Polish Jewish Cabaret: a library of wonderful but forgotten Yiddish songs of the 1920s - 1930s. Have a listen!

1. Link to list of posts on this site
2. Link to songs for sale
3. Click here for our music videos of Yiddish songs with English subtitles (mainly post-1925)
4. List of the still lost songs. Do you know any of them?
5. Warszawa zumerkurs song links


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Alts far gelt (Henri Gerro's version) - Everything for money

This is a good song for the corrupt, venal administration we are suffering under. The song was originally written and copyrighted by Aaron Lebedeff but in this version, from a later generation, Henri Gerro (who was four years old when Lebedeff wrote the song) created his own introduction and all his own verses, retaining only the original chorus. I love it.

Sheva Zucker and I worked out the words and we missed a couple so corrections are welcome. Here's the song:

I have also gotten hold of the original lyrics as Aaron Lebedeff sang and that version will be coming along later.

Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Mir zol zayn far dir (If I could only take it upon myself) - Yiddish theater song from "Circus Girl"

I have the words for this one from a folio of Joseph Rumshinsky hits, and I have the record from eBay, so here it is. You'll find this song not only under the standard YIVO transliteration above, but under all these permutations: Mir Zol Zein Far Dir, Mir Sol Sein Far Dir, Mir Sol Zein Far Dir, Mir Zol Sein Far Dir. On the label the song is subtitled "Devotion." Rumshinsky takes credit for the music and Picon is credited for the lyrics. There is a much later recording by June Astor.

Zylberzweig says that in 1928 Jacob Kalich and Joseph Rumshinsky staged Dos tsirkus meydl (The Circus Girl), with Molly Picon as star of course, also starring Sam Kestin, Betty Simonoff, Gertrude Bulman and Irving Grossman -- in the show Molly sang this song, but the recording I have is of Irving. You can read about Irving Grossman (1900-1964) here.

Here it is, with subtitles and sing-along Yiddish captions in transliteration:

Words and translation after the jump.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Af a shteyndl (Yiddish version of the Russian folksong Я на камушке сижу aka Ya na kamushke sizhu)

I heard this song in Yiddish on Charles Goldszlagier's online radio station Yiddish pour tous and immediately recognized it as a close translation of the famous Я на камушке сижу - here's a recording of the Russian folksong sung by Сергей Лемешев (Sergei Lemeshov):

The song I heard on the Yiddish radio station was sung by the magnificent Netania Davrath and it's available on her cd Netania Davrath Sings Russian, Yiddish & Israeli Folk Songs.

Davrath was born in Russia in 1931 and moved to Israel with her family in 1948. Her voice has been described as "tender, strong, nasal, arch, shy, abandoned, free from vibrato, pure and clean and distinctly un-operatic." She died in 1987.

So here's her recording of this Russian folksong translated into Yiddish as Af a shteyndl (or Af a shteindel as it is on the cd)

Words and translation of the Russian and the Yiddish into English after the jump

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Dos reydele dreyt zikh (The wheel turns) sung by Pinnie Goldstein

I've been listening lately to Yiddish Pour Tous, an online 24-hour-a-day online radio station out of Paris created by Charles Goldszlagier...

... and one of the songs he plays is this lovely waltz, called variously Dus Redele dreyt zikh, Dos redele dreht sich, S'reydele dreyt sikh, etc. It was written by Isidore Lillian in 1924. You can hear it, sung by Pinie Goldstein, on youtube: Es dreit sich.

I don't know anything about Pinie except that he was born in 1905, died in 1980, and lived in Argentina. I'd welcome more information. His long time partner was Ana Rappel. (Anna Rappel). Their music was reissued on Tikva on an album with the unforgivably incorrect title Lebenik un Yiddish.

This is a cool song, it should be revived. If you want to sing it, contact me for sheet music. The image of the wheel of fortune recurs in many Yiddish folk and theater songs. They also say money (and good fortune) is "kaykldik" - it rolls towards you one day and away from you the next.

I see that Betty Kenig (one of my favorite singers of the interwar period) recorded this song way back when and perhaps wrote it. The Medem Bibliotheque in Paris has a copy. Her verses are different and the tune is a bit different but not very. Dus redele dreyt zikh. The flip side of the 78 is Es tiochket which was one of Itzik Zhelonek songs (link is to discussion and recording).

Here are the words to "Es dreyt zikh":

Dos reydele dreyt zikh, dos reydele dreyt zikh, es dreyt zikh aroyf un arop.
Dos reydele dreyt zikh, dos reydele dreyt zikh, es dreyt zikh un shtelt zikh nisht op.
Nekhtn bistu gor geven a gevir
Un haynt iz dos gantse farmeygn bay mir.
Vayl dos reydele dreyt zikh, dos reydele dreyt zikh
Es dreyt zikh un shtelt zikh nisht op.

Ikh ken a gevir er iz raykh on a shir un er hot aza kupe gelt.
Er leybt nisht, er shtarbt nisht, er geyt nisht, er shteyt nisht,
er meynt az er hot shoyn di velt.
Nor s’vet kumen der tog vet tsu im zayn a klog
un di rod vet zikh onheybn tsu dreyen
vos toygt aza lebn nor nemen nisht gebn
derfar zing ikh im dem refreyn.

Men loyft un men yogt zikh men shtupt un men shlogt zikh
es iz a meshugene velt.
Nemt mayn shkheyne tsipe, a vaybl a klipe,
nor zi hot, vey iz mir, a sakh gelt.
Zi hot ambitsies, zi makht propozitsies
tsu blaybn mit mir gor aleyn
zi heybt on dertseyln kayn gelt vet nisht feln
un ikh zing ir ot dem refreyn.

My translation after the jump.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Zing, Brider, Zing! Sheet music and performances of a Ben Zion Witler song

UPDATE: Reposting because somebody just emailed me and asked for a sing-along version of this song.

The video has our track from the cd I Can't Complain But Sometimes I Still Do with the Yiddish words in transliteration and the translation.

I don't know if Benzion Witler (pictured) wrote this song or if he just made the most famous old recording of it, it's on youtube here.

I heard this sung by Betty Reichart at the Intensive Yiddish Summer Course at the Medem Bibliotheque in Paris. I later got the words from Hilda Bronstein, who recorded it on her Yiddish Songs Old and New cd.

In klal Yiddish this would be "Zing, bruder, zing" or "Zingt, brider, zingt" (plural) but Wittler sings with the theater dialect that pronounces bruder as brider.

You can get the sheet music from me:

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