Anyways, the wonderful Locust Avenue is now up to 1908 in his wonderful vinyl history. That means Charles L. Johnson's "Dill Pickles Rag" and Edward Meeker "I'm a Yiddish Cowboy":
Much like the African-American songwriters who wrote minstrel songs, Jewish songwriters contributed to their culture's mockery. Jews wrote bits like "Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars" for Jews to perform on stage, usually a comedian wearing, as Jody Rosen put it: an "ubiquitous beard and enormous hook nose...oversized shoes, a tattered black overcoat, and a derby cap pulled tightly across his head so that his ears jutted out."Keywords: music, mp3
Even Irving Berlin (who Philip Roth, in Operation: Shylock, wrote had achieved the ultimate assimilation goal: turning the Nativity into a celebration of snow, and the Resurrection into a society parade) wrote his share of tenement ballads in his early years. A subconscious, subversive joke: the opening strains of the chorus of Berlin's "God Bless America" are directly lifted from the Jewish vaudeville gag song "Mose With His Nose Leads the Band."
As Rosen wrote, "I'm a Yiddish Cowboy" yanks together two typical scenarios of the period--a ghetto Jew out in the country making a fool of himself (see Roth's just-released Indignation), and the many perils of mixed marriages (think "Abie's Irish Rose"). Written by Al Piantadosi and Leslie Mohr, it's sung here by the dreadful Edward Meeker, who gurns and bleats into the recording horn, playing to the cheap seats. (Meeker was best known as the voice introducing hundreds of Edison records, including this one;
Leslie had a long career as a songwriter--he wrote "For Me and My Gal," "Hello Hawaii, How Are You" and "Take Me to the Land of Jazz"). You could claim the Billy Crystal movie City Slickers is a sequel to this song.
Recorded in New York in July 1908 and released as Edison Gold Moulded Record 9984; on Jewface.