An affinity for kitschy album covers became a quest as Josh Kun and Roger Bennett scoured attics and garage sales to collect once-loved gems. In Jewish recordings from the 1940s-1980s they discovered sacred songs, Jewish mambo, comedy, folk tunes, and the “holy trilogy” of Neil, Barbra, and Barry. Their book includes commentary from writers and performers including Aimee Bender, Michael Wex, Shalom Auslander, Sandra Bernhard, Motown legend Lamont Dozier, and TV pioneer Norman Lear. With music and visual images, Josh Kun shared how these recordings speak across generations to tell a vibrant tale of Jews in America.
Dr. Josh Kun is associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at University of Southern California. He is the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race and America, a contributor to the New York Times, and cofounder of Reboot Stereophonic, a label dedicated to re-releasing classics of the Jewish past.
Recorded Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.