Little is known about the source of this tune, Nathan “Prince” Nazaroff. Born in Europe, a veteran of the Russian Ballet Theater in New York, Prince Nazaroff bequeathed to humanity one LP recorded in 1954 on the Folkways label, owned by his friend Moses Asch. The original is a riot of foot stomping, bird whistles, mistuned mandolin, broken accordion, hard luck lyrics, and other marvelous memories of the Odessa Jewish musical world transplanted to New York in the 1950s. In the liner notes, Nazaroff poses for the camera in a Catskills backyard dressed in an ill-fitting suit, with his foot up on an Adirondack chair, a tenor mandolin across his lap, a goofy straw hat perched unevenly on his head. His profoundly off-center sense of fashion was matched only by his defiant opposition to common concepts of pitch and tuning. We hardly knew he was here, and yet the world is much quieter with his passing.
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