Ukulele, guitar and Hawaiian steel guitar.
It makes perfect sense that Gerald Ross, in his hilarious way, would record and present a CD that brings together Jews, Christians and anyone else who loves a party. For partying is what this album is all about. The high-spirited sounds of ukulele, and steel guitar provide lightness and sparkle to any gathering of friends and family. And, the well-known, beautifully played tunes on this purely instrumental album also make perfect background music. And that’s important; for when a roomful of people are talking and laughing together instrumentals support the ambience far better than songs with lyrics.
The album also gets us thinking of the strong links between Jewish and Christian holiday celebrations. A huge proportion of songs: Let It Snow, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Silver Bells for example (all featured on the disc) were written by Jewish songwriters. In fact most of the text in Handel’s Messiah (not on the disc) comes from Old Testament scripture. Conversely, Chanukah, traditionally one of the more minor events in the Jewish calendar, has scaled up over time ensuring that the two faiths can party on an equal footing. These days Chanukah tunes such as Sevivon Sov Sov Sov and Chanukah Oh Chanukah are becoming familiar seasonal sounds to many non-Jewish friends.
And that’s what makes Mistletoe Mazel Tov the best possible kind of holiday album! Get it, you won’t regret it.
Ralph Shaw: King of the Ukulele!