Monday, October 13, 2008

The Japanese Sandman

This is a beautiful song from the early 1900's - I think 1922. The singer is Nora Bayes, a vaudeville star from the late 1800's to the early 1900's. She has a lovely voice, but I like the lyrics of this song most of all. Here they are (I'm only unsure of the "peaking on with the dew" part - but the rest of quite clear):

The Japanese Sandman

Won't you stretch your imagination for a moment and come with me....
Let us hasten to a nation lying over the Western Sea....
Hide behind the cherry blossoms, here's a sight that will please your eye:
There's a lady with a baby of Japan singing lullabies.

Here her as she sighs....

Here's a Japanese Sandman
Peaking on with the dew
Just an old second hand man
He'll buy your old days from you

He will take every sorrow
Of the day that is through
And he'll bring you tomorrow
Just to start life anew

Then you'll be a bit older
In the dawn when you wake
And you'll be a bit older
In the new day you'll take

There's a Japanese Sandman
Trading silver for gold

Just an old second hand man
Trading new days for old

Then you'll be a bit older
In the dawn when you wake
And you'll be a bit older
In the new day you'll take

There's a Japanese Sandman
Trading silver for gold

Just an old second hand man
Trading new days for old

These lyrics are so whimsical and gentle. The mental pictures I see are beautiful. Think of the magic phrase, "across the Western Sea"- sounds so mysterious and distant., and the idea of trading old days in and getting new ones is an allegorical picture for aging that is quaint and old fashioned.


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1 comment:

Robert V. Sobczak said...

They don't make music like that anymore: or if they do, it doesn't get the radio play. And your right, I like the idea of a bigger world, pre globalization. There was more mystery.