Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tsum tayvl (to the devil) - a Yiddish theater song. And who is F. Zinger?

picture of antique devil with marionette humans

I've had bronchitis for a couple weeks and can't sing, so I've been amusing myself cleaning up the Yiddish Penny Songs scans and looking for the tunes that go with the song sheets.

I haven't had any luck finding a tune for this one, even under various spellings like teufel, tayvel, tayfel, etc. The composer's name appears to be F. Zinger but it's not an easy name to search for. Since then I've been told his name was probably Fishel Zinger (aka Philip Singer).

This is a typically curmudgeonly song of the time, with detestable characters such as wives, mothers-in-law, boarders, etc. It also appears to be making fun of a show called the Devil which must have been playing at the time and was probably serious. Maybe it was Jacob Gordin's Gott, Mensch und Teufel (Got, mentsh un tayvl). The guy wants his money back because there are no songs.

Possibly this is the same song as Frank Seiden's Tayvls lid (Teufels lied) recorded around 1902. Peter Nahon has the brown cylinder of that song, but it is unplayable, and otherwise the song seems to be extinct in the world.

Here's the song sheet, click for a larger view. I tried to use standard orthography in my transliteration. Notice all the English words creeping in to the Yiddish, for instance, glaykh is becoming, in Yinglish, equivalent to "like." Notice that "boys" (peddlers) can get songsheets for wholesale from the printer, Sani Shapiro, and notice that the advertiser, World renowned mindreader Professor Hochman, has been getting written up in the papers for his great wonders.

A resh a tuml iz in Nuyork yetst fun a ruekh a shed
Vi men geyt in a yeder 'block' fun tayvl nor men redt
A yeder hot moyre in 'street' tsu geyn far pakhed un far shrek
Men ken gor haynt keyn mentsh nit zen vay ale zaynen avek...

Tsum tayvl, tsum tayvl, im ontsukukn bloyz
Der tayvl iz do in der 'East Side' in a yedn hoyz
Der tayvl er batsoybert a yedn eynem shnel
Vi men geyt un men shteyt, hert men nor un men zet - dem tayvl

Sem der 'operator' kumt nekhtn nakht fun shop aheym tsu geyn
Zayn hoyz hot er gefinen farmakht un zayn vayb iz nit geveyn
Er hot geveynt un shtark geklogt, es is geven a shrek
Di hoyzkiperin hot im bald gezogt az zi iz mitn 'boarder' avek...

Tsum tayvl, tsum tayvl hot der 'boarder' genumen ir
Ven Sem hot dos derhert iz er gevorn beyz on a shir
Ven zey zaynen aheym gekumen, hot er zey nit araynlozt
Er hot di tir fardrikt, un zey beyde geshikt - tsum tayvl.

Khaym Shmuel der 'All-Right-nik' mit zayn froy iz baym Tayvl geven nit lang:
Gefeln gevorn iz im nit di 'show' vayl er hot nit gehert keyn gezang
Tsum 'box office' tsugelofn iz er nokhn ershtn 'act' dort bald
Der 'cashier' fregt im vos iz der mer, hot er geshrign mit gevald?

Tsum tayvl, tsum tayvl, git mir tsurik mayn geld
Ikh vil do mer nit blaybn vayl di 'show' mir nit gefelt
Ven ikh zol veln shlofn, hot ikh a heym un oykh a vayb
Darum fregt nit keyn shayle, un geyt mir ale - tsum tayvl.

Ikh un mayn vaybl geven zaynen mir baym tayvl in a tog
Mayn vayb hot zikh dershrokn on shir yetst iz af mir a klog
A yede nakht hob ikh a shvartsn sof un ikh veys nit vos tsu ton
Mayn vayb derharget mikh in shlof vayl ze denkt az ikh bin...

Der tayvl, der tayvl, zi kholemt im yede nakht
Ikh shver aykh zi hot mikh shoyn far a kalike gemakht
Zi hakt mir oys di tseyner, zi makht fun mir a tel
Ikh muz zi dershtikn un zi avek shikn - tsum tayvl.

Ikh hob a shviger vos nor zi glaykht zikh tsu amuzirn fayn
Geshrign hot zi nor tog un nakht zi vil geyn in teater arayn
Oyshaltn fun ir hob ikh nit gekent, kh'hob gemeynt ikh ver farrikt
Kh'hob gekoyft a 'tiket' far 13 sent un zi avek geshikt...

Tsum tayvl, tsum tayvl, un gefreyt hob ikh zikh zeyer
Gedenkt hob ikh tsurik kumen vet nit mayn shviger mer
Ober bald af morgn iz zi tsurik gekumen shnel
Zi iz nokh erger fun frier, vayl arayn iz in ir ... der tayvl.

Baym tavl iz Jenny di dare geven mit a 'boy' eyn mol a nakht
Un zayt zi hot dem tayvl gezen iz zi gevorn fet a prakht
Vos verstu azoy grob fregt di mame iz vos iz der mer
Mame, ikh bin nit shuldik gloyb es mir, nor shuldik iz veyst du ver:

Der tayvl, der tayvl, oy, zayt kh'hob im gezen
Fun damolt ver ikh grob un ken af mayne fis nit shteyn
A klog tsu dayne yorn shrayt di mame af der moyd
Du megst zikh bagrobn, vayl bald vestu hobn - a tayvl!

'Boyes' bakumen 'songs' tsu bilike prayzn bay Sani Shapiro 120 Delancey St.
Prof. Hochman der velt barimter gedanken lezer un rot-geber vos ale tsaytungen hobn geshribn fun zayn groyse vunder hot zayn 'office' in 169 Rivington St.

Here's my rough and ready translation, feel free to correct me.

There's a big noise in New York now from a demon, a devil
Wherever you go, on every block, the devil's all people are talking about
Everybody's afraid to go out in the street, they're terrified
You can't see anybody out in the streets today, because everybody is away...

To the devil, to the devil, just to have a look at him.
The devil is here in the East side, in every house
The devil can quickly enchant anybody
Wherever you go, you hear and you see - the devil

Sam the sewing machine operator came home last night
He found the house locked up, his wife wasn't there
He cried and lamented loudly, he was so worried
The housekeeper quickly told him his wife was off with the boarder...

To the devil, to the devil, that's where the boarder took her
When Sam heard this he was so mad
When they got home, he wouldn't let them in
He held the door closed against them and sent them both to the devil

Khaym Shmuel, the allrightnik, and his wife weren't at the show "Devil" very long
He didn't like the show because there weren't any songs
He ran to the box office right after the first act
The cashier asked him, what's the matter?, he shouted:

To the devil, to the devil, give me back my money
I don't want to stay any longer because I don't like the show
If I wanted to sleep, I've got a home and a wife to do that with
So don't ask any questions, and we'll all go to the devil.

My wife and I were at "The Devil" one day
My wife got really scared, now I've got a big problem
Every night things are bad for me and I don't know what to do
My wife is killing me in her sleep because she thinks I am...

The devil, the devil, she dreams about him every night
I swear to you, she's going to cripple me
She hits me in the teeth, she's making a corpse out of me
I'm going to have to suffocate her and send her to the devil.

I have a mother in law, she likes to amuse herself well
She shouted at me day and night, she wanted to go to the theater
I couldn't say no, I thought I'd fix things
I bought a ticket for thirteen cents and send her ...

To the devil, to the devil, I was really happy
I thought she would never come back
But soon the next day she returned quickly
She's even worse than before, because the devil is in her.

With the devil

Skinny Jenny was with a boy one night, with the devil,
And since she saw the devil, she's gotten wonderfully fat
How is it you've gotten so fat? asks her mother, "what's the matter?"
"Mama, it's not my fault, believe me, you know who's guilty:

The devil, the devil, oy, since I saw him
From then on I've gotten fat and can't stand on my feet
"To tarnation with you" shouted the mother at her daughter
"Just go dig a hole and bury yourself, because soon you're going to have - a devil!"

Boys (peddlers) can get songs at the cheapest price from Sani Shapiro.

Professor Hochman the world-renowned mind reader and counselor, about whom all the newspapers have written concerning his great wonders, has his office at 169 Rivington Street

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fishel Zinger was an actor. read more at Zylberzwaig's Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater vol.1, 792

July 8, 2015 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger melinama said...

Wow, thank you. Do you have any of his music?

July 8, 2015 at 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can try this

July 8, 2015 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger melinama said...

Thanks, I read about that song when I got your information this morning. sadly, I don't have the words for it, and the song of Zinger/Singer's that I do have, Tsum Tayvl, is not on the web anywhere. I will keep looking! I appreciate your help.

July 8, 2015 at 6:52 PM  

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