Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Dem arbeter's trer (to the melody of Got un zayn mishpet iz gerekht) - another Jewish Labor Movement anthem.

Here is the sheet music for Gott un sein mishpet iz gerecht (as they spell it), words by Louis Gilrod, music by David Meyerowitz, copyright 1903 by Theodore Lohr, the publisher. Evidently this was a very popular tune and it was used with numerous other lyrics, like Dem arbeters trer. No lyricist is credited on the songsheet.

Click below to hear the recording I made this morning. I've had bronchitis for a month but I'm tired of waiting to get better.

Here are the words (there's one I don't know: "shlikht") and my translation:

Kolumbus hot gefinen a golden land shoyn lang.
Yetst laydn mir derinen un im kumt derfar a dank.
A blik git in di nasn un zet vi groys di noyt.
Arbeter un masn shtarbn far a shtikl broyt.
Zey shtarbn avek fun bitern slek, nishto tsu fardinen a sent.
Der layd, hunger, kelt, un der vert geshtelt
In strit fun dem lendler far rent!

Oy, ven vet kumen amol di tsayt
Di arbeter zolst vern fun tsores bafrayt?
Plogst dikh yorn, arbetst shver, yeder sent kost dikh a trer.
Arbeter ven vestu zayn bafrayt?

Du laydest ale yorn iberhoypt nokh ven s'iz slek.
Un koym tustu epes shporn roybt dos di bank avek
Du kukst oys vi a shleper men roybt fun dir dayn rekht.
Muzt horeven in di sheper a shklaf bistu nor a knekht.
Du makhst yener raykh, far dir hostu keyn zakh,
Du shklafst nor, du haltst in eyn shlikh
Heyb uf dayn kop un dem yokh varf arop zol fun tsores shoyn nemen a sof!

Long ago Columbus found a golden land.
Now we suffer within it -- and we have him to thank!
Take a look out in the dampness and see: the suffering is so great
Workers, the masses, they die for lack of a piece of bread
They die from the bitter layoffs, there's no way to earn a cent
The suffering, hunger, cold, and being turned out in the street by the landlord when you can't pay your rent!

Oh, when will the time come when the worker will be free from troubles?
Slaving away through the years, working hard, every penny costs you a tear
Worker, when will you be free?

You suffer year in, year out, especially when there isn't much work.
And as soon as you manage to save a little, the bank robs it away.
You look like a vagabond, your rights are stolen
You toil in the shops, you're a slave.
You make others rich, you have nothing for yourself.
You just slave away, you're always ?
Lift your head and throw off the yoke, there must be an end to this misery!

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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