JM Blogger Awards: Mendel the Sheichet

General, Polls — By on December 30, 2009 2:27 pm

mendeawards

“Who shined in ’09?”

Mendel the Sheichet’s faves of the year.

Best Album: Kulam Ahuvim – Mordechai Ben David. For this category I have to go with MBD’s Kulam Ahuvim. Yeedle’s spunky, fresh style and great ear for catchy tunes along with MBD’s still amazing voice and ta’am really do it for me. Coupled with superb attention to detail on everything from recording quality to the mix and master, for me this is the clear winner by a good few laps.

Best Song: B’inyan Hasimcha – Mordechai Ben David. For the best song I have to go with B’inyan Hasimcha. Beyond how well the duet works, this song is just an instant “pick-me-up”. From the lyrics, melody and arrangement to A. Razel’s fun vocs – this song just has all the elements that can turn your day around faster than a Florida real estate market crash.

Best Debut Album: Taamu – Benny Friedman. While many great artists debuted this year, I think Benny Friedman takes the cake, as he and the production team skillfully display that the bar is being raised if you want to make it in the tough Jewish music market of today. Despite the ever growing epidemic of music pirating in the Jewish market R”L, this CD quickly went into a 2nd printing and for good reason. In the next decade, this will likely be the artists to beat. Of special note as well was ABD, who ignored all the “rules” of Jewish music production and marketing and put out what was for me a huge breath of fresh air. I’m keeping my eye out for what these guys will (hopefully) put out next.

Best Arrangement:    No Lyrics – Benny Friedman. Ian Freitor’s arrangement for “No Lyrics” on Benny’s Taamu really hit the spot for me. Fresh, crisp and uplifting – who needs lyrics when you have an arrangement like this? Not me, for one.

Boys Choir Album:  Yovo – Miami Boys Choir. Lots of really great ones in this category, but all in all, one edges out for me, even if by barely a neck. With “Yovo”, Yerachmiel displays why MBC has been around for decades and still going strong. That’s not to say they didn’t have stiff competition though, with some other great albums like Kol Noar’s super fresh debut album certainly giving MBC a run for it’s money in my CD player at least.

Best English Song: Sunshine in the Rain – Shloime Kaufman. Maybe I’m just a sucker for Abie, but Sunshine in the Rain on Shloime Kaufman’s Avodas Tzedaka, featuring the legendary Abie Rotenberg, hit all the right spots in my heart – and ears of course. I always find Abie’s songs so much more poetic, original, relevant and purposeful than most of the other English songs on the Jewish music scene and this is one of his very best. The arrangement is nice but sufficiently laid back to just allow the lyrics and melody to shine for themselves and the emotional rendering by both artists is right on target.

Best Yiddish Song: Moidim – Mordechai Ben David. I’ve long loved MBD’s rendition of Yiddish songs on many of his albums, and “Moidim” is one of the best of that bunch. The story is wonderfully meaningful and the lyrics (written by Lipa I think) do that story true justice in conveying it in the highly poetic yet descriptively vivid way it does. To those lost by that last sentence (and I may be one of them) what I’m saying is that you can see the story playing out in sharp HD in your mind’s eye. Additionally, the melody shadows the emotional movement exceedingly well throughout and MBD does an amazing job of losing himself in that emotion. Long story short, great song – me like.

Best Concert DVD: Sadly I’m not very familiar with the DVDs out there. You see, most of my serious listening happens in my car. While it is equipped with a DVD player as well, my wife is adamant about watching DVDs while I’m driving being somehow unsafe. Women – go figure.

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8 Comments

  1. music613 says:

    Mendel I agree with your most of your selections. I differ in two respects.
    (1)I am one of the eight people that voted for ABD. A real solid debut. I guess I’m outvoted.
    (2) I know I will get heat for this, but I got to be honest, please hear me out: the no lyrics song on Benny’s album. I don’t get what makes it the best of Jewish Music. nice music –yes. But to tell you the truth, I for one did not feel hartz and taam on that number. Maybe I just never connected with that song. Is it just me?

    As to you kvetching about no time for videos, you gotta watch THE EVENT. (at home ,of course, or in while you are parked in a parking lot:-)

    IMHO Nobody produces a better live show than Sheya Mendlowitz. Nobody.

    And while I’m on the topic , I got one question for my jm enthusiasts about the DVD, who was the drummer on The EVENT. That guy was awsome.

    Guten chugeh to all.

  2. Sheichet says:

    Thanks for commenting 613.

    Being that selections are based solely on personal taste and Benny being my cousin… JK, we’re not related (Benny at this point wipes his brow, falls back into his chair and sighs in relief “oh, thank G-D!!!!!”) …ummm where was I again? Oh, right …selections being based purely on personal taste, yours is as important as mine and I appreciate your commenting, it helps widen the angle.

    For one thing, note that I did mention ABD – I loved ABD, still listen to it loads and I had to actually deliberate for quite some time before settling on Benny. Probably for me the toughest category to choose from and that’s why even though I went with Benny I gave special mention to ABD. I think ABD is hugely underrated and honestly I think it has less to do with people missing the beauty of it and more to do with their not having heard it because ABD didn’t pump the kind of funds into marketing as was done on some other much weaker albums that came out.

    As for the song “No Lyrics” I’m glad you brought it up because I actually thought about the fact that it’s one of those songs that from person to person will either really click with them or totally not. In the end I had to go with my personal enjoyment of the song over whether or not it might be widely accepted as I see it. Thanks for bringing that up though to provide some counterpoint here.

  3. Shoshana says:

    feeling ignorant but what is ABD?

  4. JMMaven says:

    Shoshana – ABD is a group, comprised of Ami Frankel, Binyomin Stern and Dovid Ifrah. They put out their debut album a few months ago.
    There’s a review of the debut album here, and you can hear samples from the album and buy it here.

  5. Sheichet says:

    ABD is a really great new group (ABD=Ami, Binyomin, Dovid) – if you like Dveykus, Abie Rotenberg, anything on those lines, you’ll love ABD. Here’s a link to the JMR review of their album http://jewishmusicreport.com/?p=28 and here’s one to the JMR video interview (where you get to see that they are as wonderful people as they are artists) http://jewishmusicreport.com/?p=502

    btw, buying this album is also an investment in an amazing tzedaka as all proceeds from their album go to Yeshivas Nefesh Dovid, the only Yeshiva of it’s type, catering to the deaf and hard-of-hearing and allowing them to live regular lives. This album would be worth picking up just for the music OR just for the cause – al achas kamoh vekamoh….

  6. Shoshana says:

    sounds really interesting. Now that I look at the album cover it does look familiar. I’ll try to get it. I’m definitely a listener of pretty much anything Abie Rotenberg doees so they do sound intriguing and it sounds like an amazing cause. Thanks for the information!

  7. A.J. says:

    I personaly think that Benny Freidman was the best album this year

  8. A.J. says:

    Of course MBD is king, and he suprised everyone by putting out an up to date cd, but its not what i call a SOLID cd. Binyan Hasimcha and a couple of others were fantastic songs, i agree, but the rest were just run in the mill songs. On the other hand Benny Freidman’s Tammu was, just one song after another of instant hits, i never press skip on that cd, i really enjoyed every song. But of course thats just my opinoin and i guess we just have different tastes

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