THERE HASN'T BEEN anything quite like "Meshugeneh Mambo" in more than 40 years.
Yiddishe Cup is onto something different here: neo-Borscht Belt klezmer comedy.
That whole era of '50s Jewish humor is dying, and some of it should be saved. (Some of it.)
Just as klezmer music has been revitalized, "Meshugeneh Mambo" reclaims Jewish ethnic humor. Move over white-bread, Seinfeld-style comedians. (Paging "Ethnomusicology," the journal.)
YIDDISHE CUP time-travels back to the days when tough Jews, wearing shiny shoes, sold shoes. Mickey Katz -- the dead rebbe of klezmer comedy -- walks the streets of Cleveland again, along with the Barton Brothers, Billy Hodes and Slim Gaillard.
George Robinson, of the New York Jewish Week, named Yiddishe Cup's previous album, "Yiddfellas," one of the 13 best Jewish recordings of 1999. Yiddishe Cup has appeared throughout the United States.
FINALLY, HERE ARE some takes on "Meshugeneh Mambo."
-----The Forward, New York, Sarah Kricheff:
"'Meshugeneh Mambo' is not just about klezmer music. It is a cultural revival of the American Jewish comedy of the '50s, often associated with the heyday of the Jewish resort hotels in the Catskill Mountains. The 'neo-Borscht Belt' six-member band incorporates a variety of instruments . . . and performs high-energy songs that merge modern cultural references in the comedic style of an older generation."
-----Klezmershack.com, Boston, Ari Davidow:
"This is the most outrageous combination of '50s Borscht Belt shtick and post-modern Jewish deconstruction I've heard in years and, boy, did we need it."
-----Cleveland Jewish News, Arlene Fine:
"This CD will have great schmaltz appeal to those who enjoy getting into the gestalt of 'gevalt.'"