from a 1967 recording of Pesach Burstein’s Yiddish Theater performance from “The Vilna Komiker.”

8. America Ich Lieb Dich (America I Love You): Sung by Yiddish Theater star, Gus Goldstein.

9. Ragtime Fiddle: Written by Irving Berlin and sung by Simon Paskal

10. Carry Me Back to Old Virginny: Originally a song sung by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, it was recast in 1878 from the slave’s perspective. This 1916 recording by Jewish opera star, Alma Gluck, is said to have been the first operatic celebrity recording to ever sell a million copies.

11. Tell That to the Marines: Written during WWI,  sung by Al Jolson.

12. God Bless the USA: This recordingis from the Judy Caplan Ginsburgh album, Musical America.

13. America America: Mike Burstyn’s tribute to the land of his birth sung in Hebrew.

14. America the Beautiful: This recording by a very young Frank Sinatra is from FAU’s Recorded Sound Archives Vintage 78rpm music collection.

Aaron Lebedeff: Yiddish comedy super-star

By , June 11, 2012 9:25 am

Aaron Lebedeff was a Yiddish theater super star whose popularity among Jews during the 1920s and 1930s made his name a household word.  More than 80 years before performers could go viral on the internet, Lebedeff was making a name for himself by driving audiences wild with his energetic and exuberant live performances. He was a super-star, like Mick Jagger, who was able to excite audiences and leave them wanting more.

His devil-may-care free spirit, love of life and allusions to sensual delights helped to create his exciting persona.  Whether dressed in traditional Russian garb and boots or formal attire with straw hat and cane, his dynamic presence always kept him the center of attention. He understood nostalgia for the shtetl and was able use it to rouse his audiences’ emotions. His best known recording, Roumania, Roumania, was originally released in 1925. His second version, recorded with Sholem Secunda and Dave Tarras in 1941, became a best-selling Yiddish recording during the 1940s and still brings a smile to almost everyone who hears it!

Because the JSA has received more copies of this recording than any other single 78 rpm disc, we regularly play it on our vintage 1924 Victrola for guests who visit us at FAU’s Wimberly Library in Boca Raton, FL.

Hot Dogs and Knishes! is a comic ditty with a catchy chorus that even includes a barking dog. Hot dogs and knishes, romance and Coney Island ….. you can almost smell the nostalgia. Lebedeff’s output of records was prolific. He recorded for Emerson, Brunswick, and Vocalion.

Born in Homel, White Russia, in 1873, Lebedeff made his NYC debut in October 1920 at Thomashevsky’s National Theater, located at Second Avenue and Houston Street on New York’s Lower East Side.  He was an instant sensation! His success and popularity grew throughout the 1920s and 1930s. During the 1940s and into the 1950s his career continued to thrive though revivals. He continued to perform until his death in 1960.

The Judaica Sound Archives has created this special Lebedeff online collection just for you!  It contains three LPs produced by Collectors Guild and ten songs recorded on 78rpm which are in the public domain. Users of the Judaica Sound Archives Scholars Research Station have access to 186 songs on 78 rpm discs and 12 LP albums.

If you would like to donate your recordings by Aaron Lebedeff or any other Jewish performer to the JSA, please click here.

Click here to listen to songs in the JSA online collection by Aaron Lebedeff.

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