Yiddish Curiosities: a library of wonderful but forgotten Yiddish songs from the late 1920s and after (includes Polish Jewish Cabaret). 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


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Keyn glikn hob ikh dir nisht tsugezogt (aka Dos vos du zest!) What you see is what you get! I never promised you happiness.

UPDATE: Reposted to add the new Instagram video.

This is one of my favorites among the Zhelonek songs: great melody and great lyrics. I fault its cynical fin de siecle tone for its being wiped off the face of the earth.

Roger Lynn Spears played the piano; if you listen closely you may hear my donkey Jethro braying in the background, it was his supper time when I recorded the vocals. Here's our version:

The video's an Instagram 60-second excerpt; find the whole song on Nervez! Yiddish Songs from Warsaw Volume III.

In 2012 I found grumpy, misogynistic Morris Rund credited as lyricist (his songs comprise a large portion of my other blog, YiddishPennySongs.com). In 2014 I found the melody at the Harvard Hollis library site as Dos vos du zesṭ ḳeyn gliḳ hob ikh dir niṭ tsugezogṭ with the alternate title Zay niṭ broygez Sheyndele, melody credited to Peretz Sandler. In 2021 I found that a 1925 Dora Weissman recording, under the name Dus wus di sehst, ken glicken hob ich der nit zigesught, credited the lyrics and tune to Louis Gilrod. I don't know what to think.

Often Zhelonek's songs are hiding in plain sight, under titles other than the ones Zhelonek used.  I was at the Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive and, free-associating, discovered it under this name: Dos vos du zest, keyn glikn.  Aaron Lebedeff also recorded it, spelling the title Dos Vos du Sehst, Kein Gliken hob ich dir nit Zogesoght. and also Dos Vos Du Sehst, Kein Gliken Hob Ich Dir Nit Zugesogt

Here's my English translation of the Yiddish:

What's going on with all the married people these days?
The wife wants to be honest, the man not so much,
And he complains, what kind of life is this?
"You were devoted to me," the husband complains every day.
And his red-headed freckled wife Bella brazenly says:

"What, 'she' doesn't please you?"

I'm as you see me. I didn't promise you happiness,
It wasn't me who pursued you.
A wife should dance and go to balls,
Not cook lunch and wash dishes.
I'm as you see me. There's no happiness."

Benny married her when he was practically a boy,
Because she was full of charm.
Soon after they left the khupe he got a look at his harridan
Old, ugly, toothless, a wig on her head (and in her nose
Snot that pours and runs all day).
"But I wanted," Benny shouts, "to find eternal love with you! ?"

"Ha ha ha," she says indifferently, "you wanted a pretty little wife?

I'm as you see me. I didn't promise you happiness,
It wasn't me who pursued you.
You wanted a wife as beautiful as the ages,
Now you have this old piece of work,
I'm as you see me. There's no happiness."

Late at night when I was walking last week a bandit stopped me
He wasn't happy with his take: 2 coins, a bagel complete with the hole
A pair of tin buttons, a couple old dumplings and a broken watch.
"Where's the cash?" he began grumbling,
And I answered:

"What, is this too little money for you?"

I didn't promise you happiness,
I didn't send for you, I didn't run after you.
You think this isn't enough cash?
Well, next time don't come.
I'm as you see me. There's no happiness."

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home