The Lambeth Walk, Yiddish version, as heard in the Stonehill Collection
This photo by Bill Brandt shows a girl from the Cockney (and also Jewish) part of London, doing a dance created to the song "The Lambeth Walk" from the 1937 musical Me and My Girl (about a Cockney barrow boy who inherits an earldom but almost loses his Lambeth girlfriend). On Youtube you can find the original star, Lupino Lane, dancing and singing the song.
In 1942, Charles Ridley made Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style, which offered footage of Hitler and his soldiers marching to the song. From Public Domain Review:
A member of the Nazi Party achieved attention in 1939 by declaring The Lambeth Walk (which was becoming popular in Berlin) to be "Jewish mischief and animalistic hopping." ... The film so enraged Joseph Goebbels that reportedly he ran out of the screening room kicking chairs and screaming profanities.You can find the wonderful little Ridley film on youtube.
Now we come to the Yiddish version: Lambeth Walk at the Stonehill Jewish Song Collection, sung beautifully by George Kessler. Since Miriam Isaacs provides the lyrics, we can revive this charming (but too short) piece of the past. (George did not sing the verse, only the chorus.)
Here is the version I recorded today (click to hear it)
I have the sheet music and the original illustrated instructions for doing the dance - email me if you are interested.
Labels: fun, humor & satire, modernity, nostalgia
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