“We take a tune that’s sweet and low, and rock it solid and make it gold.” And rock it solid they did, on Our Way, the Barry Sisters’ eleventh, and last, full-length studio recording. Throughout their career, they consistently drew from the wells of Yiddish and English popular song, everything from “Without a Song” and “Cry Me a River” to “Hava Nagila” and “Chiribim Chiribom”. If adapting Jewish music to the rhythms and contours of the American pop landscape can be considered one of the dominant aesthetics of early twentieth century popular music, then the Barry Sisters ought to be considered crucial bi-cultural pioneers, part of the same treasured artistic genealogy that usually starts and stops with the Tin Pan Alley likes of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Harold Arlen. They didn’t turn America Jewish, they made Jewish sound more American.
On Our Way, the Barry Sisters choose the elegant tradition of popular song itself. They took on the 20s pop chestnut “Tea For Two,” used Yiddish to return the vanilla Perry Como smash “It’s Impossible” to its Mexican bolero roots, raided Hollywood for “Love Story” (imagine Ryan O’Neal crooning in Yiddish at the bedside of a dying Ali McGraw), raided Broadway for “Cabaret” and “Alice Blue Gown,” and turned out what just might be– second only to the one Cuban audio priestess La Lupe did just three years earlier– the most liberating version ever of the Sinatra staple, “My Way.”
My Way by The Barry Sisters