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Monday, May 4, 2020

In di sup (In the soup) - 1904 Yiddish Vaudeville parody of "The Man Behind"

In di zup
by Isidor Lillien
To sing with the melody from
"The Man Behind"

This is from Judah Katzenelenbogn's Lider Magazin of 1904. Note that sup is spelled with an s, as in English, instead of a zayin as in usual Yiddish.

The parody is by Isidor Lillien and the original song was "The Man Behind" by J. B. Mullen, the unusually cynical English lyric by Vincent Bryan begins:

Oh when I was but a little boy,
 my father said to me,
Don't ever be too forward, lad, 
but act with modesty.
In battle it's the man in front 
that's always shot you'll find,
But the general gets the credit 
for he is the man behind.

The man behind, the man behind,
He's the wisest man that you will ever find.
When the man in front is shot, 
he is Johnnie on the spot.
So always try to be the man behind.

The parody is a tangle of Yinglish and it careens from the presidential election to the war between Russia and Japan to a restaurant with questionable hygiene. It's too bad there is no recording of it, because I'd like to hear how they got kvitsh and cockroach to rhyme.

The recording is even more austere and primitive than usual because during "sheltering in place" my house is full of people and I'm babysitting most of the time! Just imagine there is a vaudeville orchestra playing along.

Translation and transliteration of the Yiddish after the jump.

In di sup

Far prezident elekshon tsayt, dan loyfn menshn tsvey.
A rash iz dan in gantsn land, a murml, a geshrey.
Eyner iz republikaner un der tsveyter demokrat.
Eyner vert fun zey elekted un der tsveyter kandidat...

Iz in di sup, iz in di sup.
Ir kent gornit farshteyn vos es tut zikh op.
Der vos hot gegebn mer
Der blaybt zitsn af dem tsher
Un der tsveyter kandidat iz in di sup.

A yedn iz bavust az yetst geyt on a groyse krig,
Der shlekhter fonye rusland mit yapon di shvakhe flig.
Gemeynt hot yeder az di krig farlirn vet yapon,
Nor tsum sof gevint yapon gor un der rusisher tiran!

Iz in di sup, iz in di sup,
Zayne shipn zinken tif in yam arop.
Yapon makht fun im a bom,
No mor kishenover pogrom,
Un der rusisher tiran iz in di sup.

Fraytik nokh dem kidesh ven ikh hob gegesn fish,
Derzen hob ikh a kakerutsh shpatsirn afn tish.
Far shrek iz er antlofn ven ikh hob geton a kvitsh.
Ven men hot derlangt di zup derze ikh az der kakerutsh...

Iz in di sup, iz in di sup,
Kh'hob gemeynt ikh gey fun zinen shir arop!
S'iz mir nit gevezn voyl: ikh nem dem lefl tsu dem moyl,
Iz der kakerutsh gevezn in di sup.


Before election time, two people are running
There's an uproar in the whole land, mumbling, an outcry.
One's a Republican, the other a Democrat.
One is elected and the second candidate...

Is in the soup, is in the soup,
You can't at all understand what's going on
The one who gave more is sitting in the chair
And the other candidate is in the soup.

Everyone knows there's a big war going on now
Terrible "Ivan" is fighting Japan, that weak fly.
Everybody thought Japan would lose the war
But in the end Japan won totally and the Russian tyrant...

Is in the soup, is in the soup,
His ships are sinking deep into the ocean.
Japan turned him into a bum, no more Kishenov pogrom,
And the Russian tyrant is in the soup.

Friday after the kiddush, when I ate fish,
I caught sight of a cockroach walking on the table.
He ran in terror when I screamed.
When they serve the soup I see the cockroach...

Is in the soup, it's in the soup,
I thought I'd go right out of my mind!
It wasn't good for me at all: I raise the spoon to my mouth,
The cockroach is in the soup.

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