Thursday, March 4, 2010

If It Wasn't For The Irish And The Jews

video
One of the highlights of Mike Moloney's presentation at a Tenement Museum event held on Tuesday night March 2, 2010 at the Angel Orensanz Center
the 1912 song is by William Jerome and Gene Schwartz
I just returned from Europe I’ve seen London and Paris
And I’m glad to get back home to Yankee land
In fact the little USA looks better now to me
It’s a real place that the real folks understand
But still I often sit and think what would this country be
If we hadn’t men like Rosenstein and Hughes
We’ve surely have a Kingdom there’d be no democracy
If it wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews
What would this great Yankee nation really really ever do
If it wasn’t for a Levy, a Monahan or Donohue
Where would we get our policemen
Why Uncle Sam would have the Blues
Without the Pats and Isadores
There’d be no big department stores
If it wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews
McDonald built the subway and his name will not forget
A word of praise is due to Nathan Strauss
For pasteurizing babies milk the world owes him a debt
He’s a friend to every kitty in the house
Without Big Jim Sullivan what would the Bowery do
The patrolmen they would need new pairs of shoes
There wouldn’t be an east side in the city of New York
If it weren’t for the Irish and the Jews
What would we do for amusement, there would be no place to go
If it wasn’t for the Shuberts, Frank McKee and Marcus Loewe
K and E and Billy Brady, Hammerstein I must include
I once heard Dave Belasco say you couldn’t stage a play today
If it wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews
Talk about a combination, heed my words and make a note
On St Patrick’s Day Rosinsky pins a shamrock on his coat
There’s a sympathetic feeling between the Blooms and McAdoos
Why Tammany would surely fall, there’d really be no Hall at all
If it wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews

an excerpt from a recent Terry Gross npr interview done with Mike I tried to coordinate the discussion with the images I used to accompany the soundtrack
After a lifetime of performing and studying traditional music from Ireland and Iris-American folk songs, Mick Moloney has become fascinated by the Irish songwriters from the vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley era.
His new CD features several Tin Pan Alley collaborations between Irish and Jewish songwriters. It's called "If It Wasn't For the Irish and the Jews." It's his second CD of Irish-American songs from vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley. He's recorded and produced over 50 albums and is a professor of Irish studies and music at NYU.
Let's start with the title track, "If It Wasn't For the Irish and the Jews," written in 1912 by William Jerome, who was Irish, and Jean Schwartz, who was Jewish. Moloney sings on the track is accompanied by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.
Professor MICK MOLONEY (New York University): (Singing) I just returned from Europe, I've seen London and Paris and I'm glad to get back home to Yankee land. In fact, the little USA looks better now to me. It's the real place where the real folks understand.
But still I often sit and think what would this country do if it hadn't been like Rosenstein and Hughes? We surely have a kingdom, maybe no democracy if it wasn't for the Irish and the Jews.
What would this great Yankee nation really, really ever do, if it wasn't for a Levy(ph), a Monaham(ph) or Donohue(ph)? Where would we get our policemen? Why Uncle Sam would have the blues without the Pat's and Isadore's they'd be no big department stores if it wasn't for the Irish and the Jews.
GROSS: Mick Moloney, welcome back to FRESH AIR. Was the pairing between Irish and Jewish songwriters different than any other pairing in Tin Pan Alley?
Prof. MOLONEY: I think it was, because first of all, the Irish had dominated American popular music really for the whole of the 19th century. You think of major figures like Thomas Moore. You think of Dan Amos, who wrote "Dixie." You think of Stephen Foster, who would've been Scotch-Irish. You think of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, who wrote "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." You think of Victor Herbert, who introduced operetta to America. The list goes on and on. And I think the Irish would've come from a performing arts culture, where music and dance and storytelling were always highly valued.
And suddenly you have a new immigration from a very similar culture, a culture that - where it's very vocal, it's very much involved in the arts, it's a Diaspora. Like the Irish, they're not going back to where they came from for perhaps different reasons, and they take to the stage right away. And then in the 1890s you see people like Al Dubin arriving in Philadelphia. He's only three at the time and he won't go to school. He wants to be a songwriter.
You see people like Harry Gumbinsky arriving in Cincinnati. He won't go to school either. He's getting in trouble with his parents, he's Jewish, and he changes his name to Harry Von Tilzer. He wants to be a songwriter. And music was dclass. It was on the fringes and both the Irish and the Jews at various times were on the fringes of society. And I think the entertainment world, the sports world perhaps in another way, has been a place for people who can't get on so easily in other aspects of life that they tend to gravitate towards those, so I think it was a very good mix.

Mike was quite comprehensive , but he left out the historic 4th Ward Irish/Jewish collaboration of Al Smith and Belle Moskowitz btw a certain KV alum and ageless beauty was married to a Tilzer
descendant

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