Our Way! The Barry Sisters Sing "Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn"
Produced and released by BSR Music in 2001 and distributed by Hatikvah Music, Our Way! The Barry Sisters Sing "Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn" is a compilation of mainly 1960s Barry Sisters material. The Barry Sisters, early in their long career known as The Bagelman Sisters, started in "Yiddish Swing" when that genre was at the peak of its popularity and indeed in many ways they almost epitomised it, and subsequently made the transition to American mainstream entertainment/MOR with huge success. Their career spanned close on half a century, from the post-depression years to the 1970s, and Claire and Merna Barry were only split up by the latter's untimely death from cancer. Claire apparently still continued to perform at least up to the time of the release of this album.
The present compilation focuses on The Barry Sisters' 1960s output of mainly popular hits and show tunes of the era and earlier times, mainly English language hits translated into Yiddish, in typically 1960s MOR arrangements albeit mostly with that delightful touch of swing so characteristic of the Barry Sisters. Now, all this may sound a little bit cheesy at first especially if you're not of an age to have been around at the time of The Barry Sisters. And yes, MOR is almost by definition at least a bit cheesy even at its best. But hang on in there. These gals' consummate skill and professionalism really shine even today or maybe, especially today when our ears are so regularly and mercilessly assaulted by generally talentless so-called pop singers that the major labels try to ram down our throats (or rather, ears) and general MOR shmaltz that really turns your stomach. What a sad state of affairs we live with musically or at any rate recording industry-wise becomes clear when you stop to consider that marketing people have the nerve to actually try and sell us folk such as Kenny G and Norah Jones as "Jazz" artists! The Barry Sisters, now there was a real class act. Put your preconceptions, if you have any, aside for a while, and this stuff may well grow on you. Quite aside from the historical interest of this album, it exudes great charm and yes maybe a fair bit of nostalgia if you're of a certain age. It has a certain air of innocence and naiveté, and the interpretations actually stand up well.
All the selections on Our Way! The Barry Sisters Sing "Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn" are sung in Yiddish, and let it not be forgotten that the Barry Sisters not only form an important link between the past and present of Yiddish song but moreover brought songs of Yiddish songwriters to a wider mainstream audience than probably anybody before.
From the opening Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, or Trop'ns Fun Regen Oyf Mein Kop, via Mein Veg (My Way) and the near-classic Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn - their greatest hit, to Mame, Nisht Oyf Zuntik (Never on a Sunday) and the grand theme from Exodus, this is a delightful compilation awaiting discovery by yet another generation.
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