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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Ales kumt dokh fun upstairs (Everything comes from upstairs) - Max Wilner's TV appearance

This song is found, as far as I know, only on the Youtube channel of Spookylorre. He doesn't say where it comes from, but somebody told me it was from a TV show in the 1950s. I'd love to know more! 

So here is Max, mugging his way through this delightful song: Ales kimt dokh fin upstairs

 As far as I know, the song was never recorded or published, this clip is all there is. The great challenge was figuring out the lyrics. 

I asked Len Mis, Lenny Misikoff, proprietor of Arye Menachem's Cornucopia of Yiddish Song, to help out. He has generously been transcribing lyrics for unpublished songs for quite some time, it's a huge favor he's doing everybody who cares about Yiddish songs. Check out his YouTube channel: Yiddish Songs with Translation by Arye. There were a few murky spots, I did the best I could... He got Yelena Shmulenson to help, so, thanks to both! Here is my living room recording from earlier today:

It would be interesting to have a date for Wilner's video. There is so much English in the text, but the heart of the song is very old-fashioned - it follows the same form we saw in Yiddish vaudeville songs of the turn of the 20th century. The idea - that everything we have comes from above - is reflected in three very different ways in the three stanzas. If anybody knows more about this tv show, please let me know. Transliteration and translation after the jump. 

Ales kimt dokh fin upstairs, fin upstairs, fin upstairs
Yes, ikh leyken es nisht up.
Ales kimt dokh fin upstairs, fin upstairs, fin upstairs
Fin oybn varft men ales du arup.

Der rebe der moderner iz nisht keyn yid mit herner;
Onshtot a burd, trugt er a royter tay.
Nor vi di hayntike talmidem eyn iz dokh kayn shoyte, viden
Der talmed fregt dem rebm, heyst, "Smaht guy:
Fun vanen nemt zikh ales? Der biksl un der dales?
Fun vanen nemt zikh plezher oder trobl?
Fun vanen nemt zikh kendi mit frenkfurters un brendi?
Fin vanen nemt zikh tsibeles un knobl?
Du enfert im der rebe: "Di vilst visn
fin vanen s'kimt s'ol? Vayz guy, listen:"

Kh'hob endlekh rooms gekrign, kh'darf nisht krikhn shtign.
Mayn flet iz oyf dem ground floor tsi der bek.
Der flet iz nit der shenster. Ikh kik aroys dem fenster:
Mayn yard iz fil mit gabidzh, s'iz a shrek!
Dort lign tep un fendlekh, alte shikh in kendlekh,
a barg mit ashes, a sofa a tsedreyter.
Ikh ruf dem superintendent, ikh freg im in defendent:
"Iz dus a yard tsi an insinyereyter?"
"Fin vanen kimt dus?" freyg ikh, "Ikh vil visn!"
"Vus heyst fin vanen?" Nemt er teln mir: "Listen!"

Mayn landsman, Abie Spektor, farglist zikh zayn an ektor,
Dingt er zikh a teater in der Bronx.
Aleyn genimen loyfn di tikets tsi farkoyfn,
Aleyn geshpilt, aleyn gezingen songs.
Bay ale zayne stsenes gefloygn iz banenes.
Er hot zey take bald tsenoyfgeklibn!
Geendikt dos teyeyter, zey ikh - in droysn shteyt er
Un er farkoyft banenes, dray far zibn.
"Benenes," freg ikh, "vi hoste genimen?"
Enfert er mir in nemt zikh barimen:
"Vus heyst, di veyst nisht fin vanen di benenes kimen?"

Everything, of course, comes from upstairs, yes, I don't deny it
Everything comes from upstairs,
Everything here is thrown down from above.

The modern rabbi is no Old World caricature - 
Instead of a beard, he wears a red tie
But like modern students, here's one that's no blockhead,
So he asks the rabbi: Hey, smart guy:
Where does everything come from? Guns, poverty?
Where do pleasure and trouble come from?
Where do candy and hotdogs and brandy come from?
How about onions and garlic?
The rebbe answers him: You want to know where everything comes from, wise guy? Listen:

I recently rented rooms. I don't need to be creeping up stairs:
My flat is on the ground floor, in the back.
The flat isn't the prettiest. I look out the window,
My yard is full of garbage, it's terrible.
Pots and saucepans are lying there, old shoes and candles,
A mountain of ashes, a busted up sofa...
I call the superintendent and accuse him:
"Is this a yard or an incinerator?"
"Where does all this come from," I ask him, "I want to know!"
"You ask from where?" he starts telling me, "Listen:

A guy from back home, Abie Spector, wants to be an actor,
So he rents a theater in the Bronx.
He himself runs around selling tickets,
He does the acting, he sings the songs.
During all his scenes, bananas are flying.
Right away he starts collecting them!
Walking to the theater, I see him standing outside,
And he's selling bananas, three for seven dollars.
"Where'd you get these bananas?" I ask him.
He answers me, beginning to boast:
"What do you mean? You don't know where the bananas come from?"

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