Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Vey vet dir shoyn zayn: Isidor Lillien's parody of "Way Down In My Heart I've Got a Feelin' For You," 1904

This is the first new song since our album Yiddish Ragtime came out. So, back to raw living room recordings.


 
Vey vet dir shoyn zayn by Isidor Lillien
To sing with the melody from "Way Down In My Heart."


The Yiddish title literally means "you're going to feel pain" but we don't really say that in English.

The American song is actually called "I've Got a Feelin' For You" but Lilien used the other half of the sentence as the title. It was written by Edward Madden and Theodore F. Morse and was published in 1904.

In the chorus the annoyed girlfriend says: "Marry me already. Come to court." Possibly she means "let's get married in the courtroom," but usually in this sort of song she is threatening a lawsuit over breach of promise, or demanding a divorce. You decide.

An interesting Yinglish word: sokn meaning "to suck/to mooch."

Also amusing, the word kest: in the old country a father-in-law paid his new son-in-law's expenses for a year or more so he could study Torah. The "sport" is obviously not doing anything of the kind.

I chose this song because I'm trying to learn how to play more piano and it was easy enough for me to engineer an adequate track - that is, I can play it all, but not both hands at the same time at any reasonable tempo. Just muddling along. Here's today's version:



Yiddish lyrics and transliteration after the jump.




Vey vet dir shoyn zayn

Mayn khosn iz a groyser tof vayl ales vos er zogt iz blof
Keyn emes vort hot er nokh nit gezogt
Gezogt az er vet zayn mayn man un oysgenart nor mayn nadan
Hot er bay mir. Gevald bin ikh geplogt!
Ikh ze er meynt nor shpas un ikh shray oys mit kas:

Vey vet dir shoyn zayn ven du vest nit haltn dayn vort
Genumen mayn nadan hostu du biliker sport
Kum, shnel ver mayn man, vos shteystu, kum shoyn in court
Vey vet dir shoyn zayn ven du haltst keyn vort

Mayn khosn hot lib fremde kest er libt a fremdn rok un vest
Nor arbetn, dos libt im keynmol nit
Er hot nit faynt a shnaps, a beer, un er vil nor aynredn mir
Az arbetn zol ikh vet shoyn zayn gut
Er nemt mikh af sure thing un ikh shray tsu der ying:

Mayn khosn hot far yeder moyd a tsvey kholeres mit a toyt
Nor gelt hot er far zikh aleyn oykh nit
Gevald! Sokt er bay mir un nemt! Er tut mikh oys biz in letste hemd
Az ikh vel mikh bald shemen geyn in strit.
Er frest un lebt a tog un ikh shray alts un zog:

You'll be sorry

My fiance is a big snob, everything he says is a bluff
He never says a single true word.
He said he'd be my husband and swindled me out of my dowry
Gevald! I'm tormented.
I see he's just fooling around, and I shout angrily:

You'll be sorry if you don't keep your word
You took my dowry, you cheapskate playboy.
Come on, hurry up, be my husband. Why are you standing there? Come to court already.
You'll be sorry if you don't keep your word.

My fiance loves to eat on someone else's dime,
he loves wearing someone else's suitcoat and vest.
But work? He doesn't like that at all.
He doesn't hate shnaps, a beer, and he just wants to convince me
That I should work, then everything will work out.
He takes me for granted, and I shout at the guy:

My fiance dislikes every girl,
But he doesn't have any of his own money.
Gevald! He mooches off me, he's taken everything I have down to the last shirt
Until I'm ashamed to go out in the street.
He eats like a pig and lives it up, and I shout at him:



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

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