Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A het oder a get (A Hat Or A Divorce) - Yiddish vaudeville parody of "Kiss Yourself Goodbye"

Continuing to put the Lider magazin songs together, I got my Mappamundi bandmates Ken Bloom and Jim Baird to play the accompaniment for this ludicrous ditty.

Louis Gilrod was one of the rhymers paid by Jewish music publishers to write Yiddish versions of popular American songs, in this case the 1902 hit "Kiss Yourself Goodbye."

Here's our rendition from this week. (I omitted the first verse.)



This song is so dumb, I don't think I have any more to say about it. Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.




A het oder a get

Mayn bester fraynd iz gekumen haynt tsu loyfn tsu mir
Di hent er brekht, es iz im shlekht shlekht on a shir
Er iz farheyrat koym eyn yor, yetst vil zayn vayb im get'n gor
Er fregt far vos, kumt im den dos -- entfert zi gants klor:

Koym vestu, guter bruder mir nit koyfn a het,
Azoy shpay ikh af dayn tatn un gib dir bald a get
Ikh ker nit far keyn korsets kleyder, shikh,
A het muz ikh hobn, ven nit, khapn dir der rikh
Zolst onkukn di shkheyne vos zi voynt do in nekst dor,
Yeder feder af ir het greykht bizn zekstn flor.
Ikh bin goyzer do di gzeyre un bay dir ligt yetst di breyre
A het oder a get

Dort shteyt a por nebn a groysn stor fun hets on a tsol.
Zi vil arayn, er zogt: "Loz zayn af an anders mol
Far kas git zi im bald a knip, a ris in zayt, a shtokh in rib,
Zi vert in kas un af der gas shrayt zi af a kol:

A Hat or a Divorce


My best friend came running to me today
He's wringing his hands, things are bad for him, real bad.
He's barely been married a year, now his wife wants a divorce.
He asks why, this is what he gets, she answers very clearly:

If you don't buy me a hat, I spit on your father and divorce you.
I don't care for corsets, dresses, or shoes,
I have to have a hat and if I don't get it, to hell with you.
Just look at our next-door neighbor:
Every feather on her hat reaches up to the sixth floor.
I'm issuing an order, and now you have the choice:
A hat or a divorce.

There stands a couple near a store chock-full of hats.
She wants to go in, he says: "Some other time."
In anger she quickly pinches him, pulls at his side, pokes him in the rib,
She gets mad and right on the street she shouts out:






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

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