Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Dos iberike farshteyt aleyn (You understand the rest) - 1897 Isaac Reingold Yiddish parody of "Oh, Ebenezer!"

The rest, you yourself understand
by Isaac Reingold
To sing with the melody from the English song Oh! Ebenezer!

I posted another song with this same theme -  Shtoys Zikh On ("Figure It Out"), I guess Vaudeville audiences have enjoyed feeling superior guessing the barely-hidden double or single entendres behind these verses.

The original song was by Dave Reed Jr.

This was one of the rare cases where the lyrics in Lider magazin were not nigh unreadable, so I used them in the video; I want folks to see what the songs look like in the original.

Here's my recording from this morning:

Transliteration from the Yiddish and translation after the jump.
Dos iberike farshteyt aleyn

A man vos iz gezesn in ostrog a tsayt
Vayl er hot geganvet un geroybt bay layt
Hot endlekh zikh durkh plite fun dort zelbst bafrayt
Zo hot men mir dertseylt do "here".
Itst halt er a saloon, vos iz bakant gevis
Dort makht er zolkhe biznes, vos ikh shvaygn muz,
Nor veys di politsey nit, ver un vos er iz?
Vi ken dos zayn? Kler ikh bay mir.

Ikh freg bay mentshn vos dos batayt
Vos darft ir fregn? S'iz all-rayt!
Zey visn ales, un lozn geyn
Nor, vayl ... dos iberike farshteyt aleyn

Ikh ken eynem velkher iz nokh, vi ikh denk,
Keyn spekulant, keyn fabrikant un hot keyn benk
Er iz nokh oykh keyn doktor, vos farshteyt a krenk...
Dokh lebt er raykh, un kleyd zikh sheyn.
Un er iz oykh keyn kest-kind, un er est keyn kest,
Un dokh tut er gor nit, nor er trinkt un frest,
Zayn froy nemt nor shtendik uf, file raykhe gest
Un dos iz alts, vos mentshn zen.

Ikh freg bay mentshn vos dos batayt
Vos darft ir fregn? S'iz all-rayt!
Zayn froy iz liblikh, un zeyer sheyn
Nu, un, dos iberike farshteyt aleyn

Ikh ken a balmelokhe vos fardint gants sheyn
Zayn vaybele hot er lib, yo, vayl zi hot fil kheyn
Nor zi, dagegn, ken im davke nit onzen
Ir kimert nit, khotsh gey dir haynt!
Zayn gelt farspendt zi, un ir iz keyn zakh nit lib,
Dos ergste, iz vos zi halt a border oykh in shtib
Dos makht im eyferzikhtik, imer beyz un trib,
Un ver veyst varum, zi hot im faynt!

Ikh freg bay mentshn vos dos batayt
Vos darft ir fregn? S'iz all-rayt!
Vayl ayer border, iz yung un sheyn
Nu, un dos iberike farshteyt aleyn


A man who was in jail for a while because he robbed people
Finally escaped on his own, that's what they tell me here.
Now he has a saloon, certainly a well known one,
And he does such business there, I can't talk about it,
But do the police not know who and what he is?
How can this be? I ask myself.

I ask people what this means.
"Why do you have to ask? It's all right!
They know everything and leave him alone
Just because... you understand the rest."

I know some one who is not yet a speculator, not a factory owner,
He doesn't have a bank, he's also not a doctor who understands illness.
But of course he lives richly and wears nice clothes.
He's also not living off his father-in-law, he isn't eating on charity,
And of course he doesn't work at anything--but he drinks and gobbles.
His wife accepts only respectable, very wealthy guests
And that's all people know

I ask people what this means.
"Why do you have to ask? It's all right!
His wife is loveable and very beautiful
Well, and you understand the rest."

I know a craftsman who earns very well.
He loves his wife because she's very charming.
But she, on the other hand, can't stand the sight of him
She doesn't care: "Just get lost!"
She spends his money, she doesn't love anything,
Worst of all, she has a boarder in the house too.
This makes the husband jealous, angry and dreary,
And who knows why she hates him?

I ask people what this means.
"Why do you have to ask? It's all right!
Because your boarder is young and handsome,
well, you understand the rest."

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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