Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Monday, March 23, 2020

Vinter tsayt (Winter Time) - Louis Gilrod 1910 parody of the American song "Winter"

Here's a distractingly inane song about winter for the very troubled early spring we're having:

I don't have much to say about this song. The original was truly dumb and Louis Gilrod sank to the same level. I like to think he was mocking the fatuous American lyrics with his first verse. The second verse features two beloved tropes: (1) a husband who gambles until late at night and (2) his wife who takes advantage of his absence to gambol with the boarder (his name, Nisl, means nut, I wonder if that rang the same bell then that it does now)

Here's my living-room recording:

Yiddish transliteration and translation after the jump:

Vinter tsayt, oh libe layt, iz beser nokh vi zumertsayt!
Ikh zog es aykh gants prost.
Meydlekh, boyes kent ir zen kimat af ale koners shteyn
Ven in droysn brent der frost
Fun kaltn vint der bloz makht aykh royt di noz.

Vinter, vinter, vinter iz a fargenign
Der shney falt af der gas un alesding vert nas.
Oybn dreyt es, untn shneyt es, pedler brotn svit pateytes.
Vinter, vinter, dan filt zikh yeder fil gezinter.
Mit snowballs hot men fon, m' loyft, m' ketsht zikh,
S'iz a pleasure ven m' kvetsht zikh nor in vinter.

Ven s'kumt der man gants shpet aheym fun ergets dort a poker geym
Vinter nakht iz dos;
In kaltn hal dort shteyt der man, dos vaybl lozt im nit arayn,
Er plotst azh far fardros.
Der border, inside, kvelt! Der man shteyt af der kelt!

Vinter, vinter, vinter iz a fargenign
Tsu shteyn a gantse nakht, hungerik, farshmakht,
Zen a bisl durkhn shlisl
Vi di misses kusht der border Nisl...

Vinter, bay der tir hert er zikh unter
Vi zayn vayb tsum border zogt: "Mayn liber Nisl!"
Dervarem mikh a bisl, vayl s'iz vinter."

Winter time, dear people, is even better than summer time,
I tell you simply.
You can see girls and boys standing on almost every corner when the frost is freezy outside.
The cold wind blowing makes your nose red.

Winter is a pleasure. Snow falls on the street and everything gets wet. Wind swirls above, below, snow falls. Peddlers roast sweet potatoes.
Winter! Everyone feels much healthier then. You have fun throwing and catching snowballs. It's a pleasure when you squeeze each other in winter.

When the husband comes home very late from a poker game somewhere, that's a winter night.
The husband stands in the cold hallway, his wife won't let him in, he's bursting with aggravation.

Winter is a pleasure. To stand all night hungry and weak,
To see through the keyhole a bit while the landlady kisses the boarder, Nisl...

Winter! He's eavesdropping by the door as his wife says to the boarder:
"My dear Nisl! Warm me up a bit because it's winter."

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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