In their continuing fight against bad holiday music, our friends at the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation have released Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights. This new double-CD set explores "the relationship between (Hanukkah and Christmas) and their impact on acculturation and negotiations of personal, social, and communal identity within American culture." Yeah, that, and it features killer tracks like The Ramones' "Merry Christmas I Dont Wanna Fight Tonight," Woody Guthrie's "Hanukkah Dance," Bob Dylan's "Little Drummer Boy," and The Klezmatics' "Hanukah Tree."
Co-founded by my pal David Katznelson, the Idelsohn Society is a non-profit dedicated to the musicology and exquisitely-curated reissues of incredibly strange, offbeat, "space age," and fantastic vintage Jewish albums by the likes of Irving Fields, Gershon Kingsley, and The Barry Sisters. Like all Idelsohn Society releases, "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah" includes killer liner notes, such as essays Greil Marcus and renowned Washington University historian Jenna Weissman Joselit. "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah" is truly an instant interfaith classic. Check out these sample tracks:
And if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, Idelsohn Society is hosting a record release party and concert on the last night of Hanukkah, December 15, at the fabulous Brick and Mortar Music Hall. The concert, "Twas the Last Night of Hanukkah," will feature performances Sway Machinery featuring Jeremiah Lockwood, Luther Dickinson(North Mississippi All-Stars, Black Crowes), Thao, Rebecca Bortman, Ethan Miller (Howlin’ Rain, Comets on Fire), Lyn Burton (of the Burton Sisters), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), members of Antibalas, and others.