Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Monday, January 4, 2021

Hakt hakt hakt - A still missing melody (Next next next) and its anonymous Yiddish parody

Hakt, hakt, hakt
Tsu zingen mit englisher melodiye -- Next--Next--Next

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I've looked year in and year out for an American or English tune from the turn of the century (probably not earlier than 1890 or later than 1911), probably a vaudeville or music hall song, called Next--Next--Next. I think it's also possible the song has a different title, but certainly the chorus begins "Next! Next! Next!" I've queried around with no success. Maybe some day.

The Yiddish is more suggestive and double-entendre stuffed than usual, also full of folksy expressions I don't know. Hakn has a lot of meanings which can be dirty: Chop, cut, mince, break, bang, knock, hit, even "down a drink."

I asked the Yiddish research group on Facebook for help with the first chorus, containing a word I'd never seen, tshok. Two suggestions were put forward, both Yinglish: the first was "chuck," a cut of meat. The other was "chalk," referring to an account of someone's debt to the butcher chalked onto the wall. I'm not very good at ferreting out double entendre. I'm sure you could do a better job of translating this than I did.

Translation and transliteration of the Yiddish after the jump. If you come across the original English language song please let me know! 

Mayn landsman iz a butsher gor, er hot a stor shoyn draytsn yor!
Ir darft zen: in stor bay im, geyen biznes vi af stim.
Es shrayen ale sheyne meydn: az zayn polke fleysh iz tam gan eydn!
Derfar ven ir geyt durkh zayn stor, kent ir zen vi er shteyt gor

Un hakt, hakt, hakt, un hakt, hakt, hakt
Er hakt a vaybl af tshok arayn, a por oksene eyer far ir man
Un hakt hakt hakt, der redzshister er knakt
A yeder froy git er a show un hakt hakt hakt

Afn nekstn flor -- punkt iber mir, voynt a man eyn indzshinir
Un yede nakht, arum zeyger tsen, lozt zayn vayb dem indzshen geyn:
Ikh zog aykh es iz nit oystsuhaltn, der moyekh tut zikh mir eynfakh shpaltn,
Bay zey der indzshen a gantse nakht, kent ir hern vi er krakht ...

Er hakt, hakt, hakt, er hakt, hakt, hakt!
Der indzshenier mit zayn vayb, hobn a gantse nakht a dzshab,
Men hakt, hakt, hakt, der indzshin klopt tsum takt!
Ikh shray "Indzshenir!" -- er fayft af mir, un hakt, hakt, hakt!

In Chrystie Street, in Forsyth Street, in Allen, Eldridge un dermit,
Kent ir dort a yeder nakht hern vi a bombe krakht.
Koym voynt ir dort, af yenem ort, folgt mayn eytse muft zofort,
Vayl shpet baynakht ven ir shloft, vet ir derhern fun der luft

Es hakt, hakt, hakt -- es hakt, hakt, hakt
Ale fenster fun dem hoyz: varft yedn fun dem bed aroys,
Men hakt, hakt, hakt: ales vert tseknakt,
Zey bombardirn, eksplozirn, men hakt, hakt, hakt!

Mayn feter Moyshe, Ben Chaim Vol, iz in Sheriff Street der bester moyel,
Er iz a yidl fun der soyth, zayn biznes hakt zikh vi in kroyt,
Af yedn bris un mazl tov, nemt mayn feter nit keyn blof,
Un vi er kumt af a bris tsu geyn, kent ir ale mit vunder zen:

Vi er hakt, hakt, hakt - er hakt, hakt, hakt
Der kindbetorin on a kop, mit a mazl tov - af hori-up,
Er hakt, hakt, hakt der khalef bay im knakt,
Gor on shum trik, makht er khik khik, un hakt, hakt, hakt!


My hometown buddy is a butcher, he's had a store for 13 years.
You should see it: in his store business is going like steam.
All the pretty girls shout that his drumsticks taste heavenly!
So when you go through his store, you can see him stand and

Chop, chop, chop and chop, chop, chop
He goes after a woman the way he attacks hard meat, a couple ox eggs for her husband
And chops chops chops, the register boozes/chops
He gives a show to every woman and chops chops chops

Right upstairs from me lives an engineer
And every night around ten his wife turns on the engine
I tell you it's intolerable, my head is simply splitting,
At their place the engine runs all lnight, you can hear him make a racket

He knocks, knocks, knocks, he knocks, knocks, knocks!
The engineer and his wife do a job all night,
It's knock, knock, knock, the engineer is knocking on the beat
I shout "Engineer!" - he doesn't give a damn, just knocks, knocks, knocks

In Chrystie Street, in Forsyth Street, in Allen, Eldridge and the like,
There, every night you can hear a bomb crashing,
If you live there, follow my advice and move, right away,
Because late at night when you're sleeping you'll hear in the air,

Bang, bang, bang, it bangs, bangs, bangs
All the windows of the house it throws everybody out of bed
Bang, bang, bang: everything is crushed,
Bombardments, explosions, they bang, bang, bang!

My uncle Moyshe, son of Chaim Vol, is the best moyel on Sheriff Street,
He's a Jew from the South, his business is chopping along as if through cabbage
At every circumcision and celebration my uncle is right in the thick of it
And when he comes to a bris you can all see, with wonder,

How he chops, chops, chops - he chops, chops, chops
Congratulations to the distraught new mother, hurry up,
He chops, chops, chops, his slaughterer's knife crackles,
Without any tricks he makes a snicker-snack and chops, chops, chops


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