BN.com Gift Guide

Wonder Wheel

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Who knew that America's Dust Bowl troubadour was such a Brooklyn boychik? Woody Guthrie settled with his second wife, Marjorie Mazia, and their burgeoning family on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island (a fact well known to Billy Bragg and Wilco fans after their album of unreleased Guthrie tunes) and threw himself into the Jewish, Italian, and Polish neighborhood mix. "Mermaid's Avenue" a gustatory celebration of the street where "the lox and bagels meet" shows how Woody had become a consummate New Yorker by 1950. It's just one glimpse of the second half of the life of the storied song collector and songwriter, gleaned from Guthrie's thousands of unrecorded songs and painted...
See more details below
CD
$15.64
BN.com price
(Save 13%)$17.99 List Price
Other sellers (CD)
  • All (3) from $11.65   
  • New (3) from $11.65   

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Who knew that America's Dust Bowl troubadour was such a Brooklyn boychik? Woody Guthrie settled with his second wife, Marjorie Mazia, and their burgeoning family on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island (a fact well known to Billy Bragg and Wilco fans after their album of unreleased Guthrie tunes) and threw himself into the Jewish, Italian, and Polish neighborhood mix. "Mermaid's Avenue" a gustatory celebration of the street where "the lox and bagels meet" shows how Woody had become a consummate New Yorker by 1950. It's just one glimpse of the second half of the life of the storied song collector and songwriter, gleaned from Guthrie's thousands of unrecorded songs and painted in luminous color by the Klezmatics and guest vocalist Susan McKeown. However much he loved his wife, Guthrie also felt a special bond with his mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt, a Yiddish labor activist and songwriter. The songs here burst with fascist-fighting immigrant struggles for a perfect world; in its own way it's as rich and earthy and multitudinous as Walt Whitman. The music is a perfect match. Klezmer fans have always known the musical prowess of this ensemble, but never has one album so captured the breadth of their talents: Mandolin-driven folk, Caribbean lilts, klezmer-tinged sea chanteys, Celtic balladry, and gorgeous compositional moments grace the album, with guitarist Boo Reiners adding extra depth. Lorin Sklamberg, a Yiddish-song treasure, sings in English, delivering note-perfect readings of Guthrie's lyrics, often in ethereal harmony with McKeown. The instant classic "Mermaid's Avenue" should raise a generation of Boardwalk babies, but then there's the luminous "Gonna Get Through This World," the Eastern-tinged "Holy Ground," and the Eastern European/avant-jazz/liturgical exploration "Wheel of Life." It's hard to pick favorites from this carnival of seaside fun. Together they make a richly satisfying nosh, easily the Klezmatics' most accessible album, and a riotous slice of life that might have, must have, been.
All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Wonder Wheel isn't the first album created from completed but never recorded lyrics left behind by the late folk icon Woody Guthrie. In 1998 the British folk-punk singer Billy Bragg and American roots rockers Wilco jointly recorded Mermaid Avenue, which drew from the same pool of material. It was successful enough that a second volume was released two years later. In fact, Wonder Wheel isn't even the first time the Klezmatics have turned to Guthrie's leftovers for inspiration. In 2004, they issued Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanuka, which, like Wonder Wheel, found the musicians taking Guthrie's words -- which he'd never set to music -- and fashioning from them new compositions that adapted readily to their style. Significantly, the Klezmatics, like the Bragg/Wilco project, chose not to attempt writing as if they were '40s dust-bowl troubadours, but rather to place the poet's words into a contemporary folk-roots setting. That's what makes Wonder Wheel -- the title, incidentally, refers to the beautiful old wooden ferris wheel that has been part of the Brooklyn jewel that is Coney Island, NY, where Guthrie lived for several years on, you guessed, it, Mermaid Avenue -- such a complete joy. Also significant is that some of the interpretations on Wonder Wheel bear little resemblance to the klezmer music that has always and obviously defined the Klezmatics, and that all of the songs are sung in English, not the group's more customary language, Yiddish. Those decisions, naturally, make Wonder Wheel a more accessible Klezmatics album. The track "Mermaid's Avenue," for example -- curiously, neither of the Bragg/Wilco Mermaid Avenue volumes actually included the song -- might just as easily have worked on a Jonathan Richman record, with its playful lyrics "Mermaid Avenue that's the street/Where the lox and bagels meet" and minimalist arrangement and instrumentation. Some songs lean closer to Celtic "From Here On In," beautifully sung by guest vocalist Susan McKeown and chorus and traditional folk "Holy Ground" than anything in the Jewish canon, while "Condorbird" is punctuated with a horn chart that neatly peppers its quasi-klezmer rhythm with a southwestern accent. Lyrically, the Klezmatics choose to showcase as wide a range of Guthrie's interests as possible, from the vehemently antiwar "Come When I Call You" and "Goin' Away to Sea" to the children's song "Headdy Down" and the hopeful, optimistic "Heaven" and "Wheel of Life." Each of the bandmembers turns in exemplary performances here but the versatile lead vocalist Lorin Sklamberg is due for special consideration: the purity of his singing, and his acute sensitivity to the words he sings, is the chief reason that Guthrie's lyrics are transformed from dust-gatherers to living, breathing, vital pieces of music. Woody's Jewish in-laws would certainly have been proud.
Billboard
The band confounds expectations...The Klezmatics prove themselves to be sensitive interpreters of any artistic language they choose.
Blender
Clarinets can rock...Guthrie would have plotzed to hear the melodies Lorin Sklamberg and company provide.

The band confounds expectations...The Klezmatics prove themselves to be sensitive interpreters of any artistic language they choose.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/25/2006
  • Label: Jmg / Jewish Music
  • UPC: 857764001336
  • Catalog Number: 18033

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Come When I Call You (4:21)
  2. 2 Mermaid's Avenue (4:29)
  3. 3 Headdy Down (4:01)
  4. 4 Gonna Get Through This World (4:02)
  5. 5 Pass Away (4:26)
  6. 6 Holy Ground (4:20)
  7. 7 Goin' Away to Sea (3:45)
  8. 8 From Here on In (2:56)
  9. 9 Wheel of Life (5:23)
  10. 10 Condorbird (3:26)
  11. 11 Orange Blossom Ring (3:37)
  12. 12 Heaven (6:08)
Read More Show Less

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Klezmatics Primary Artist
Danny Blume Electric Guitar
Matt Darriau Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Saxophone, kaval, Vocal Harmony, Group Member
Lisa Gutkin Violin, Viola, Vocal Harmony, Group Member
Frank London Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Alto Horn, Keyboards, Cornemeuse, Vocal Harmony, Group Member
Susan McKeown Vocals, Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Brian Mitchell Piano
Paul Morrissett Violin, Electric Bass, Cymbals, Baritone Horn, Acoustic Bass, Group Member
Lorin Sklamberg Guitar, Piano, Accordion, Vocals, Group Member
Kenny Wollesen Percussion, Drums, Guest Appearance
Adam Widoff Tabla
Michael Alpert Vocals
Ethan Eubanks Percussion, Cymbals, Snare Drums
Ron Caswell Tuba
Boo Reiners Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Electric Guitar, Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Woody Guthrie Composer
Danny Blume Engineer
Matt Darriau Composer
Lisa Gutkin Composer
Frank London Composer
Mark London Art Direction
Paul Morrissett Composer
Lorin Sklamberg Composer
Butch Hawes Composer
Scott Hull Mastering
Nora Guthrie Liner Notes, Executive Producer
Vivien Goldman Liner Notes, Essay
Steve Keene Artwork
Gus Oberg Engineer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously