by Willard Manus
There's lots of instrumental work too on JOSH ALAN BAND, another Topcat release. Guitarist Josh Alan (Friedman) is joined by bassist Robby Garner and drummer Derek Rougeot on the 11 sides, with such guest stars as Hash Brown (harmonica), Bobby Baranowski (drums), Bill Eden (tenor sax), Frank Saffiotti (trumpet), David "Fathead" Newman & Bill Eden (tenor sax) and Bernard Wright (organ) helping out. Alan wrote six of the songs; each one witty and catchy (especially "As Channukah Passes Me By," the lament of an assimilated Jew who wonders why he's celebrating Christmas instead of his own holiday).
The CD is also noteworthy for "Strike A Match," the American debut of a Leiber & Stoller song. Written in 1955, it was lost for decades, until being resuscitated by Josh Alan.