And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl: The Jewish Past As Told by the Records We Have Loved and Lost

Overview

What started out as a mutual affinity for kitschy Jewish album covers–think Neil Diamond baring his chest hair on the cover of Hot August Night or Barbra Streisand in hot pants on the cover of Streisand Superman–soon became a quest for identity, history, and culture between the grooves of LPs.

Together, Roger Bennett and Josh Kun embarked on a thrilling journey, scouring the world to collect thousands of vinyl LPs from attics, garage sales, and dusty archives. Pieced together, ...

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Overview

What started out as a mutual affinity for kitschy Jewish album covers–think Neil Diamond baring his chest hair on the cover of Hot August Night or Barbra Streisand in hot pants on the cover of Streisand Superman–soon became a quest for identity, history, and culture between the grooves of LPs.

Together, Roger Bennett and Josh Kun embarked on a thrilling journey, scouring the world to collect thousands of vinyl LPs from attics, garage sales, and dusty archives. Pieced together, these scratched, once-loved and now-forgotten audio gems tell a vibrant tale: the story of Jews in America. And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl spans the history of Jewish recorded music from the 1940s to the 1980s, weaving an account that begins with sacred songs and ends with the holy trinity of Neil, Barbra, and Barry. The LPs found here are also a love letter to forgotten moments in Jewish American pop history, celebrating well-dressed cantors singing Christmas tunes, Long Island suburbanites dancing the mambo, and Chassidic prog-rockers.

The music, much of which is no longer available in any format, is brought to life through commentary from writers Aimee Bender, Etgar Keret, Michael Wex, and Shalom Auslander; performers Sandra Bernhard and Motown legend Lamont Dozier; music critics Oliver Wang and Anne Powers; and TV pioneer Norman Lear. A gateway to a forgotten kingdom of sound, the good, the bad, and the ugly of Jewish vinyl gives this aspect of Jewish culture the attention it so richly deserves.

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Editorial Reviews

Steven Heller
The book features more than 400 album covers from a wide variety of Jewish LPs: Bagels & Lox! by Pearl Williams; Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos, by Juan Calle and His Latin Lantzmen; The Voice of the Seder, by Rabbi Isaac C. Avigdor; and Jewish Wedding Dances, by Sam Musiker. My favorite is Batman & Rubin, by the comedy duo Allen and Rossi. Although only a few of these album covers were designed with more sophistication than a deli menu, for those raised on a steady diet of them the book will be a holiday feast, heartburn and all.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416132288
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/18/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

ROGER BENNETT and JOSH KUN are the creators of www.trailofourvinyl.com and cofounders of Reboot Stereophonic, a nonprofit record label dedicated to rereleasing lost classics from the Jewish past.

ROGER BENNETT is a board member of the Academy of the Recent Past (www.academyoftherecentpast.com) and the co-creator of Bar Mitzvah Disco and Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies.

JOSH KUN is associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America and a contributor to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

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