A wonderful radio program with old timey Yiddish Music from "rescued" 78s

My brother Carl, a crate-digger and amateur ethnomusicologist of sorts, hosts a radio program on WRIR, an indie radio station in Richmond, VA. The latest episode of his show is available here for download, and includes a batch of rare, wonderful Yiddish popular music from the '40s and '50s on 78 RPM vinyl, all of which he found at a thrift store in town. The show also features homages to Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck, legendary musicians who recently died. Go have a listen!


    1. I had the same response a few months ago when Xeni posted something about K-Pop. Frigging Richmond…

      If I was staying in town, I’d almost start a boingboing meetup…

  1. i’ve just added biographical links from wikipedia and a few other sources into the playlist …. it’s fascinating to read about the lives of these singers

  2. I love the “not licensed for radio broadcast” on some of the disks. Let’s hope no one posts a take down notice.

    I remember hearing a lot about the great NYC Yiddish community with its bands, literature and movies. They always mentioned isaac Bashevis Singer, who wrote the agony column and won a Nobel prize for literature, and Molly Picon, who crossed over from the Yiddish cinema to Hollywood. My parents were both native speakers who learned English on the street. It always seems amazing that there was an entire world with printing presses, books, newspapers, movie studios, radio stations, actors and actresses, billboards, and assholes yelling in the street, all in what is now effectively a dead language. Even stranger is that to them, Hebrew was a dead language, a liturgical language like Latin or Old Church Slavonic, but now Hebrew is a living language, evolving and changing again.

    BBC recently had an article on my old neighborhood, Jackson Heights, where languages come to die. I wonder if future generations, descended from immigrants today, will be remembering the old Hindi streets signs and video stores or waxing nostalgic as a cache of MP3s in the old tongue are rediscovered.

  3. I’ll note that almost all commercial 78’s are shellac, not vinyl.  Vinyl didn’t come into wide use until the LP era and the lighter arm on LP players.

    1. “Almost all” is correct.  Vinyl 78rpm records were produced for a short time at the end of the 78 era.  I have a few that my father bought – I’d guess in the mid 1950 maybe?  When played with a good quality pickup, they sound astonishingly good. 

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