Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bet es im, vet er aykh gebn (Ask Him, He'll give it to you), Yiddish variety show song

UPDATE: I just found the sheet music at the Library of Congress site, under the name Bets-ihm. It was written by Hyman Kanapoff, published in 1910. Weirdly, the translation of the title is given as "Whip him."

The chorus is really fun. I now have a great recording of it by Joseph Feldman as Bet's Ihm, Vet Er Ach Geben and I put it on Youtube with English captions:

Sani Shapiro's songsheet says "Sung with great success in all varieties and also by Mr. and Mrs. Kanner in all moving pictures."

Click for larger view. Transliteration and translation are below.

Der yid iz tsu last bay yedn farhast
Vayl er aleyn hot zikh nit lib
Vu nor er geyt un vu nor er shteyt
Grobt er far zikh oys a grub
Der halt zikh groys un lakht yedn oys
Un hit nit di tsen gebot
Nor ven der yid iz nisht azoy gut
Fangt er on nor betn tsu Got:

Bet es, bet es, bet es dem oybershtn
Vet er aykh derhern
Bet es, bet es, bet es dem oybershtn
Vet ir geholfn vern
Loybt im brider, biz in himl,
Un lozt hern ayer getuml
Er ken aykh retn bay dem lebn
Er iz der tate fun ale mentshn
Nor zayn brokhe ken aykh bentshn
Bet es im, bet es im, vet er aykh shoyn gebn

A froy mit ir man loyft tsum rebn arayn,
"Oy, rebenyu, get mikh geshvind,
Mayn man iz zeyer shlekht,
Er geyt oys gantse nekht.
Ikh hob nisht keyn man un keyn kind."
Der rebbe zogt glaykh, az far aza zakh,
Getn zikh iz nisht keday.
Fargest nor on dem un geyt beyde aheym,
Un bet es aykh iber afsnay

Vet er aykh a kind bashern (chorus 4th line)

Ven ir meydlekh krikht khasene ir zukht
Hob ikh far aykh a plan
Zorgt gor nisht neyn ven ir zayt nisht sheyn
Un az ir hot nisht keyn nadn
S'iz gants bashtimt - az ven di tsayt kumt
Der oybershter veyst yede zakh
Un ven er derfreyt iz keyn mol nit shpet
Nor er aleyn ken helfn aykh

Vet er a khosn bashern

Bet es im meydlekh biz in himl

The Jew is a burden, hated by everyone because he doesn't like himself
Wherever he goes he digs himself a grave.
This one thinks he's a bigshot and laughs at everyone,
And doesn't keep the ten commandments
But when things aren't going well
The Jew begins to pray to God:

Pray, ask the Almighty, he'll hear you.
Pray, ask the Almighty, you'll get help.
Praise him, brothers, to the skies,
Let him hear your agitation.
He can save your life, he's everyone's father
Only his blessings can bless you
Pray, ask him, he'll provide for you

A woman and her husband run to the rebbe,
"Oy, rebbe, divorce me quickly,
My husband is awful, he goes out every night,
I don't have a husband or a child."
The rebbe says a divorce isn't the answer in such a case.
"Forget about it and both of you go home,
And pray to God, start over again

Fourth line of chorus: he'll bless you with a child

When you girls creep out to find husbands
I have a plan for you
Don't worry about not being pretty
Or about not having a dowry.
It's all taken care of. When the time comes
The Almighty knows everything,
And when He rejoices it's never too late,
Only He can help you.

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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