UPDATE: We recently got a rare opportunity to sing this song, at the Shadowbox Studio. Paul Deblinger filmed it and Mark Sidell ran sound off the board and so here is a new video.
Way back in 2010, Beth Holmgren and I were very taken by a video we heard on Youtube of Ola Lilith and Willy Godik singing together, An'Eicele, 1928 - "(Text Moses Brodersohn, Musik H. Kohn) - Ola Lilith u. Wł. Godik aus jüdischen Revue-Theater, mit Orchester Begleitung, Homocord Pl.29078, Wyrób Polski (Polish) c. 1928"
In standard transliteration that would be An eytsele (Some Advice).
I wasn't satisfied with my ability to transcribe the words and, besides, it was about women from various places and how lousy they would all be as wives, we didn't want to sing that. So I replaced the text with one from the Itzik Zhelonek's lost songs, one that at the time was still lost (ie had no melody) but which I have since found: Der vaser treger as sung by Moshe Kraus. Though I didn't know it then, Der vaser treger was also written by Moshe Broderzon and Henech Kon. I added a different punch line. (In the original song, the punch line is, "so we don't have any potatoes to go with our bread - God will provide.")
Here's us singing the concocted song for the first time:
Here are the words. If you ever sing it (or any of the others) please let me know and I'll link to your performance!
An eytsele tsum vaser-treger
‘s iz geven a balebos in yene gute tsaytn
Haynt iz er a vaser-treger, vaser trogt er laytn, er iz an oreman, er darf an eytsele yo? Yo!
In droysn blozt a groyser vint, s’dreyt zikh vi in gehenem
Ayngehoykert mit di emers shtendik ken ir zen im
Az okh un vey tsu im, er darf an eytsele, yo? Yo!
A gantsn tog shlept er arum zikh mit di emer vaser
Fardint a gildn a gantsn tog un geyt aheym a naser
Az okh un vey tsu im, er darf an eytsele, er darf an eytsele, yo? Yo!
Er hot a tokhter shtark un sheyn, a meydl a bakheynte,
Dos kleydl iz ir opgetrogn, zitst zi a farveynte
Az okh un vey tsu ir, zi darf an eytsele, yo? Yo!
Vert der tate shtark in kas afn sheynem meydl
“‘S iz haynt tsu tog a shlekhte tsayt, hostu in zinen s’kleydl?”
"Farges dos kleydele! Dos iz mayn eytsele." Dos iz zayn eytsele, yo? Yo!
In der heym zayn vaybl klogt, s’vert ir a nimes (boring, disgusting) lebn
Der krupnik iz a shiterer, vos vet zi im esn gebn?
A knaper krupnik, oy, zi darf an eytsele, yo? Yo!
Do lozt der mentsh arop dem kop mit trern in di oygn
Un fun zayn shmutsik tikhele a prute aroysgetsoygn
Er iz an oreman, ... er darf an eytsele, yo? Yo!
'khvel an eytse gebn im, an eytse vel ikh gebn
"Zay-zhe nisht keyn oreman, vest hobn a gut lebn"
"Zay nisht keyn oreman!" Dos iz mayn eytsele, dos iz mayn eytsele, yo? Yo!
There was a middle-class man in the good old days Now he’s a water carrier, a poor guy, he needs some advice.
A wind is howling outside, it’s hellish -you’ll always find him out there, bent over his pails. Yikes, poor guy, he needs some advice!
All day he drags himself around with his pails. He earns a pittance -- and goes home wet. Too bad for him, he needs some advice!
The guy has a strong, beautiful, charming daughter. Her dress is in rags! She’s sitting and crying. Oh no! Poor girl, she needs some advice...
He gets really made at his pretty daughter. “Things are so bad these days and you’re thinking about dresses? Forget about clothes, that’s my advice!” (That’s his advice.)
At home his wife is complaining, her life is awful. The barley soup is so watery, what will she give him to eat? Crummy barley soup, blegh! She needs some advice!
The guy hangs his head and with tears in his eyes He takes a penny out of his dirty little purse. He’s poor, he needs some advice.
OK, I’ll give him some advice: “Don’t be poor - then you’ll have a good life.” “Yeah, that’s my advice.”