Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Zol zayn mit mazl - did Philip Singer write this for his friends who were getting married?

This novelty song, about a wedding, maybe a real one, can be found on the FAU website and also in the Mayrent collection. The recording, from 1918, is by Morris Tuchband (pictured) (born in 1884 or 1886 in Warsaw, Poland, died 1969 in Brooklyn).

The label spells it Sol sein mit Mazel and helpfully calls it a parody of Waiting at the Church... The label gives the composer as Philip Singer (also Zinger). Read about him here: Philip Zinger.

... So next, listen to this ridiculous 1906 recording of Florrie Forde singing My Wife Won't Let Me (Waiting At The Church)- the poor bride is left abandoned at the altar because her bridegroom's wife won't let him come to the church. (Click below to hear it at Youtube.) This may be the first instance I've found of the original English-language song being more cynical than the Yiddish parody.


Get the sheet music at the LOC site: Waiting at the Church.

So now here is Morris Tuchband. It was only recently I realized putting the songsheets from the American Yiddish Penny Songs collection together with the historic recordings might be helpful to people trying to learn how to transcribe Yiddish lyrics from old scratchy records. I certainly couldn't have teased this one out! Morris doesn't sing exactly what's on the songsheet, but it's close.


Here's my translation, including the third verse which Morris doesn't sing and which includes references to legendary characters. Note about pishe peyshe, a card game which has come up in these songs before: the main thing is that it's a kid's game hence funny that the healthy detectives are playing. Wikipedia says
  • pisha paysha – corruption of English card game "Pitch and Patience"

People, I ask you to wish them happiness and good luck, shout it out, because red-headed Mindl and Chaim-Khatskl Bik are marrying tomorrow night.

The marriage will be in lovely Hester Park, you won't need to check your hat. Whoever wants to laugh and have a good time shouldn't fail to attend!

Because 'Tall Khane' and her husband Itzik Pomp and Shulamis from uptown will also be there. Rachel Bak, Khaye Iteh, Jenny Tsvak, all will be relatives.

Sani Shapiro will be the 'Reverend.' Zelig Itsik with his band will play on the bandstand. So shout it out, here and now, small and big: congratulations!

The officiant will be an Irishman. The chupah poles will be held by four 'African Americans.' Vanderbilt himself will also be a relative, he'll sit at the place of honor by the door.

The fat policeman will be the wedding jester there, he'll make up rhymes on the spot. The Chinaman will sing all sorts of songs and Shmendrik will hold him by the braid.

Rockefeller the big millionaire will dance with a chair and swallow raw eggs. Mr. Pig of Russia will also be there, oh boy will he meet with a downfall.

Slow Faytl the expressman and a German will lead the march there waving a whip. So don't think too much about it, everybody shout out: congratulations!

Two fat Germans who weigh a thousand pounds will be the waiters there tomorrow. Eighteen very healthy detectives will play Pishe Peyshe up and down.

There'll be a holiday tomorrow in the whole city, all the businesses will be closed. It will be louder in New York than in a bath house because the chuppah will be at 8:30.

Khanine Genendl and "Hurry Up" Leyzer will be noshing out of a pot and standing on their heads. "Scratchy" Kalman will shout at God, the two Kuni Lemls will speechify.

Hershl Ostrapoler with the odds and ends will declaim poetry with a chorus. So come tomorrow morning, and everybody wish them: good luck! Contratulations!

Click below for a larger view of the songsheet.



For sheet music and/or performances contact me: jane@mappamundi.com

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