recorded many Yinglish parodies like "Haim afen Range" ("Home on the Range") and "K'nock around the Clock," with a cockamamy mishmash of English and Yiddish words.
Katz was a native of Cleveland, which is home also to his heirs apparent, the klezmer band Yiddishe Cup. Its most recent recording, Meshugeneh Mambo, is, among other things, an homage to Katz, featuring five of his parodies, plus others in that vein. Yiddishe Cup has added many new lyrics that measure up well to Katz's zany concoctions. (Its leader, Bert Stratton, is a 1973 U-M English graduate and two-time Hopwood Award winner.) The sentimental classic "My Yiddishe Mama" now features deep psychological insights like "She's the one who made me what I am today oy vey!"
Like Katz, who was an excellent jazz clarinetist and played with, among others, big-band leader Spike Jones, of "Yes, We Have No Bananas" fame, Yiddishe Cup is not just about shtik. Here there is plenty of technik. These musicians are completely convincing as they romp through a dizzying variety of genres. Their "My Yiddishe Mama" starts with a shouting blues vocal in which they sound like the kind of boys Yiddishe mamas, and all other mamas, warn their daughters about; then it morphs successively into the theme from Goldfinger, the 1950s doo-wop classic "Little Darlin'," and the theme from The Patty Duke Show. They can also play it straight. Their "Second Avenue Square Dance" and "Li'l Gypsy" needn't be ashamed next to any traditional klezmer band's versions.