Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Country Yossi!

Mishpacha Magazine features Country Yossi in this week’s edition. I have long been a fan of Yossi Toiv, ever since the Ohr Chodosh band began producing records all those years ago. The classics “Oh the world” and “Bilvavi” among others were super hits that have withstood the test of time. Although I didn’t speak Yiddish and disliked “Alleh Yidden” as a child, I have come to really appreciate it as an adult.

As a teenager, the Shteeble Hopper albums were the perfect antidote to pop music. One was able to enjoy the beautiful melodies of the day, albeit with kosher lyrics. Even small children were able to enjoy CY’s talent in the form of the Kivi and Tuki recordings.

CY tells the following story: He was once in his clunker driving Rav Shlomo Freifeld (his Rebbe) to Biegeleisen's Seforim store from Far Rockaway and was pulled over by a policeman. "You're getting a ticket because your car is smoking". CY replied "Officer, this car is old enough to smoke"! Reb Shlomo laughed all the way to Brooklyn. Years later CY went to be Menachem Avel his Rebbe and when he entered the house Rav Freifeld told a visiting Rosh Yeshiva "Do you know what this bochur once told a cop"?

As mentioned earlier on this blog, years ago there was a dearth of quality Jewish Music prior to the recent explosion of geometric proportion. There was, The Mitzvah Tree, 613 Torah Avenue and Uncle Moishy in addition to the classic Pirchei albums. There was the JEP series and the various boys choirs; Miami, London, Yerushalayim, Amudai Shaish and Tzlil Vzemer, to name a few.

For the adults there was Carlebach The Rabbis Sons, Journeys/Dvaykus, The Megama Duo, Regesh, Kol Salonika, Dedi, Streicher, Ari Klein, Jo Amar, Wald, Dachs, Wulliger, MBD, Fried, Piamenta, Destiny and Diaspora.

Nowadays we have quantity, but with a Yossi Toiv production, there is always quality.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in CY Productions whatsoever.


  1. Thank you for this post. It brings back some wonderful memories. I still listen to Country Yossi's music. The best!

  2. IIRC the composer on Ohr Chodosh was Shmuel Brazil...hence Shmelkes niggun

  3. Yes, Shmelkie's Niggun was composed by R' Shmuel Brazil, as was Bilvavi. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. The lyrics for "Oh the World" were written by Country Yossi. Other band members included Yussie Lieber and Nachum Deutch.

  4. Oh The World and Aleh Yiden were composed and sung by Country Yossi. The rest of the songs on Volume One were composed by Rabbi Shmuel Brazil.

  5. Though I'm not old enough to have appreciated The Ohr chodosh in its heyday through the greatest hits CD I gained a real appreciation for its depth and soul piercing melodies. The mishpacha article shed some light on the deeper side of a man long known for his parodies and humor.

  6. Ohr Chodosh volume II was entirely composed by Yossi Toiv.

  7. can one listen to this album or see a video of some of the songs online? It would make a great utube material.

  8. Let's not forget about MICKEY KATZ !!!


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