According to the label on K'shoshana, MoC's new album, the songs on it are previously unrecorded Carlbach compositions. Naturally, before I'd even heard a single tune, this gave me the first sentence of my review "Unrecorded songs are usually left unrecorded for a reason."
Or, so I thought.
I can't pretend to have any knowledge of music. I just know what I like, and what I don't like, and what I especially dislike is Jewish music that is too loud, too synthesized, and too predictable. [High part, high part, low part, low part. And repeat.] I keep one Jewish album in my car - Williger's Carlbach Shabbos - and, by my lights, a hit Jewish song is one we can use for kedusha more than 10 times without the tzibbur greeting it with a groan.
Though there's nothing on K'shoshana that a chazan might employ on shabbos morning, the songs are appealing. There's almost nothing of the bad sort of Jewish music about them. Instead of being loud, these are gentle, and sweet. The best of them -I mean Ravrevin, Tsur Yisrael, and Ki Lekach Tov - stay with you, which is my laymen's way of judging a hit song, Jewish or not.
On Friday night, a few of us will occasionally sit together, say at a Sholom Zacher, and sing the old standards. The scotch flows, and as the music swells I start to feel like one of my ancestors from before television, and movies. We may have electric lights, instead of bonfires, but there's still a primal camaraderie that forms when men pass around a bottle and sing together. Will Ravrevin join the canon? Will it one day become a Friday night drinking song like Esah Anai (el haharim) or L'maan Achai V'ray-eye? I don't know enough about music to make that sort of prediction, but I plan to do my part. The next time we sing together, I'm teaching it to my friends.
[Disclosure: MoC gave me a review copy, and MoC and I are old blogging freinds]