Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Af katoves - Yiddish vaudeville parody of 1904 "Teasing"

UPDATE: Reposted with a video using the track from our new cd Yiddish Ragtime.

Here's another song lyric from Lider magazin (at YIVO): Simon Smulewitz (aka Solomon Small) wrote this parody of the American song "Teasing" by Albert Von Tilzer, the original words by the African American vaudeville producer Cecil Mack.

Solomon's most famous song ever was A brivele der mamen. Von Tilzer's most famous song was Take Me Out To the Ballgame. I wonder if he made a fortune off it.

Pianist Glenn Mehrbach recorded this accompaniment track for me. Thanks, Glenn! I adapted the words a bit for a woman to sing. Then when Randy Kloko came to town I added him to the chorus and we put it on our cd Yiddish Ragtime.

Here's our recording:

Transliteration and translation after the jump.

Ikh fil zikh shtark gekrenkt
Af aza tsores hob ikh nit gedenkt
Az mayn khosn Tshali, velkhn ikh lib
Makht mir af mayn hertsn finster un trib
Bamerkt hob ikh fun vayt
Vi er vinkt fil mol tsi yinge layt
Ikh hob far im zikh eydl baklogt
Shmeykhlendik hot er gezogt:

Af katoves, kh'hob gelakht, nor shpas gemakht,
Af katoves, darfst mir nit farhasn
Kh'hob gevolt a bisl shpasn
Af katoves, zen gevolt tsi host mikh holt
Af katoves, trog keyn kas, es iz geven a shpas

Ikh kum tsu im in hoyz,
Un fun zayn tsimer iz a man aroys
Zeyere bekelekh hobn geflamt
Di hor tsepatlt, nit farkampt
Ikh hob derfun fardros
Shmeykhlt er vi nit im meynt men dos
Es regt mikh uf, ikh makh a gevald
Git er a lakh un entfert bald:

Ikh denk er iz tsu klig
Ikh vel antloyfn fun im un genig
Khotsh fun hertsn hob ikh im lib
Nor zayne katoves ken mir brengen tsum grib
Dokh ven ikh denk fun geyn
Un zayne af an emes nit tsu shteyn
Makht alts fargesn zayn shmeykhl mir gor
Ikh ver bazigt ven er zogt nor:

I feel so sick, from a misery I didn't expect
That my fiance, Charlie, who I love,
would make my heart dark and dreary
I noticed from afar how he winked a lot with the young folks
I politely complained to him. Smiling, he said:

Teasing. I laughed, I was just making a joke.
Teasing! You don't need to hate me, I just
wanted a little fun. Teasing, I wanted to see
if you love me. Teasing, don't be mad, it was just a joke

I come to his house, and there's a man coming out of his room.
Their cheeks are flaming, their hair is tousled, not combed.
his aggravates me! He smiles, as though it
has nothing to do with him. I get upset,
I make a scene, he laughs and answers:

I think he's too smart. I'm going to run away
from him, enough! Although I love him deeply,
his jokes will drive me to my grave.
Of course, when I think about leaving, really
breaking up with him, his smile makes me forget
everything. I'm conquered when he simply says:

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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