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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A sakh melokhes, veynik brokhes (A lot of jobs, not much luck with any of them) Aaron Lebedeff's complaint

UPDATE: Here's an Instagram video extract. I had to speed the song up a little to fit a verse into 60 seconds.

Click the album cover to hear and/or buy the song from our Lebedik Yankel cd, with Randy Kloko singing the guy who just can't get a break no matter how many jobs he tries. (The picture is one of the few I could find of a YOUNG man in a shtetl: I figured the narrator must be relatively young since he isn't "lacking for girls"...)

Young Jewish man in shtetl
This song is only hard to find because of the weird ways the title is spelled. For instance, it was copyrighted in 1928 by (lyrics) Morris Rund (melody) Herman Wohl, spelled: "Asach meluches in weinig bruches" ...

... and a youtube video: Aaron Lebedeff's "A sach Meluches wenig Bruches"

But it appears on another Aaron Lebedeff (Lebediev, Lebedev, Lebedef) recording (available at Amazon for a buck!) as A Sach Meluches Veinig Bruches.

Until YIVO created a "standard Yiddish transliteration" there was no system, everybody spelled Yiddish in English differently -  many people still resent the standard system of approximating Yiddish sounds and refuse to use it.

The reason this matters is that search engines can't find references to Yiddish words phonetically, you have to guess what spelling the content generator used.

The song was sung in the show 'Dem ṭaṭn's zundele.' Some cite Peretz Sandler as having written the words though Morris Rund cited himself as lyricist in the copyright. Morris Rund has a tremendous number of copyrights of Yiddish theater songs - did he write them or merely claim them falsely? How can we ever know?




Here's my translation:


I'm blessed with many occupations, everybody knows it,
The problem is I don't have much luck with any of them, it makes my gall burn.
I've been a student, and a sexton in a synagogue,
I've even read from the megillah in a rabbi's house,
I've sold tallisim and tfilin in town
I buried the dead and heated water in the public bath...

Jack of all trades, but few blessings,
Oh, my head! I'm miserable, poverty won't leave me alone.

I was born a servant, don't think things go well for me,
I don't have any luck. I was also a tfilin scribe and I dealt in hides,
I sold stocking caps to women, but I'm buried in the ground.
I also was a ritual slaughterer, I know the Torah well,
I've been a wedding entertainer
And a matchmaker because I wasn't lacking for girls...


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