Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Aher geh (aher gey) - new slang on the street, and a song (or two or three) of the same name.

Regarding the slang "A her gey," there are two songs I haven't found tunes for: one is Aher gey (the other is Aher gey tsar Nikolay, which will be in a subsequent post).

On the Columbia records website it says Louis Gilrod and David Meyerowitz sang a duet with the name A her geh in April 1915, a few months after this Gimpel Beynish cartoon points out that the phrase "a her gei" has become very popular; their recording is listed as 'status unknown.'

I'd guess it's not the same as the one which appears in the American Yiddish Penny Songs collection, because (1) both Meyerowitz and Gilrod were songwriters so they'd have been more likely to be singing a song of their own creation; (2) this one says it's "The Correct Aher Gey" and it was written by Morris Rund and Goldberg to Morris Rund's own tune (which sadly I haven't found yet),  Der tayvl (The Devil) or, in the original,
(דער טײַפֿעל -- דער טײַװל)

Anyway, here is the comic strip. Aher is "here" and gey is "go" so I guess the joke is "go [away] come [here]" - maybe it can also mean "get lost" ? For more of these cartoons by Sam Zagat visit my

January 29, 1915: He speaks up at a lucky hour and tastes the flavor of the new "joke" on the Jewish street.
  1. Well, this is a swinish time! If somebody doesn't say "Come, make me a match," or...
  2. What's this echo? Are people calling me, or...
  3. Over here too? What's the matter with saying "Excuse me"?
  4. What kind of turmoil is this? Constantly 'come here' and 'come here.' Oh, I understand!
  5. This is the loafers' swinish saying. What nerve! Making fun of me with their joke.

Click for a larger view. Note the "thought reader and advice giver" ad at the bottom of the page.

Note the now-extinct profession of his cousin: he is a "moving-picture shouter," must have walked down the sidewalks yelling at people to go into the movie house.

Aher gey

A vertl iz do yetst aroys vos nitst in yedn fal
Dos vertl hert men fun kleyn biz groys in shtub in strit iberal
Der biznes man nitst es far zayn stor, der pedler in strit nitst es oykh
Koym geyt ir farbay a pushkart nor, hert ir bald shrayen hoykh:

Aher gey, aher gey, shrayt yeder in zayn fakh
Dos vertl nitst a yeder haynt say orem un say raykh
Meyn kozin Itshe Mayer, iz a moving piktshur shrayer
Ven ir geyt dort farbay, hert ir bald zayn geshray: aher gey

Shpatsir in strit hob ikh eyner aleyn
Geven iz bay der nakht
A meydl a sheyne hot mikh derzen
Un mit di oygn tsu mir gemakht
Mit di lipn zi shipshet un ruft mikh tsu
Un ikh veys nit vos zi vil
Ikh heyb on a veg geyn fun ir shoyn gikh
Derher ikh a kol in der shtil:

Aher gey, aher gey, boytshikl zay nit keyn yold
Tsu gegangen bin ikh tsu ir [now?] treft vos zi hot gevolt
Ikh zol zi aheym gor bagleytn
Efsher veyst ir vos dos ken badeytn
Ikh freg dort baym oylem, shrayt zi tsu mir: "Goylem, aher gey!"

Mirkes man iz a beker baym treyd
Un ikh voyn dort in lozhi
Er arbet bay nakht un kumt aheym shpet
Ikh ober leyg mikh fri
Nor nekhtn nakht shlof ikh eyn mit noyt
Derher ikh a kol in der zayt
Ikh shpring fun geleger dershrokn tsum toyt
Ligt Mirke in bet un shrayt:

Aher gey, aher gey, gevald es iz mir shlekht
Finster iz in shtub geven, ikh heyb on zukhn a lekht
Tsum shlimazl hob ikh nit getrofn
In der finster bin ikh arumgelofn
Ikh tap dortn zikh, un zi shrayt tsu mir gikh: "Aher gey."

Go here

An expression is being used in every situation these days
You hear it from everyone small and big, in the house, in the street everywhere
The businessman uses it for his store, the peddler in the street uses it too
Just go by a pushcart, you'll hear the loud shout:

Go here, go here, everyone shouts it in his business
Everybody uses the expression these days, poor and rich
My cousin Itshe Mayer is a movie shouter
When he goes by, hear him quickly shout: "Go here."

I took a walk in the street alone, it was at night
A pretty girl saw me and made eyes at me
She whispers with her lips and calls to me
And I don't know what she wants
I go on my way, leaving her quickly,
I hear a voice in the quiet:

"Go here, go here, cutie, don't be a chump,"
I approach her, now guess what she wanted:
That I should accompany her home,
Maybe you know what might mean,
I ask the audience here, she shouts to me,
"Dummy, go here."

Mirke's husband is a baker by trade
And I live there in lodgings
He works at night and comes home late
I, however, go to bed early
But last night I was sleeping
I hear a voice on the side
I spring from my bed scared to death
Mirke's lying in bed and shouting:

"Go here, go here, gevald, things are terrible for me."
It was dark in the house, I begin looking for a light,
Unfortunately I didn't find one
In the dark I was running around
I feel my way around there and she quickly shouts to me: "Go here."

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