Review: Cantor Bruce Benson & Tzur Yisrael - The Rock Service


Album Cover - The Rock Service
The Rock Service
 Artist: Cantor Bruce Benson & Tzur Yisrael
With The Youth Choir Of Congregation B'nai Israel,
Bridgeport, Connecticut, Cantor Sheri Blum, Director
 Album: The Rock Service
 Date of Release: 2001
 Label: Pvt. Release
 Cat. No.:  
 Country of Release: US
 Genre/s: 1) Religious Non-Liturgical | Jewish | Ashkenazi
2) Liturgical | Jewish | Ashkenazi

 Sub-Genre/s: 1) Contemporary
2) Contemporary
 Type: Studio/Live
   Time: 42:09
   Date of Review: 2004/11/25
   Web Site:

Purchasing Info

The Rock Service

Cantor Bruce Benson & Tzur Yisrael 's The Rock Service was released in 2001 and is the third of four albums of contemporary religious music by the thoroughly modern cantor to be reviewed here. The Rock Service is a contemporary service of contemporary non-liturgical as well as liturgical songs in a broadly rock or pop-rock idiom, all set to Bruce Benson's original compositions, with all non-liturgical lyrics also coming from the pen of Cantor Benson, except those of Better World which are a paraphrase of the prayer of St. Francis.

In addition to his appealing vocals, Cantor Bruce Benson also plays guitars and keyboards on this album. Some of the non-liturgical songs are already familiar from Benson's 1992 album, Ki Sarita. The involvement of a congregation youth choir strikes me as a fabulous idea, it is always good and sound to involve the young in any way possible (and especially perhaps more appealing to them) in anything designed to keep tradition alive. This album is not short of spiritual conviction and sincerity both in the performance and the non-liturgical songs themselves. If you like Jewish religious music in a modern pop-rock idiom, then this album is definitely for you. And even if contemporary religious music does not basically appeal to you, it is still worth having a listen to Bruce Benson's The Rock Service. I certainly find it spiritually appealing in spite of any misgivings I might have about the decidedly modern musical flavour.

Eleven tracks make up The Rock Service. It may be sometimes somewhat difficult to follow some of the non-liturgical lyrics, but other times they get a tad repetitive and so become easy enough to pick up.

Sadly, as before I don't really see Cantor Bruce Benson's The Rock Service appealing to the kind of audience it might most benefit and at whom presumably it is aimed - young people. The pop-rock idiom is just too old-fashioned for most of them and has long been left behind for most of them by more contemporary styles such as hip hop, rap, and others and is unlikely to stir up their enthusiasm for Judaism in this age of even Hassidic Hip Hop/Rap. All the same, it is a commendable effort, and one can't help but like and admire Cantor Bruce Benson's spirit and aims, and even chutzpah. All strength to the good cantor!

© 2004 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

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Track List:

 1. L'cha Dodi - 4:25
 2. Bar'chu - 1:48
 3. Sh'ma - 3:37
 4. Mi Chamocha - 3:13
 5. Shalom Rav - 5:06
 6. Better World - 3:25
 7. Healing Prayer - 5:17
 8. V'ne'emar - 3:01
 9. Adonai Li - 4:02
10. Bless this House - 5:08
11. Let The Earth Rejoice /
        Shehecheyanu - 2:44

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Cantor Bruce Benson - guitars, keyboards, vocals

Tzur Yisrael is:
Joe Borges - bass
John Cafaro - keyboards
Debbie Katchko - vocals
Joe Licinski - drums & percussion

All music and non-liturgical lyrics by Bruce Benson, except Adonai Li, music by Bruce Benson & Donald Rossoff

Better World lyrics are a paraphrase of the prayer of St. Francis


Purchasing Info:

The Rock Service can be purchased:
From Jewish Music Distribution JMD UK

From Hatikvah Music International (US)

Probably online sources

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