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Monday, April 25, 2016

Oy, Avreml! A comedy song by Adolf King which was a hit for Nellie Casman.

UPDATE: Reposted to add this video. I made the recording song more than three years ago and haven't sung the song since.


Nellie Casman, whose published music I transcribed, was born in 1896. She was either born in Philadelphia or moved there at an early age and started acting in her early teens. She and her husband Samuel Steinberg wrote songs together, and Avreml (or Oy, Avreml) was one of them.




Nellie Casman, composer and performer of I haven't found a sung version of this song, but the sheet music was at Florida Atlantic University.

Note that the title is spelled two ways even on the cover of this sheet music: Avremel in English, Avremil in Yiddish, and nowadays we would spell it Avreml. Note that it is a "Comedy Song" - no relation to the endlessly recorded Avreml der marvikher.

The version printed in the Itzik Zhelonek collection was performed by Pinkhus Sapir, who rewrote the first verse from a man's point of view. Here are the words of this Yiddish song translated into English:

My husband, I write you a letter, you gotta send me money
Avreml, hear what I'm writing, my world is dark.
You left me a shop before you went away
In the shop, Avrem, now it's a wasteland, it's terrible.
Oy Avreml, my shop is empty and dark.
No money, no wares, and I'm afraid you've already forgotten me.

Until now I dealt in bread and salt
And for the holidays I sold goose-fat
It's all gone like the wind.
And finally I'm left with my empty shop.
Goodbye customers.
I haven't got underwear, I've pawned everything already.

Avreml, you've left me, you said it wouldn't be long.
I suffer endless troubles, I'm tired and sick.
SONYA got lucky! Her husband sent her money.
Sonya's shop is open, and I have to close mine.

I wonder whether this Pinchus Sapir (Pinkhes?) is the same person as Pinchas Sapir who left Poland and because a famous Israeli politician.


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