“There’s nothing so unusual about being a Jewish cowboy,” says Harold Stern, who should know–he’s one himself. Jewish cowboys have been the subject of songs, documentaries, and the album The Jewish Cowboy–a 1950s-era record which features 20-year-old Harold telling us about the fascinating life of running a Texas farm.
The six-minute vinyl single was distributed as a promotion by Manischewitz, the ubiquitous Jewish food company. It’s utterly fascinating to listen as Stern tells us about his life in a monologue, broken up by musical interludes with accordionist Avram Gobard. Apparently, Harold received tons of fanmail from an earlier Manischewitz promotion–“There must be a hundred thousand people in New York with my last name,” he says. Then he extends a warm invitation to visit his ranch: “If you’re ever down here, I’d be pleased to meet ya. It’d be a real mechaye, if you know what I mean.” (The word means lively experience, if you don’t.)
You’ve probably never heard the word mechaye pronounced with this kind of accent before. And you’ve definitely never met a cowboy like Harold Stern before.