"The Klezmatics have always chosen the path less traveled in its 20 years as a band. And with a variety of lefty political messages injected into traditional klezmer music, there's no disputing its reputation as radical. This live effort is a collaboration with guest singers Joshua Nelson and Kathryn Farmer joining in on the fun. The Newark, New Jersey-based Nelson brings (believe it or not) a serious gospel music flair to four songs, turning the klezmer band into a fire-and-brimstone gospel group as he exhorts both the players and the crowd on songs like gospel standard "Walk Into Jerusalem." The remarkable pairing is more balanced on the rest of the album, but never better than on "Shnirele, Perele," a duet featuring Nelson and Klezmatics singer Lorin Sklamberg that has an ecstatic drama that bridges these seemingly contradictory religious cultures. The album's eight new songs and two hits is as good a collection yet produced by this band, and one of the most remarkable examples of genre-bending heard in years.
To the question of what this all means in terms of Frank London's sense of new American Jewish music, he responded: "Links in the chain, Ari." Which takes me back to where I began: the dialogue about what it means to be Jewish is alive and well. Judaism and Jewish culture are no longer frozen in time as they seemed to be during my growing up in the shadow of WWII. The Holocaust didn't succeed. Bands like the Klezmatics—especially the Klezmatics, are playing amazing music linked directly to the chain of Jewish tradition, and more. It's perfectly okay to purchase this album because it contains great live music. What makes this album great is that there is so much more here than mere great live music. Enjoy."
"The entire band pitches in vocally on several cuts to great effect, particularly on a cheerful a capella 'Moses Smote the Water´, and the instrumental contributions from the 'Matics are superb as usual, with particular garlands due Matt Darriau´s reeds. A pure delight from start to finish."
"One spiritual transformation after another... makes being black and Jewish seem as obvious and natural as matzo."
"A moving summit of African-American, Jewish worker's, spiritual and festive songs."
01. Eyliyohu hanovi (trad., arr. London)
02. Elijah rock (trad., arr. Klezmatics and Joshua Nelson)
03. Ki loy nue (trad., arr. Klezmatics)
04. Shnirele, perele (trad., arr. Klezmatics)
05. Walk in Jerusalem (trad., arr. Klezmatics and Joshua Nelson)
06. Go down Moses (trad., arr. Klezmatics and Kathryn Farmer)
07. Moses smote the water (trad., arr. Klezmatics)
08. Oh Mary don't you weep (Sam Cooke / Leroy Crume)
09. Didn't it rain (trad., arr. Klezmatics, Joshua Nelson)
10. Ale brider (trad., arr. Klezmatics)
Lorin Sklamberg: lead vocals, accordion
Frank London: trumpet, keyboard, organ, vocals
Matt Darriau: alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, vocals
Lisa Gutkin: violin, vocals
Paul Morrissett: bass, tsimbl, vocals
David Licht: drums, vocals
Joshua Nelson: lead vocals, piano, organ
Kathryn Farmer: lead vocals, piano, organ