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Ikh bin a "boarder" bay mayn vayb 2:25
 

Liner Notes

Ikh bin a “boarder” bay mayn vayb (I’m a Boarder at My Wife’s), first published in 1922, became one of the most famous, comical—and slightly risqué—songs of Yiddish vaudeville, later gaining its widest popularity through a recording by Aaron Lebedeff. It endured long past the vaudeville era. Its lyrics parrot a stereotypical theme of American immigrant-era humor—the complaining, protesting but subservient (so he says), and actually slightly afraid husband—but this song offered a somewhat different twist. Here, the fellow has found a better “arrangement” altogether, divorcing his wife and paying rent to her as a boarder. Now he is free from her perceived control: “When I come home, she doesn’t ask any questions.”

Not all strophes are included in this recording. In the full published version, the “boarder” further praises the wisdom of his arrangement: “[Now] I don’t have to keep an eye on my wife, and worry about mistakenly walking in on her when the butcher is delivering the meat … and I don’t have to work and give her the money.”

The tune is more or less a stock pattern; this song is about the words.

By: Neil W. Levin

 

Lyrics

Lyrics by Reuben Doctor

I’m a boarder at my wife’s.
Guys, it’s a sweet deal.
She attends to my every need.
When I come home, she doesn’t ask any questions.
I am a boarder at my wife’s.

I’m single once again,
single like a young boy.
I’ve divorced my wife.

I thought about moving out,
I looked for a room to lodge,
but my wife persuaded me:

“Why do you need to look for bargains
And be cramped in strange rooms,
And be alone and talk to the walls.
Stay here just like before.
Be a boarder now with me.”
So like a boarder, I pay her rent.

I’m a boarder at my wife’s.
It’s so nice, so good.
Guys, it’s a sweet deal.
She attends to my every need.
When I come home, she doesn’t ask any questions.
I am a boarder at my wife’s.

It’s a pleasure;
I can get it all
as a stranger boarding at my wife’s.
I’m no greenhorn,
and every day, after dinner,
I lie down, just to pass the time

Oh, earlier she used to curse me
and make a big hullabaloo,
Even when there was a stranger boarding
in my house.
But ever since I became a boarder at her place,
she is so good to me.
It costs me little, and she loves me.

Lyrics by Reuben Doctor

ikh bin a boarder bay mayn vayb,
oy, mener, iz dos a tayerer job.
zi atendet mikh mit ales,
ven ikh kum fregt zi keyn shayles.
ikh bin a boarder bay mayn vayb.

ikh bin shoyn vider single
single vi a yingl.
mit mayn vaybl hob ikh zikh geget.
gedenkt hob ikh tsu “mufn”
a room gezukht tsu shlofn
hot mayn vaybl mikh ibergeredt:

vos darfstu zukhn glikn,
in fremde rooms zikh shtikn,
un zayn aleyn un redn tsu di vent,
blayb do iber punkt vi frier
zay a boarder yetst bay mir.
vi a boarder tsol ikh ir di rent.

ikh bin a boarder bay mayn vayb,
ay voyl, ay gut, ay voyl
oy, mener, iz dos a tayerer job.
zi atendet mikh mit ales,
ven ikh kum fregt zi keyn shayles.
ikh bin a boarder bay mayn vayb.

es iz a fargenign,
ales ken ikh krign,
vi a fremdn boarder bay mayn vayb.
ikh bin gornit keyn griner,
un yedn tog nokh dinner
leyg ikh zikh tsu azoy tsum tsayt-fartrayb.

oy frier flegt zi mir sheltn
un iberkern veltn
gor mit a fremdn boarderin mayn shtub.
nor zayt ikh bin in board bay ir,
iz zi azoy gut tsu mir,
es kost mir bilik un zi hot mikh lib.


 

Credits

Composer: Reuben Doctor

Length: 2:25
Genre: Yiddish Theater

Performers: Bruce Adler, Tenor;  Barcelona Symphony-National Orchestra of CataloniaElli Jaffe, Conductor

Date Recorded: 06/15/2001
Venue: Sala Sinfonica del Auditori (A), Barcelona, Spain
Engineer: Hughes, Campbell
Assistant Engineer: Kornacher, Bertram
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

Arrangers: Ira Hearshen/Zalmen Mlotek
Orchestrator: Ira Hearshen
Yiddish Translations/Transliterations: Eliyahu Mishulovin & Adam J. Levitin
Arrangement © Milken Family Foundation

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