Throwback Review- Avraham Fried Chazak

General — By on May 11, 2011 10:00 am

Cause: I was in the car with someone this morning and he asked me which album I’d pick off the top of my head as my ‘favorite album’. Effect: You’re finding yourself enjoying (hopefully) this review of Avraham Fried’s Chazak.
Chazak contains songs composed by Yossi Green, with musical arrangements by Moshe Laufer. It also features Yaron Gershovsky on keyboard. With eleven brand new songs, odds are there will be something on it to please everyone, children to adults. Although I personally do not usually do song-by-song reviews, I chose to make an exception for this album because, well, it’s really good. Here goes:
Track 1- Chazak!: Starting off the album is the title track, Chazak. A fast-paced song written by Yossi Green, it’s likely to have you tapping your feet right from the beginning, and through the very last beat. From the constant drum beat to the backup percussions and fun harmonies, this song is guaranteed to please. 4 stars.
Track 2- Udvorov: In contrast to its predecessor, which had a strong drum-vocal intro, Udvorov starts off with a slow, pretty intro. Another composition of Yossi Green, this song is relaxing and great for listening to while dozing off…unless you want to sleep for more than four minutes that is. Right around then the song picks up, a fun back and forth as Avraham Fried sings through part of the daily Shacharis, which is topped of very nicely by him and Yossi Green singing alternating lines. The song cools down at the end, finishing off as it began. 3 stars.
Track 3- Didoh Bei: Wow, Didoh Bei…need I say more?! Very possibly the most popular song since Yisroel Williger’s Hu Klal (The Voice), Yossi Green’s classic was being hummed and sung in Yeshivos and workplaces alike for years after it hit the market. A leibedik hora, many would argue that it’s worth buying this album just for this song! Enough said. 5 stars.
Track 4- Tiher: A very slow song which doesn’t quite do it for me, but does show off Avraham Fried’s vocal range. Granted, I do like this song more now than I did as a kid, primarily because now I know what the words mean. (It’s the story of Rabbi Yishmael being killed as one of the Asara Harugei Malchus; I’m pretty sure the words are taken from Arzei Halevanon in the Yom Kippur davening.) It’s not a bad song, but just doesn’t do it for me. 2 stars.
Track 5- Hashata: A fun song, and also a Yossi Green composition. Hashata is likely to have you snapping your fingers to the beat, if not straight out clapping (unless you’re driving of course). The words are from the Pesach Seder, when we say that although now we’re here (in galus), next year we will be free in Eretz Yisroel. Feel free to sing along! 3 ½ stars.
Track 6- Modeh Ani- Headed right back to where the album started, this track brings us another fast paced Yossi Green song. This is very possibly the best song to ‘get into’, especially when you’re looking for a solid song to just crank up the volume and ‘feel it’. The subtle guitar, along with the shticks and funky harmonies, is practically guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, albeit while drumming along on the nearest surface. (Yes, even the steering wheel- this song is car safe.) 4 stars
Track 7- Tekah: This is really the only other song on the album that I didn’t enjoy (the other one being Tiher). It begins with a nice trumpet piece, which I assume is intended to be the ‘Horn of Redemption’; this is followed by a minute and a half of chazanus, as Avraham Fried goes sings through the bracha in Shemona Esrei where we request that Hakadosh Baruch Hu blow the ‘Horn of Redemption’ and bring us all from the corners of the Earth to Eretz Yisroel. The chorus is followed by a couple of lines in Yiddish, which I’m pretty sure is basically repeating the bracha. It really is a nice song, and to be honest with you, I’m not exactly sure why I don’t like it. 3 stars.
Track 8- Mah Yedidus: Another very good composition of Yossi Green’s, Mah Yedidus is the dark horse of the album. For some reason it’s is a rarity in the Jewish music world, but this song’s words are from Shabbos Z’miros, and it actually finishes the zemer! Combine that quantity with the quality of a beautiful tune which (believe it or not) is not just a simple low part- high part- repeat twelve times, (rather this tune changes with each paragraph of the zemer, ending each paragraph with the shared chorus,) and you have yourself a lovely waltz that will paste a complacent smile on your face before the song’s end. 4 stars.
Track 9- Levinyomin: This song is, in my humble opinion, the single most underrated song of the twenty-first century. Hands down. From the solid beat, to the booming bass, to the great guitar, this song is simply pumping. Simple, straightforward awesomeness. (In case I didn’t make myself clear, I really like this song.) Levinyomin is most certainly my favorite song on this album. 5 stars.
Track 10- Adon: Yet another beautiful composition, Adon is Yossi Greens way of enticing you back to Earth after the last couple of songs. This smooth melody begins with a beautiful piano- violin introduction, and follows it up with soft musical arrangements throughout the song. Although it does begin to feel a bit repetitive near the end (kind of like this review), I feel that it’s still a very nice song, and particularly good for dozing off to. (Yes, that is meant to be a compliment) 3 ½ stars.
Track 11- Koach: I must say, whoever chose the order of the songs did quite a good job. What better way to end an album than with Koach! Listening to Koach is kind of like catching a bus in the morning. Gently bringing you back from the peaceful serenity in which Adon left you, Koach starts off with just the strumming of a guitar and the snapping of fingers, country style. But then, just as you start feeling it, it picks up a bit as you realize you hit snooze one time too many. The clock ticks as you look for your left shoe, (and Avraham Fried starts singing in Yiddish,) and before you know it you’re grabbing a granola bar for breakfast as you hop out the door with your shirt half untucked. And the song keeps on playing. Before you know it you’re chasing after a bus that just pulled away from the curb, and when you finally catch it the bus driver starts yelling at you in some foreign language. (I’m pretty sure that’s Russian that Avraham Fried is singing now.) I guess the best word to describe Koach is ‘fun’. 3 ½ stars.

All-in-all, Avraham Fried’s Chazak is simply an amazing album, from the first beat through its last. I know I’ve said that I don’t like telling people how to spend their money, but this time I’m making an exception. If you haven’t heard this album yet then you are truly missing out, and I heavily advise you to go out and buy it at the soonest convenient time. I’m pretty sure that you can even find it on the clearance rack by now in most Jewish music retailers. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I have (and still will!); please feel free to comment on this review.

Facebook comments:

17 Comments

  1. avrami says:

    i have alot of complaints on tis review first of all the songs like udvorov and tiher and teka witch these songs arent your favorate are the best of the album. secondly every song on this album deserves a 5 star, and myh las comment is that chazak was composed by moshe laufer and modeh ani by yishai lapidot forgot to mention that levinyomin is composed by moshe laufer and hashata was half composed by avraham fried himself and koach composed by moshe laufer all in all not a bad review and thanks for bringing back memories!!!!

  2. OutOfTowner says:

    MB, I love this review! Between Chazak, Modeh Ani, and Livinyomin, those are 3 knock your socks off (and make you late for the bus) lebedik songs, and you are spot on about Didoh Bai…..just a classic!

  3. Ruvi says:

    CHAZAK WAS COMPOSED BY MOSHE LAUFER
    big error for a music review writer…

  4. Ruvi says:

    HASHATA WAS COMPOSED BY FRIED HIMSELF!!!
    another error

  5. Ruvi says:

    LEVINYOMIN and KOACH COMPOSED BY LAUFER

  6. Sam says:

    Track 1 Chazak was composed by Moshe Laufer Not Y Green.
    Track 7 Tekah is the nicest song not only from this album just the song of that century

  7. jewishmusicplus says:

    Track 6- Modeh Ani was not composed by yossie green it was composed by yishai lapidot

  8. MusicBochur says:

    Thank you all, I appreciate all of the comments! I apologize for the composer errors, I had checked with someone who told me that all of the songs were written by yossi green. However I agree Ruvi, I DEFINITELY should’ve known better!
    Also, regarding the comments about the slow songs being the best on the album, and particularly avrami’s comment that every song on this album is a 5-star song: I don’t entirely disagree, personally I do enjoy a good slow song much more than a good fast song. However, my opinions on this album are slightly ‘flawed’ as my taste has changed since hearing this album repeatedly as a kid. Yes, the slow songs are really good. As I said by Tekah, I don’t know why I don’t like it more- there’s no logical explanation, it just doesn’t do it for me, even though every time I hear it I say it should. And Tiher is just a little bit shleppy for my taste; yes its a nice song.
    Avrumi, I understand that every song on this album can be a 5star, but honestly, how honest and believable does a review seem if the writer raves about every song? I guess thats why they call writers ‘critics’:)

    Thank you all again for your feedback! I really appreciate it!!

  9. avrami says:

    i disagree with you on what you wrote that ” how honest and believable does a review seem if the writer raves about every song? ” something thats true and cannot be argued there will be no critics and could be written the truth that every song is a 5 star this album is exceptional and you know that too and if it is exceptional it should be mentioned, and you wont be called a critic if you have wrote it i guarantee you!!!!
    BTW moshe laufer wrote once in a interview that chazak album was the best album he ever arranged he wasn’t only talking about his work was the best he ever did but was talking about the songs and quality of the album!!!!!!!!

  10. GPL says:

    L’vinyomin, which was released in 1997 is a song of the twentieth century, not the twenty-first.

  11. MusicBochur says:

    I hear what you’re saying Avrami…but I could not write that EVERY song on this album is a 5star bc I don’t rly feel that they ALL are! That having been said, Chazak is definitely my favorite album of all time, and as a whole its simply phenomenal.

  12. MusicBochur says:

    Yes GPL, but I feel it still may be the most underrated song out there, and therefore carried it over to the 21st century listing…

  13. Dr Z says:

    favorite album of all time?
    Amzing album but so were Shtar Hatanoim, Aderaba and Brocho Vhatzlocho!
    MBD’s Jerusalem is not for sale (yidden!), Tomid Besimcho, Moshiach,(english colection?)and ain oid milvado weren’t to shabby either!!!

  14. YG says:

    I agree with avrami, first post. This is the most solid Jewish Music album ever. I dont think there is any rendition of Tiher even in the Chazzanish world that does justice to the words and the theme of the song as does Yossi Greens Tiher on the Chazak Album.
    While I dont usually go for songs with the words from Shabbos Zemiros Mah Yedidus on Chazak is a Classic. Same applies to Modeh Ani and Koach as well as Ud’varav. I disagree with this review.

  15. MusicBochur says:

    Yes drZ, those other albums were also really good, particularly Bracha V’hatzlacha, but this one is my favorite. YG- I agree that those songs should be classics; however, the fact that a song is amazing doesn’t make it a classic. Many people have never heard Mah Yedidus. The fact that I love it doesn’t make it a classic. But yes, those all are amazing songs!

  16. Iehudit says:

    I love the song called Koach, but I cannot seem to find the lyrics nor what it means. Counld you help me?

  17. Eliezer Solomons says:

    In response to Lehudit’s comment of where ”Koach” is from, the lyrics are from פרשת עקב (פרק ח פסוק יח. They describe attributing the success of defeating the Cannanites to Hashem and not to our own human strength.

    Hope this helps.

Leave a Comment