Klutzy Klezmer: Zeek's First Klezmer Liner Note Contest

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December 21, 2010

Have you read any klezmer CD liner notes lately? Some are great – they read like fascinating mini-doctoral theses about Eastern Europe and/or the Lower East Side. And some are downright horrible. Too much Slivovitz has gone into the writing. Some of these homemade liner notes are best read only on Purim. (Hey, the music is often terrific, but the notes – the liner notes – are sour.)

Here are a few examples:

“[The drummer] has appeared in duo and trip [sic] settings.” Was that a trio setting or was the drummer tripping? Or too high on Triple Sec?

“This is what happens when Rumshinsky’s Theatre Bulgar is feed [sic] through Quincy Jones talking about Count Basie.” Is Rumshinsky fed? Felt? What? Quincy Jones to Count Basie, yes, but how does that become Theatre Bulgar? The point of these liner notes, it seems, is to mix pop culture with Yiddish and see what spits out.

Sometimes we end up just spitting out the Yiddish:

“One[sic] the other side of the hall, a zedeh and bobe will spin in skeletal outlines the remembered steps of a tantz (dance) that their parents taught them …” Tantz? “Dance” wouldn’t do?

So, bad spelling, weird mashups and superfluous Yiddish. Are you ready to write your own bad liner note? Zeek is holding a contest. The best worst klezmer liner note – as judged by Zeek Editor-in-chief Jo Ellen Green Kaiser and Bert Stratton (a.k.a. Klezmer Guy) – wins a One Ring Zero’s new Planets cd. Just submit your line in the comment section below. We’ll email you if you win, and fb it out to all our fans!

Need help with your comment? Here are some good tunes: “Kick My Klezmer,” “Hymietown Races,” “Romanian Shock #1.” Or make up one.

Need an album title? Try Intravenous Klezmer, 13 Jewish Hummingbirds, Black Curly Hair.

Use world-class musicians on your CD. Try Frank London, Lorin Sklamberg, or Eric Carmen of the Raspberries.

Consider a pseudonym for at least one musician in your band. This makes your CD slightly mysterious. Think: M. Rogue Gemini, Danny Kay, Wayne “Jewboy” Carter.

Bio notes … So what if you were born on Long Island. You visited your grandparents in Brooklyn at least once. That counts. If you’re from the hinterlands, get yourself into a good music school. Think about the Rhode Island School of Music, the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and the Tuck School of Friars.

Remember, submit your liner notes in the comment section below!

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