Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Ikh hob ales vos ikh darf bay andere gezen (I have seen everything I need ... with somebody else) sung by Bennie Zeidman

This is Sam Kestin, who sang this song in the operetta Khantshe in Amerike (my feature on the title song is here: Chantshe in America) in 1913. It's usually seen as merely "Ich hob."

A year later, Bennie Zeidmann recorded it. Zeidman was born in 1886 in Teplik, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine. His father was a cantor and he, at the age of seventeen, conducted the choir for for Cantor Lipshitz in the Cannon Street Synagogue. He also started acting. In 1906 he came to America. He played vaudeville and Yiddish theater. (Thanks to the Museum of Family History)

Its trick is grammatical; it plays on the difference between Ikh hob (I have) and Ikh hob... gevolt, gezen, etc. (I wanted, I saw).

Unusually, all four verses were recorded. It took up both sides of the 78. You'll never find this song by searching because it is drowned in 1,000s of recordings of "Ikh hob dikh tsufil lib." So here it is:

Text and translation after the jump.

Ich hob

Az ikh hob keyn gelt zolt ir nit klern
Kh'hob fifty toyznt dolar in di bank
Gezen a mol, deroyf ken ikh aykh shvern
Dos iz a groyse sume, vi ikh denk
Gloybt mir, mir felt keyn zakh af der velt nit
Ikh hob in Clinton Street a property
Gekent opkoyfn, nor vayl kh'hob keyn gelt nit
Hot an anderer zi opgekoyft, you see.
Ikh hob a kale mit mezumen
50 toyznt cash nadan
Keyn mol nit gekent bakumen
Derfar bin ikh yetst mayn vayb's man.

Ikh hob, ikh hob gor kurts un sharf
Ikh hob, kh'hob ales vos men darf
Ikh hob, ikh zog keyn ligen, neyn!
Ikh hob shoyn ales vos ikh darf ... bay andere gezen.

Ikh hob a watch un chain, vi oykh a locket
Mit a sheynem diamond ayngefast
Gezen a mol bay mayn boss in vest pocket
A diamond ring trogt er oykh ven im past
Ikh hob an oyber-rok mit a silk lining
Mit fur kuffs un a collar oykh fun fur
Mit fancy pockets, mit a sakh designing
Gezen haynt in a groysn clothing store
Mayn vayb hot tsvantsik naye kleyder,
A diamond necklace, Got tsu dank,
A hat mit aza groysn feather,
Gevolt hobn shoyn fun lang.

Ikh hob a dinst vos ken di kinder kemen,
Kokhn, bakn, eyns gor in der velt.
Gevolt fun lang in hoyz shoyn araynnemen,
Hot men mikh in gas aroysgeshtelt.
Ikh hob a yerushe kesh mezumen,
Fun a feter vos farlozt di velt,
Keyn mol in mayn lebn nit bakumen,
Vayl mayn feter lebt (un hot keyn gelt)
Ikh hob a suit gemakht tsu order,
Fayne "vaare" net un sheyn
Gezen haynt bay mayn shokhn's boarder,
Mekane bin ikh im geven.

Ikh bet mayn shokhn: "Rete mir dos lebn,
Borg mir tsen dollar tsu tsoln rent."
Ungetrakht hot er mir bald gegebn
Tsu farshteyn, az er hot nit a cent
Ikh hob a carriage vos ken on ferd loyfn
60 mile a shtunde gants gevis,
Nit gekent afforden tsu koyfn,
Un derfar gey ikh imer tsu fus.
Kaptsonim hert, ir darft nit zorgn,
Aroyshelfn vel ikh aykh,
Kh'vel yedn toyznt dolar borgn,
Bald vi ikh vel vern raykh.

Don't think I have no money, I have ($50,000 in the bank)
seen, so I can swear to you it's a large sum, I think.
Believe me, I'm not lacking anything in the world.
I have (a property on Clinton Street)
had the possibility of buying... but because I don't have any money
Somebody else bought it, you see.
I have (a fiancee with cash - a $50,000 dowry)
never been able to snag because I'm married to my wife.

In brief: I have everything one needs.
I'm not lying, no! I have (everything I need) seen in someone else's possession.

I have (a watch and chain, and a locket set with a lovely diamond)
Seen once in my boss's vest pocket.
He also wears a diamond ring when it suits him.
I have (an overcoat with a silk lining, with fur cuffs and collar,
With fancy pockets, with a lot of designing)
Seen in a big clothing store.
My wife has (twenty new dresses, a diamond necklace, God be praised,
A hat with such a big feather) wanted for a long time.

I have (a serving girl who can care for the kids,
Cook, bake, a one-of-a-kind in the world)
Wanted to bring into the house for a long time,
But I've been put out into the street.
I have (a cash inheritance from a departed uncle)
Never in my life received because my uncle's alive and has no money.
I have (a suit made to order from fine material, elegant and pretty)
Seen today on my neighbor's boarder.
I'm jealous of him.

I ask my neighbor: "Save my life, lend me $10 for rent."
Thoughtlessly he lets me know he doesn't have a cent.
I have (a carriage that speeds along without a horse
60 miles an hour, certainly)
Not been able to afford to buy, so I always walk.
Paupers, listen, you shouldn't worry, I'll help you out.
I'll lend each of you a thousand dollars as soon as I'm rich.


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