Jewface

  • Jewface – Various Artists (CD, $12.99)

    The trick with this release, Jewface, is mentioning it to loved ones and not getting smacked. In the event of such a reaction, quickly explain that Jewface is the world’s first and only anthology of Jewish minstrel songs, featuring works from Irving Berlin, Gus Kahn, Fanny Brice, Billy Murray, and other vaudeville greats from the turn of the 20 th century. Jewface brings together such rare old-school gems as “Cohen Owes me 97 Dollars,” “Under the Matzos Tree,” and “I’m a Yiddish Cowboy.” You could make these up, but we haven’t. The songs are unbelievably real. They predate irony, and yourself.

    Jewface curator Jody Rosen spent over 12 years traveling the country, hunting down the original wax cylinders and seventy-eight disc recordings. His hard work has not only yielded a treasure-trove of re-mastered original recordings from 1903-1924, but also has unmasked a forgotten dirty secret of pop music history; that some of the first hit records ever made were fiendishly catchy musical lampoons, created by Jews, for Jews, and actually loaded with anti-Semitic stereotypes.

    Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars by Irving Berlin

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