First Recordings collects works from the first three years of recordings by the Klezmorim, one of the founding groups of the modern klezmer revival. Taking the whole of their second album, Streets of Gold, there are five or six tracks added from the time of the East Side Wedding sessions. The sound is mostly reminiscent of the earlier days of klezmer, with small amounts of forward directions present here and there. As it happens, the concept was to work solely with the traditional forms, so the modern elements were phased out over time (as one might note a bit as the album progresses, though not so noticeably). It's enjoyable klezmer, with much of the fire of the old days of the genre, but without so much of the intensity of the newest generation of players and fusionists. The band is at its best when stripped down to a large horn section and pounding through the layers of ageless klezmer. As an added bonus, Robert Crumb provides the cover art. Give it a listen for the exuberance of the music and as a piece of musical history signaling the revival of klezmer and heralding its move into the avant-garde and jazz domains.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg