Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A bom, a bom, a bom! (A bum, a bum, a bum) Yiddish vaudeville parody of "Waltz Me Around Again, Willy."


The original song was written by Ren Shields in 1906 with lyrics by Will D. Cobb.

The Yiddish version, probably published the same year (I found it in Lider magazin), was written by Isidor Lillien (Isidore Lillian).

The parody version takes the common approach of having each verse be a completely different take on the catch phrase, in this case, "a bum."

I like the Yinglish "gereyst dem rent" (raised the rent.)

Also "pendesites" which Larry Gillig kindly translated for me as "appendicitis."

Here's my version from yesterday:

Yiddish transliteration and translation after the jump.

A bom, a bom, a bom

Ikh greyt zikh tsu mufn vayl ikh ken nit shlofn
In dem plats vu ikh shtey yetst ayn,
Ikh lig af mayn geleger un punkt eyns a zeyger,
Shoyn vekt men mikh uf, mame mayn!
Fun a poiker geym kumt mayn shokhn a heym,
Shpet bay nakht ven yeder shloft shoyn in hoyz
Er shrayt: "Mayn vayb, efn! A shlak zol dikh trefn!"
Un zi shrayt tsu im tsurik aroys:

Vos iz a man ven er gembelt? A bom, a bom, a bom
A krenk vel ikh dir uf makhn di tir yetst
A heym kum nit mer "don't come home"
Zey nemen zikh sheltn dos klingt tsuker zis,
Er shrayt makh shoyn uf un zi shrayt brekht a fus
Vos iz a man ven er gembelt, a bom a bom a bom

Af heyzer a sreyfe a vare mageyfe
Iz yetst do in nyuyork aroys
A yeder ferd hendler nemt af lis/lease vert a lendler/landlord
Fun a Ist Sayd tenement hoyz,
Dos rent bald er hekhert, un vi s'iz gelekhert
Dort regent arayn un s'iz nas
Fraynd tut vos men heyst aykh, ven der lendlor rayst aykh
Dem rent, zolt ir shrayen mit kas:

A lendler vos hekhert dem rent iz a bom, a bom, a bom
Far a yedn doler a krenk krign zol er
Az brenen zol er punkt vi [sodom]
Mit a nasn bezem klapt im "if you please"
Ven er bet aykh rent entfert im "brekh a fis,"
A lendlor vos hekhert di rent iz a bom, a bom, a bom

Ikh ken a medine, a mise-meshune
Hot shoyn gedarft kumen af ir
Vi blut flist in shtromen, dort fun di pogromen,
S'iz yidishes blut, vey iz mir
Der tsar Mister Fonye, ven krigt er nomoniye (pneumonia?)
Im art dos nit punkt vi di vant
Khalvay pendesites krigt er shoyn der tifes,
Nu entfert mir, ale baynand (all together)

Vos iz der rusisher keyzer? A bom a bom a bom
Khalvay krigt der bom shoyn a bislkompsompshen
Bagrobn zol men im haynt
Makht a misheberekh af rusish ihm plis,
onshtot shrayen batyushka shrayt brekht a fis
Vos iz der rusishe keyzer? a bom a bom a bom

I'm getting ready to move because I can't sleep where I'm staying now. I lie in bed and exactly at 1 am I get woken up, mom.
Late at night when everyone's asleep, my neighbor comes home from a poker game. He shouts, "Wife, open up or you'll be sorry," and she shouts back:

"What's a man who gambles? A bum. No way I'm opening the door now, don't come home any more, don't come home."
They commence cursing, it sounds sugar sweet. He shouts: "Open up!" and she shouts: "Break your foot!" What's a man who gambles? A bum.

Houses are burning now here in New York, a conflagration, a plague. Any old horse trader gets a lease and becomes landlord of an East Side tenement house.
He soon raises the rent, and where the roof leaks, the rain comes in and it's wet. Friend, do what you're told: when the landlord raises the rent on you, shout angrily:

A landlord who raises the rent is a bum. May he sicken the more for each additional dollar. May he burn like Sodom!
Hit him with a wet broom, if you please. When he asks for the rent, answer: "Break a foot!" A landlord who raises the rent is a bum, a bum, a bum.

I know a land, may it die an unnatural death, where blood flows in streams from the pogroms. It's Jewish blood, woe is me.
The czar, Mr. Ivan, when he gets pneumonia he doesn't care at all. Oh, may he get appendicitis and typhus. So now everybody together, answer this:

What's the Russian czar? A bum. Oh may that bum get a little bit of tuberculosis, or even further - may he be buried.
Say the "Prayer for the Sick" over him, please. Instead of shouting "Father" shout "break a foot!" What is the Russian czar? A bum, a bum, a bum.

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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