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What started out as a mutual affinity for kitschy Jewish album coversthink Neil Diamond baring his chest hair on the cover of Hot August Night or Barbra Streisand in hot pants on the cover of Streisand Supermansoon became a quest for identity, history, and culture between the grooves of LPs.
Together, Roger Bennett and Josh Kun embarked on a thrilling journey, scouring the world to collect thousands of vinyl LPs from attics, garage sales, and dusty archives. Pieced together, these scratched, once-loved and now-forgotten audio gems tell a vibrant tale: the story of Jews in America. And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl spans the history of Jewish recorded music from the 1940s to the 1980s, weaving an account that begins with sacred songs and ends with the holy trinity of Neil, Barbra, and Barry. The LPs found here are also a love letter to forgotten moments in Jewish American pop history, celebrating well-dressed cantors singing Christmas tunes, Long Island suburbanites dancing the mambo, and Chassidic prog-rockers.
The music, much of which is no longer available in any format, is brought to life through commentary from writers Aimee Bender, Etgar Keret, Michael Wex, and Shalom Auslander; performers Sandra Bernhard and Motown legend Lamont Dozier; music critics Oliver Wang and Anne Powers; and TV pioneer Norman Lear. A gateway to a forgotten kingdom of sound, the good, the bad, and the ugly of Jewish vinyl gives this aspect of Jewish culture the attention it so richly deserves.