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

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Friday, September 14, 2018

S'iz gut far mir (It's good for me) aka Sgit far mir - an old song recently revived.

The Forvert recently featured this song called "S'iz gut far mir" aka S'iz git far mir - "It's good for me," as sung by Levy Falkowitz. Here's his version is on Youtube:

לוי פולקוביץ ותזמורתו של יוחי בריסקמן "ס'גוט פאר מיר" | Levy Falkowitz - Yochi Briskman Orchestra

Falkowitz credits the song to Boruch Hass, who performed it at "Sliches night in Kiev" in 1992. Hass wrote the second verse (and removed a reference to a pretty girl in the third verse) but otherwise...

... the song actually goes back many decades. Max Perlman sang it throughout his career, crediting it to Aaron Lebedeff.

Here is a relatively modern Perlman version, from "Max Perlman Greatest Hits Vol 1."

Perlman's first and second verses are also sung by Falkowitz, but his third verse is about politics (see below).

And here is a great version sung by Henri Gerro:

In the Henri Gerro version the second verse is about a pretty girl and the third verse is about a car, but I don't have the lyrics for you.

Lyrics in transliteration and translation after the jump. If you want the sheet music write to me.

S'iz gut far mir

A kaptsn tsu zayn, a paskidne,
Dos lebn iz biter vi gal
Afn hartzn iz khoyshekh un bidne (gloomy and miserable)
Vayl der dales ot fayft iberal
Dos beste tsu zayn iz an oysher
Es lebt zikh on zorg un on payn
Me darf nisht far keynem keyn yoysher (fairness)
S'iz a mekhaye a nogid tsu zayn
Di beste zakh, ikh denk,
Iz: gezunt un gelt in di benk

S'iz gut far mir, s'iz gut far dir
S'iz gut far yedem eynem
S'iz gut far im, s'iz gut far dem,
Shatn ken nisht keynem
S'iz gut far kleyn, s'iz gut far groys,
S'iz gut far alte layt
S'iz gut bay tog, s'iz gut bay nakht
S'iz gut tsu yeder tsayt

Gehakte leber mit kreplekh
Virshtlekh bagosn mit shmalts
Gebrotene floymen mit epelekh
Bashpritst mit fefer un zalts
Un a geshtofer gants a feter,
A kishkele mit Petse
Un a flakher teler galerete
Un zeykher bandlekh, oy vey
Un a tsholent vos shmeykhlt tsu mir
Tsu fartrinken mit a kalte bir


A hering mit frishe tomates
Un maslines un tsibelekh bapitst
A borsht mit heyse kartofl
Un smetene kalte bashpritst
Un dertsu a bief gor a gutn
Vos shmekt azoy frish un azoy fayn
Mit a grinem feferle inmitn
Tsu fartrinken mit a fleshele vayn
Un a sheynem moyd baym tish
Zol dergebn a geshmakn kish

Un dos iz shlekht, aza zakh?

Eyner a yid iz a rekhter,
Gehert tsu der rekhter partey
A tsveyter yid iz a linker
Un vil nokh zayn linker fun zey
A driter yid iz a royter
Er shrayt a sign z ober zin
A ferter iz glat a halb-toyter
Un er veyst nisht aher tsi ahin
Nor loybt mayn farshtand
Kumt koydem undzer land

A shlekht lendele hobn mir?

It's disgusting to be a pauper, his life is bitter as gall. One's heart is gloomy and miserable because poverty is whistling everywhere. It's best to be a rich man, that's a life without worry or pain, you don't have to be fair to anyone, it's marvellous to be rich. I think it's best to be healthy and have money in the bank.

It's good for me and you, it's good for everybody. It's good for this guy and that one, it isn't bad for anybody. It's good for big and small, for old people, it's good by day and by night, it's good at any time.

The Hass second verse:
Chopped liver and kreplekh, sausages with the fat pouring out of them, roasted plums and apples sprinkled with salt and pepper. It goes on to enumerate a bunch of foods I'm not familiar with, ending with a tsholent accompanied by a cold beer.

A herring with fresh tomatoes, dressed up with olives and onions! A borsht with hot potatoes drizzled with cold sour cream! And in addition, a good roast beef that smells so fresh and fine, with a green peppercorns, and a good bottle of wine.

Then Perlman sings: And a pretty girl by the table, give her a tasty kiss, and is that so bad, a thing like that?" But at this point Falkowitz replaces this couplet with: "A beautiful table set with horseradish and gefilte fish."

Perlman concludes:

One Jew belongs to the right wing party. A second Jew is left-wing and wants to be more radical than they are. A third Jew is a Communist and shouts [something I didn't catch]. The fourth is half dead and doesn't know which way is up. But as I see it, our country comes first. And it's a pretty fine country.

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