Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Shik dayn vayb in kontri - Yiddish parody of "All Aboard For Dreamland On A Sunday Afternoon," 1904

Send your wife to the country by Louis Gilrod
Sing to the melody from

Note that this song is not titled as you would expect (and as the Yiddish reference has it).

On A Sunday Afternoon was published in 1904 by composer Harry Von Tilzer (we have had previous songs by him) with the original English words by Andrew B. Sterling.

As usual Louis Gilrod's Yiddish version is cynical and mocking of the habits of families who were getting ahead - being able to afford to send your wife to the country while you theoretically were sweating away in your non-air-conditioned office in the city was a sign of status.

Sending the wife to the country is a continuing trope in Yiddish songs. On my other blog,, we have a song from a generation later about a wife who comes home early from Zakopane (a Polish resort) to the extreme distress of her philandering husband. See also (on this blog) the very similar song Country Pleasure.

Here's my living room recording from yesterday:

Translation from the Yiddish and transliteration after the jump.

Shik dos vayb in kontri

Ven der zumer kumt on, iz a goldene tsayt
Dan freyen zikh zeyer shtark di farheyrate layt
A yeder farheyrater man ven er vil lebn gut
Plezhur genisn zayn vayb zol nit visn, veyst ir vos er tut?

Er shikt dos vayb in kontri
Er tut oys dos ringl un vert vider singl
Ven zayn vayb iz in kontri
Klert er nit keyn sakh.
Er zukht zikh oys a Line
Vos iz nit keyn grine do in der medine
Ven zayn vayb iz in kontri shloft er af a dakh

Ikh ken eynem vos er hot zayn vayb nit lib
Er ken bay nakht keyn mol shlofn ven zi iz do in shtib
Zi iz a kosake, zogt er, un zi kukt af im krum
Oykh az er iz gern fun ir potr tsu vern, zog ikh bald tsu im:

Shik dayn vayb in kontri
Du zay a kluger un ver nit keyn higer
Ven zi vet zayn in kontri, zay du oys di tsayt
Shik ahin ir mamen
Un try tsu farsamen dort beyde tsuzamen
Dan blaybn zey in kontri un du bist alrayt

Hert vos mir aleyn treft zikh, oy hert a shpas
A meydele milkh un honik treft mikh shpet in gas
Oyb ikh zukh tsayt fartrayb zogt zi, zol ikh geyn aheym mit ir
Kh'hob mayn eygn vayb, zog ikh, tsum tsayt fartrayb, zogt zi bald tsu mir

Shik dayn vayb in kontri
Du bist gor keyn layt nit
Oyb du makhst keyn bayt nit
Shik dayn vayb in kontri
Un zay a kluger yung
Zi hot gezukht bay mir mezumen.
Iz a polisman gekumen
Un zi tsugenumen!
Yetst voynt zi in a kontri
Vos heyst Sing Sing.

Send your wife into the country

When summer comes it's a golden time, married people rejoice then.
Every married man, if he wants to live well and enjoy pleasures his wife shouldn't know about, know what he does?

He sends his wife to the country. He takes off his ring and becomes single again. When his wife's in the country he doesn't do any thinking about anything.
He looks for a "Line" who's no greenhorn here. When his wife's in the country he sleeps on the roof.

I know someone who has no love for his wife. He can't sleep at night if she's in the room. She's a Cossack, he says, and she looks at him funny. Since he wants to be rid of her, I quickly say to him:

Send your wife to the country - be clever and don't become distraught.
When she's in the country, you can sneak around.
Send her mother off there too and try to poison the two of them together.
Then they'll stay in the country and you'll be all right.

Hear what happened to me, what a joke. A maiden - milk and honey! - found me in the street late at night.
She says she should come home with me if I'm looking for fun.
"I have my own wife to have fun with," I say. She tells me:

"Send your wife to the country. You're no member of fine society if you don't change it up. Send your wife to the country and be a smart young man."
She wanted money from me. A policeman came and took her! Now she lives in a country called Sing Sing [prison].

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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