Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ikh hob nisht keyn tsayt! (I don't have time) - Yiddish vaudeville song

UPDATE: In Lider magazin I found another Yiddish text written to this melody. Ikh hob moyre tsu shlofn aleyn, by Louis Gilrod. Click for a larger view.

The specified melody was "I'm Afraid to Come Home in the Dark," a very annoying song from 1908 you can hear sung by May Irwin at Youtube. The words were by Harry Williams and the tune is by Egbert Van Alstyne.

The Yiddish words were written by Hyman Altman who wrote quite a few of the songs in the American Yiddish Penny Song collection.

Click the youtube button below to hear the recording I made today in my living room of Altman's version. I left out the middle verse but you can find it below.

In Amerike iz a yeder eyner nor far zikh
Muz arbetn keseyder un muz loyfn in dergikh.
Er muz loyfn vos shneler fardinen zikh af broyt,
Un ven eyner iz a foyler azoy hot er dem toyt.
Ikh gey in strit un freg eynem a vort.
Dreyt zikh oys un entfert mir zofort:

Kh'hob nit keyn tsayt, nit keyn tsayt
Ikh muz loyfn vayl s'iz nokh vayt
Ikh muz shoyn in shop dort zayn horry op
Un nit ver ikh on mayn job.
Mentshn fil kuken yetst af dem
Me zol sekn fun arbet di layt.
Ikh loz dikh aleyn ikh muz yetst geyn
Excuse me ikh hob nit keyn tsayt

A meydl geyt shpatsirn mit a yung a sharlatan
Zi lozt zikh farfiren biz er nart oys ir nadan
Zi falt af a svore un loyft glaykh in kort
Un es kumt af a tsore men nemt im tsi af bord.
Er bet zikh bay ir zi zol vartn af zayn vort.
Dreyt zi zikh oys un entfert im zofort:

Kh'hob nit keyn tsayt, nit keyn tsayt
Ikh hob moyre du zolst nit avek vayt
Ikh vil mikh nit shrekn ikh vil dos fardekn
Es zoln nit reydn keyn layt.
Kuk nor tsu zikh un batrakht zikh af gikh
Un nem dikh tsurik tsu der arbet
Kler nit keyn sakh un hob khasene glaykh.
Excuse me ikh hob nit keyn tsayt

In a kafe hoyz kum ikh nekhtn un shpil mit der misses a geym.
Ver zol zikh deroyf rekhtn az der man kumt bald aheym.
Ikh vil im a blofn heys ikh mir gibn a "meal"
Nu, er hot mikh ober getrofn punkt baym rekhtn shpil
Er heyst zikh mir nit oyfhobn fun ort
Drey ikh mikh oys un entfert im zofort:

Kh'hob nit keyn tsayt, nit keyn tsayt
Ikh muz geyn, vayl es vartn af mir layt
Er iz nit keyn yold un derlangt mir bald
A por gute klep in der zayt.
Er efnt di tir un er varft mikh afir
Un heyst mir dort vartn af a fight.
Ikh hoyb mikh bald uf un ikh shray im aruf:
Excuse me ikh hob nit keyn tsayt

In America everybody acts only out of self-interest
You work constantly and you have to be running quickly
You run faster and faster to earn your daily bread
And if you're lazy you might as well be dead
I go outside and ask somebody something.
He turns around and answers me right away:

I don't have time,
I have to run because I've got a long way to go
I have to be in the shop already, there I'll be hurrying up
I can't be without my job
Lots of people are watching now
To see if I'll get "sacked."
I've got to leave you, I have to go now,
Excuse me, I don't have time.

A girl goes walking with a young charlatan
She lets herself be seduced until he charms her out of her dowry
She has an idea! She runs right to court
And he gets in trouble, they pull him in by his beard
He asks her to wait for his word, she turns and answers him right away:

I don't have time,
I'm afraid you'll go far away
I don't want to be afraid, I want to conceal this
So people don't talk
Look to yourself, think it over quickly
And go back to your work
Don't say anything and get married right away
Excuse me, I don't have time

Yesterday I went to a coffeehouse and played a game with the landlady
Who'd have guessed her husband would come home so soon?
I want to bluff him, so I say "Give me a meal"
Well, but he figures out exactly what's going on
He tells me: "Don't make a move!"
I turn and answer him right away:

"I don't have time, I don't have time,
I have to go, people are waiting for me."
He's not a chump, he gives it to me right away:
A couple good belts in the side!
He opens the door and throws me out
And tells me to wait there for a fight.
I get up quickly and shout up to him:
"Excuse me, I don't have time."

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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