Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tate mamenyu, aka Tate mame's frayndshaft (Father and mother's friendship)

Songs like this were de rigueur in just about any operetta (click for a larger view).

This one is set to the melody Yoseml, yesoymele. I recorded one song set to this tune, Dos shop meydl, so if you feel the need to sing another song about how you'll never have a better friend... feel free.

This one appeared twice in the American Penny Song collection. Song sheet is below the translation.

A person has lots of friends,
But true friends? Only two.
Tell me, who's equal to a father and mother?
Parents are truly faithful, true friends.
If, God forbid, they are gone
The child's life has no worth.
Father and mother are never false
If a child behaves terribly
They'd [?] to quiet the child's heartache
The child of course will not understand
And won't believe it until he doesn't see them
And it's tough to be a father and mother

A father and mother, God forbid they are gone
Then the child sees, for the first time, what he's lost
He'd spend everything he has to get them back
Because he's desolate in the whole world

Look at the old pair there
How lonely their life is now
They hoped, all their years,
to live to have joy and pride in their children
Now the mother is old and blind
The father can barely stand up
As soon as they come to visit a child
They're told to leave quickly
Nobody helps them in their destitution
No child, no friend, nothing now,
They pray that before death
To see their children at least one more time
But of course the child understands nothing
And doesn't believe - until he doesn't see them
And it's tough to be a father and mother.
Click for a larger view.

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