Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Company (Kompani) - a Yiddish theater song from 1905

Early last year I recorded a parody based on this melody, Vos hot men tsu mir? In fact it was the title song of my cd by the same name.

Yesterday I got around to recording the original song (using the same piano track from before).

The 1905 Boris Thomasefsky show was "The Yiddish Yankee Doodle," Di yidisher yenki dudl. Louis Friedsel wrote the words and music.

The song, like many others, seeks to explain an English word to Jewish immigrants eager to understand the "Golden Land's" prevailing language. In this case, the first verse shows that any old Yankl with a soda stand can call himself a company. In the second verse, "keeping company" leads to adverse consequences for a loose young woman. In the third verse, bedbugs comprise an unwelcome kind of company.

Here's yesterday's recording:

Transliteration and translation after the jump.

COMPANY (Kompany, Kompani)

Amerika iz a golden land dos git a yeder tsu
Mit shvindlers, feykers, blofers, ales heyst "Di Kompani"
A griner kumt aher un makht zikh uf a 'soda stend'
Dem tsveytn tog, ruft er zikh shoyn "Khayim Khatzkel" end ...

Kompani, kompani,
Khotsh der stend batreft veys ikh nit (amount to, cost)
Zeyer fil dokh
Ruft er zikh a kompani
Kompani, kompani, nu ir veyst dokh ales heyst dokh kompani

A meydl flegt arumgeyn mit a boy fun Avenue C
Far yedn flegt zi rimen zikh "Well, I keep company." (brag)
Gekeept hot er ir company biz, hert aykh nor tsu git,
Er iz fun ir antlofn, un zi iz geblibn mit...

Kompani Kompany zi farshelt zikh yetst di yor,
Far tsores iz zi geshvoln gor
Kompani Kompani, imer mer vert ir shver di kompani

Tsu zayn a borderke bay a misses var ikh shoyn geshtroft
Lang hob ikh dort nit gevoynt kh'hob bald aroysgemuft
Nit vayl dos esn oder di lozshi var dort nit git
Nor vayl kh'hob oysgefunen az gevoynt hob ikh dort mit

Kompani Kompani es zol gornit zayn oysgeredt
Gefinen hob ikh in mayn bet a
Kompani Kompani
Umgezukht ikh ze es krikht oy Kompani

Everybody says America is a golden land
With swindlers, fakers, bluffers, everything's called "The Company."
A greenhorn comes here and sets up a soda stand.
Next day, he's already putting on airs. And...

Company. Though the soda stand doesn't amount to much,
He of course calls himself "A Company."
Company. Well, you know it of course,
Everything is of course called a "Company."

A girl used to go around with a boy from Avenue C.
She bragged to everybody: "Well, I keep company."
He kept her company until, listen carefully...
He ran away! And she was left with...

Company. Now she curses.
What misery, she swelled up!
Company's making things hard for her forever.

I was unfortunate enough to board with a landlady.
I didn't live there long, I soon moved out.
Not because the food or the lodging itself weren't good,
But because I found I was living there with...

Company! I'll never say it out loud: I found in my bed a company.
Company! I see creeping around, unwanted, oy, a company.

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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