Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Country Pleasure: A Yiddish vaudeville ditty about summer vacation

The National Library of Israel has some digitized magazines/newspapers (not sure what we would call them) of the song lyrics by Solomon Smulewitz. Or at least, most of them are.

This parody, printed in the Smulewitz publication, is to be sung to the tune of Heinie. It doesn't have an author listed. Maybe because it's so ridiculously dumb.

Yet another story about the mischief people get up to out in the "country." The husbands stayed in town (probably doing some canoodling themselves) but sent their wives to the country for some "fresh air." This arrangement was a status symbol.

Click for a larger view.


Now, about Heinie, "Comic Waltz Song" published 1904, words by Ed Rose, music by Ted Snyder. Recorded by Billy Murray. (Click for a larger view.)

It's a mighty dumb song, though possibly intentionally so. The heroine pines for her sailor sweetheart who hasn't come home even though he said he would. She addresses a letter to him, addressed "To Heinie, Atlantic Ocean," and the chorus goes:

Heinie, oh Heinie, I love but you
No one can cut my love half in two
Heinie, oh Heinie, if you will be minie,
I'll promise to stick to you just like glue
Heinie, I'm tiny 'longside of you
But I've a heart that is big and true,
Heinie, oh Heinie, if you should decline me,
I'd jump in the ocean and swim out to you


Here's my living room recording from yesterday. Yiddish lyrics in transliteration and translation after the jump.






Country Pleasure

Es kumt der liber zumer, pleasure zukht men bald zikh oys
Un a yede froyentsimer pakht zikh ayn un fort aroys
In country un farshteyt zikh
muz der man ir gebn gelt
Zi shtralt mit shtolts un freyt zikh
s'fangt zikh on far ir a velt

In country loyft men tsulib di hits,
Un dortn krigt men fun al dos gits
Dort git es mosquites vos baysn un raysn
Puzirn, geshvirn fun yedn krats
Un esn krigt men vi ikh gedenk
Take a voyle a gute krenk
Mit hering men kvikt zikh men drikt zikh men shtikt zikh
Men shtipt zikh men libt zikh in zumer plats.

Ikh ken a yunge lady velkhe hot an alter man
Er past ir tsu zayn a zeyde un zi hot keyn ander plan
Vi in der country forn! Dortn kumt a yunger held
Farzist er ir di yorn un zi veyst ersht fun a velt.

Gelozt hot Fenni makhn modes kleyder gor a shats
Far a toysnt dolar zakhn alts tsulib dem zumer plats
Di kleyder tsu ir kumen shpet hot men ir tsugeshtelt
Es iz avek der zumer! Fintster iz geven ir velt!

Beloved summer is upon us, we're seeking pleasure
And every woman packs up and travels out to the country, and of course
Her husband has to give her money.
She shines with pride and happiness,
She really starts to live it up.

Folks run to the country because of the heat,
And there you get everything that's good:
You get mosquitoes that bite and tear.
Blisters and abscesses every time you scratch.
And as I recall, you get food that'll make you sick,
With herring you're delighted,
You're squeezed, you choke, you have sex, you fall in love
In the summer place...

I know a young lady who has an old husband,
He could be her grandfather! And she doesn't have any other plan...
Than to travel to the country. A young hero shows up,
He sweetens her days and for the first time she knows the world

Fanny let them make fashionable dresses for her,
real treasures, for a thousand dollars,
things for the summer place.
The clothes came, but they were delivered late,
The summer is over, and things are looking bad for her.

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

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