Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Go way back and sit down (Yiddish version) - vaudeville song from 1901

"Go vey bek end sit doun - Parody of the English song Go Away Back and Sit Down"
by Louis Gilrod

Go Way Back and Sit Down is a ragtime song from 1901, written by Al Johns, English language lyrics by Elmer Bowman. The Yiddish version, under the same name but spelled "Go vey bek end sit doun," was written by Louis Gilrod.

A historian I consulted has warned me not to talk about the genre to which this song belongs. "You're standing at the edge of a vortex," she said. I'll just opine that African-American music of the time was a lot more interesting than the insipid post-Victorian schlock being churned out by many popular composers, and they knew it, and so rag-time was co-opted and dragged into white society.

My friend, pianist Aviva Enoch, was kind enough to play the sheet music accompaniment, thanks Aviva!

Here's our recording (I recorded the second and third verses):

Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.

Go Away Back and Sit Down

Mayn fraynd zayn shats zi halt a plats fun kendi soda un vayn
Zi iz a meyd gants sheyn ken a vits farshteyn zi tsaygt keyn nar tsu zayn
Mayn fraynd on shir iz farlibt in ir farlibt nokh vi azoy
Er volt zayn lebn avek tsu gebn zi zol nor vern zayn froy

Zogt mayn fraynd tsu mir kh'hob a sod far dir ikh veys du bist mir tray
Vi mir shaynt hot zi mir faynt helf mir ikh bin farbay
Ikh bin gor on shrek, mit mayn fraynd avek tsu mayn Shetskhn in gesheft
Un nor on gevald hot zi im bald geentfert (anu treft):

Go vey bek end sit down
Tsu heyratn mit dir iz far mir nit keyn plan
Host gevolt mikh narn un geblofn a velt
Host gezogt bist raykh, host a groysn oytzer gelt
Go vey bek end sit down

Di almone Rayz hot an advertayz in a tsaytung arayngeshtelt
Zi zukht a man, nit keyn sharlatan, er meg nit hobn keyn gelt.
Zi iz raykh aleyn, dertsu nokh sheyn, a yung almonekhn
A glik dertapt, der vos khapt oys di matonekhn

Zogt mayn fraynd tsu mir, ikh hob a sod far dir, Ikh veys, du volst gekent
Mir helfn tsu bakumen di almone mit mezumen tsu mir in mayne hent.
Ikh bin mayn fraynd getray, mir zaynen avek gants fray, tsu der almone sheyn un raykh
Nor vi mir shaynt hot zi derkent mayn fraynt un im geentfert glaykh:

Go vey bek end sit down
Tsu hayratn mit dir iz far mir nit keyn plan
Men hot mir shoyn dertseylt vi ir bloft a velt
Ikh veys, ir meynt nit mikh, ir meynt nor mayn gelt
Go vey bek end sit down

S'iz monatn fir zayt a frayndin fun mir hot geheyrat mayn fraynd Sem
Un s'iz nor a shand vi er heybt zayn hand, derlangt zi shlogn a nem.
Nekhtn bay nakht hob ikh dervakht fun a plutslikhn geshrey
Ikh kuk aroys in gas, dort shteyt pitsh nas, mayn fraynd mit polislayt tsvey
Ikh hob bald derzen vos iz geven, far gemblin' un shiker zayn
Hot men im arestirt un yetst gefirt in station hoyz arayn
Zogt mayn fraynd tsu mir, klap in mayn vayb's tir
Zol zi betn far ir man
Zi hot dervakht, dos fenster oyfgemakht, un lakhend gezogt im dan:

Go vey bek end sit down
Host es kosher fardint, mayn liber man
Host nit farshtanen vi a man tsu zayn
Makh-zhe a shpatsir yetst in jail arayn
Go vey bek end sit down

Go Way Back and Sit Down

The widow Rayz put an advertisement in the newspaper: she seeks a man, no charlatan, he doesn't have to have money.
She's already rich, and in addition she's beautiful, a young widow. What good fortune for the guy who grabs this gift!
My friend says to me: "I have a secret for you. I know you'll be able to help me get that rich widow in my hands."
I'm his faithful friend! We went off very early to the beautiful rich widow. But it seems she recognized my friend, she answered him right off:

Go way back and sit down. Marrying you is not my plan. I've been told you bluff the world. I know you want my money, not me. Go way back and sit down.

It's been four months since a friend of mine married my friend Sam. It's such a shame how he lifts his hand and beats her.
Last night I was woken up by a sudden outcry. I looked outside, there was my friend, soaking wet, with two policemen.
I soon saw they'd arrested him for gambling and intoxication and now were taking him to the station house.
My friend says to me: "Bang on my wife's door, she'll come plead for her husband." She woke up, raised the window, and said to him, laughing:

Go way back and sit down. You earned this honestly, my dear husband.
You didn't understand how to be a husband, now just walk right into the jail. Go way back and sit down.

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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