I've never been very happy with the available translations of Brecht lyrics.
Sticking slavishly to the original text often leaves them sounding awkward and unnatural.
I thought it would be fun to try writing my own version:
one that would use English idioms and speech patterns.
Oh, the shark has many teeth, dears, and he keeps them white as snow.
Just a flick-knife has MacHeath, dears, and it's never left on show.
Now the shark's a filthy creature. You can smell blood on his breath.
Mack The Knife, he's so much neater: you couldn't ask a cleaner death.
On a sunday, under blue skies, lies a body in the sand.
Down the beach, a child makes sand-pies: in his bucket, a severed hand.
Samuel Meyer died unhealthy, but his bank-book was immense.
Mackie's looking very wealthy...but it's just coincidence.
At the docks they've found another. Jenny Towler was her name.
Mackie's comforting her mother: "Such a nice girl. What a shame..."
Seven babies lie in ashes, burned alive in their layettes
And MacHeath says "I've got no matches. Would you light my cigarette?"
There's a child-bride in the paper, and her killer's still at large,
But we all know who has raped her - Mackie, how much did you charge?
Yes, we all know who has raped her - Mackie, how much did you charge?