The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #112183   Message #2371261
Posted By: Genie
21-Jun-08 - 03:31 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars (Irving Berlin)
Subject: Lyr Add: COHEN OWES ME 97 DOLLARS (Irving Berlin)
A dear friend of mine, who passed on in 1998, used to sing me this song. I had it saved on my voice mail and hoped to keep (and learn) it, but somehow it got erased. Later I learned that the song was written sometime around 1920 (I think) by Irving Berlin and the title was not "Old Man Rosenthal" but "Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars."

I found the words long ago but could not quite recall all the tune. Thank heaven for YouTube!

Here are the lyrics:

(Irving Berlin)

[1st verse:]
Old man Rosenthal lay sick in bed.
Soon the doctor came around and said,
"No use crying,
the man is dying.
He can't live very long!"
"Send my son here to my side," they heard the old man say
"I've got something to tell him before I pass away."
Soon his son was sitting by his bed
"What's the matter, Papa dear?" he said
The old man said, "My son,
before my days are done
I want you to know":

"Cohen owes me ninety-seven dollars
And it's up to you to see that Cohen pays.
I sold a lot of goods to Rosenstein and Sons
On an I.O.U. for ninety days.
Levi brothers don't get any credit,
They owe me for one hundred yards of lace.
If you promise me, my son, you'll collect from ev'ryone,
I can die with a smile upon my face."

[2nd verse:]
Old man Rosenthal is better now.
He just simply wouldn't die somehow .
He is healthy
and very wealthy
since he got out of bed.
Such a change you never saw, he's got such rosy cheeks
He picked up in just one week what should take weeks and weeks.
Ev'ryone who knew that he was sick
Couldn't tell how he got well so quick.
They went and asked him to explain how he pulled through
And Rosenthal replied:

[2nd refrain:]
"Cohen owed me ninety-seven dollars
And my son went out and made poor Cohen pay.
A bill was owed to me by Rosenstein and Sons
And they settled on that very day.
What could my son do with all that money
If I should leave it all and say goodbye?
It's all right to pass away,
but when people start to pay
That's no time for a businessman to die!"

Watch and listen to it sung by Joe Fontana or by Janet Klein.