Growing up in Liverpool, England, in the 1980s, Roger Bennett was not a traditional Jew. In his adolescence he was as likely to be found on Saturday mornings at soccer games as at synagogue, and had a bar mitzvah immediately followed by a punk-rock theme party.
But while he was being introduced to A Flock of Seagulls and Echo and the Bunnymen, Mr. Bennett, now 38, an author and musicologist, was also secretly savoring a different kind of pop. Through his mother he discovered the albums of the Barry Sisters, two Jewish siblings who performed Yiddish covers of “My Way” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” and the Irving Fields Trio, whose 1959 album “Bagels and Bongos” set traditional Jewish songs to Latin rhythms. “If Hebrew school had sounded like that,” Mr. Bennett said in an interview, “I never would have left.”