Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Klezmatics: Live at Town Hall [Klezmatics Disc, 2011]
Recorded in 2006, this concert program performs roughly the same function as Piranha's 2008 cherrypick Tuml = Lebn. But personally, I'd rather hear these New Yorkers trying out their English than honoring tradition on a German best-of boasting "7 songs in Yiddish, 1 song in Yiddish/English + 8 instrumentals." Thus I gravitated to the four Woody Guthries and one Holly Near on the second disc, wished Susan McKeown would join the band already, welcomed cameo-ready Joshua Nelson, and was perfectly fine when half the Tuml = Lebn songs showed up. And then in a contemplative mood I sat still and listened to the first disc's 12-minute, quarter Yiddish, quarter English, half instrumental "Dybbuk Suite." Understood every note, I swear. A-