Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Oyf yener zayt (Auf Jener Seit, Af yener zayt) - "On the other side"

I love this melody, it was used for the Morris Rund parody Rusland Bafrayt, which to me had a bouncy delight in it, so I sang it much faster than the vintage recordings of the underlying song.

We see here that Jennie Goldstein (so young!) was the singer, and the show it was from was טהרת המשפּחה (Family Purity)" On the lovely cover we also see the composer Sigmund Mogulesco.

I haven't heard a Goldstein recording if there is one. There is a very slow recording of Solomon Small (Solomon Smulewitz) at FAU: Auf Jener Seit -- on that 78 there's just one verse, as in the sheet music at the Library of Congress...

... But on the vintage recording Auf jener seite which I give you here, by wonderful performer Abraham Rosenstein, there are two verses and I don't have the lyrics for the second verse. (If you can help with this second verse, please let me know!)  
Here he is:


Notice he sings the chorus twice each time. I think it was the custom to always sing the chorus twice back then because it was the part the audience knew best and it pleased them to belt it out.

Now that I'm leaving the territory covered by the American Yiddish Penny Song collection, I'm at the mercy of what's printed. This sheet music does not give the original Yiddish, only the Germanic transcription.

I love the word פּסק - it means judgment, verdict, outcome, punishment, scolding
The online Yiddish dictionary gives האָב|ן*/כאַפּ|ן אַ מיאוסן פּסק as "get chewed out/told off; end badly"

Transliteration and translation after the jump.


Oyf yener zayt

Der mentsh shtraybt nor tsu vern raykh, er vendt ton di shlekhte zakh
Er shvindlt, rayst di hoyt fun aykh, abi nor tsu krign gelt a sakh
Nor plutsim kumt aroys der sod, der khokhem vert gor bankrupt
In keytelekh firt men im gants vayt in prison fun yener zayt, fun yener zayt, fun yener zayt

Vayl mentshele, bist keynmol nit zat
Tsulib dos gelt roybstu oremelayt
Meynst vest lebn eybik, du nar, oy vestu krign eyn psak derfar
In keyver dort af yener zayt

Man strives only to become rich, he turns to doing wicked things
He swindles, tears the skin from you just to get a lot of money
But suddenly comes the secret, the "wise" fellow goes bankrupt
They carry him off in chains, far away, in prison, on the other side

Because you, little man, are never sated
You rob poor people just for money
You think you'll live forever, you fool, but you'll get your punishment for it
In the grave, there on the other side


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

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