Click the picture to listen to and/or buy the song from our In Odess cd...
Randy Kloko sang this song with me when he drove up from Orlando, and it's the title cut of our cd, which is available from Skylark Productions.
In standard YIVO transcription the name of this city on the Black Sea is spelled Odes. However the probability that people would pronounce odes to rhyme with toads is virtually 100%, hence the non-standard spelling.
Lebedeff's recording is on youtube. The words he sings there are not exactly the same as the words he wrote on his copyright application and are also not the same as the words printed in the Itzik Zhelonek book. I'm sure he was improvising all the time. In 1926 Charles Cohan recorded the song crediting it to Louis Gilrod.
Lebedeff recorded "In Odes" on the album "Aaron Lebedeff sings fifteen favorites of the Yiddish theater" (along with the ever popular What can you mach s'is America aka "Vos ken you makht s'iz Amerike" or any version there of - and I also can provide you with sheet music for that song, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Odessa at that time was renowned for being a, um, morally slack location, making it excellent for vacations. In fact one of the still-missing songs from the Zhelonek collection is called Men lebt vi Got in Odes - one lives like God in Odessa - Odessa is where God went on vacation because nobody bothered him there. Think about it. So the guy in the song is coaxing his girl to go with him to Odessa where they can have a great time on the promenade, and swimming in the Black Sea (that's what I painted into the album cover), and dancing like gypsies, and generally "living in PROGRESS" !!
You can find the Lebedeff recording on youtube. Absolutely wonderful!