It’s time to turn the music back on. These songs will remind us what we’re missing.
Everyone reacts to music in one way or another. And everyone’s reaction to different styles of music is going to vary. But anyone with a musical bone in his body cannot deny that there is nothing like a good oldie to listen to and relive great memories.
The power of music is so strong that it connects someone with an event that took place while listening to it, even many years later.
And besides, the older the niggun becomes, the more exquisite it sounds in contrast to most contemporary stuff. This isn’t rocket science! It’s just reality.
Let’s touch on some oldies that will really reach out and pull your heartstrings with all their might!
1) “Bilvavi” (Ohr Chodosh-Rav Shmuel Brazil,1971).
Most of us have been privy to hear this heartrending and awesome tune by one of the most extraordinary composers of authentic Jewish music from the past 40+ years, Rav Shmuel Brazil, shlit”a. “Bilvavi” is one of those songs that makes you beg to get close to Hashem! Just listen to the words! Who can count the amount of chassanim and kallos that walked down to their chuppos with this haunting tune escorting them? On the original track recorded in 1971, the song is sung by then child prodigy soloist Chayim Hillel Schertzer together with adult vocalist Nachum Deutsch.
2) “Lev Tahor” (Dveykus 1-1973).
A most beautiful composition composed by Abie Rotenberg that is still stirring so many souls so many years later. Either at a Kumzitz or the amud, “Lev Tahor” has brought many rivers of tears flowing from pure Yiddisheh feelings.
3) “Anim Zemiros” (London School of Jewish Song-Yigal Calek-1989). The beauty of this song is that it’s sung as a tefilah, almost like a chant of sorts as in the traditional tune for “Adon Olam.” A drop repetitive, but full of depth and heart. Add to that the sincerity and purity of the children’s voices leading this song, you have a beautifully packaged niggun to transport you into a different world so blissful and peaceful. It really lives up to its title, “Anim Zemiros…” “…Soothing songs and poems I weave because my soul longs for You.”
4) “Sameach” (Mendy Wald, 1995/1996).
Who said an oldie needs to be slow to make for great memories? Fast songs like “Sameach” from Mendy Wald’s first album are a lot of fun to dance to and bring out a lot of energy on the dance floor. Composed by the ever talented Yitzi Bald, Sameach brings with it a spirit of real simchas chosson v’kallah as is meant to be felt at a wedding. This Hora carries your feet and your soul as you dance to your heart’s content at a friend’s wedding. Definitely old, but always with a fresh sound.
5) “V’yaazor” (Regesh 7-Rav Shmuel Brazil, shlit”a-1991).
Another beauty from Rav Brazil, shlit”a, this song used to be a staple at Jewish weddings in the early 90s. Jewish at its core is probably the best way to describe such a song. Makes you want to dance like you’ve never done before. Fans the flames of your neshama as you dance to words said before calling up the Kohen to the Torah on Shabbos, speaking of Hashem’s protection on those who hope for his salvation: “And He will help, and He will shield, and He will salvage [bring salvation] for all those who take refuge in Him.”
6) “Yerav” (One Day At A Time-Shloime Dachs-1996).
This is one is real winner by Yitzi Bald! Coming from the album that literally put Shloime Dachs on the map, “Yerav” is jammed packed with major positive energy (despite a lot of its minor chords) and makes for an awesome song in your final dance set at any simcha. It’s slowly but surely creeping back into certain repertoires, especially in Eretz Yisroel and even here in the US.
7) “Hu Klal”(The Voice Of A New Generation-Srully Williger-1995).
If I am not mistaken, this song was being sung over and over again when I was in elementary school. I think it was coming out of my ears at some point! (I think we kind of garbled the Yiddish also since we didn’t know any at the time!). Another Yitzi Bald success, Srully Williger really shone with this song on his debut album, “The Voice of a New Generation.” It was a real winner at the fifth Miami Experience in Nassau Coliseum in 1995 when he sang it live in front of approximately 18,000 people. While it hasn’t really come back on to the music scene in a while, it’s a good oldie that brings back awesome memories from a time gone by not so long ago. (Regrettably, there is no link to a video with the song. The album listed can be purchased via mostlymusic.com or the track from Amazon).
8) “Meheira” (Miami Boys Choir-Klal Yisroel Together-Yerachmiel Begun-1987). Miami fans can never get enough of Miami nostalgia. And “Meheira” is for sure no exception. A memorable classic by the inimitable Yerachmiel Begun, “Meheira” brings unbelievable feelings of simchas chassan v’kallah in a deep and heartfelt melody that simply cannot be expressed in plain words. Sounds great at the piano too. Does anyone remember Nochum Stark’s solo in Miami Experience 2? Great stuff!
9) “Mareh Kohen” (London School of Jewish Song-Borchi Nafshi Es Hashem-Yigal Calek-1971). This one is definitely a “Golden Oldie!” Most Frum Jewish millennials may not know this, but the original version of “Mareh Kohen” was actually VERY SLOW! Quite the opposite of the rocky upbeat version that has been part of the first-dance repertoire for quite some time now. But whether you like it fast or slow, “Mareh Kohen” is still something to marvel at, even close to 40 years after its initial release.
10) “Ani Maamin” (Dveykus IV-1990).
While this song comes from an album with several Dveykus classics, it still stands out in my mind as one of the most moving selections. The depth and unadulterated beauty of Abie’s compositions shines brightly in “Ani Maamin,” declaring in the sweetest way the firm belief that Hashem is in control of everything. You can feel it in the way Laibel Sharfman draws you in the way he sings these heartfelt notes. And it’s a song that still resounds by many a Kumzitz all over the world. It may be an oldie, but never too old to inspire a young generation.
There are so many more oldies to talk and rave about. Which do you love?
Albums mentioned in the post: