We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Ballad of Mack the Knife

from Stowaways by Paul Mark & The Van Dorens

  • Digital Track
    Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $1 USD  or more

    You own this


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Paul Mark's 10th album release, taking his roots rock and classic pop sensibility out into the next wave.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Stowaways via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      $14 USD or more 

    You own this  



The lyrics used here are from Ralph Manheim and John Willet's unflinching 1976 translation of the Brecht/Weill masterpiece, "Threepenny Opera". First performed in Berlin in 1928, "Threepenny Opera" was a savvy reworking of "The Beggar's Opera", the resilient “ballad-opera” written for the stage by John Gay in 1728.

From its Weimar era premier right up through the 1960s, Threepenny Opera — replete with stabbings, overt sexuality and indictments of sitting institutions — was regularly bowdlerized by the prevailing tastemakers, from Nazi culture police to American pop producers slumming for a hit. Even Bobby Darin's 1959 swing take on “Mack” (lifted largely from Louis Armstrong's Dixieland version from 1956) strikes the ear like a bachelor pad throw pillow, for all its hypermodulatin' brio.

Once awakened to the original’s civilization gone mad accusations, softening the work for political gain — or for the diversion a wider audience — seems an unwitting step into the very corruption targeted by the composers.

I first heard the Manheim/Willet translation on the 1976 Columbia LP of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s bold production of Threepenny Opera. After scanning today's headlines neither the Brecht/Weill horror show nor the Manheim/Willet translation require any updating.

-Paul Mark


from Stowaways, released April 9, 2020


all rights reserved



Paul Mark & The Van Dorens New York, New York

Triple-threat songwriter-musician-producer Paul Mark has been mystifying critics and barflies for decades. With a striking lyrical edge and an encyclopedic facility with American roots music, NYC-based Paul Mark has built a top-drawer original song catalog that tugs on the ears of the literary as well as the liquidated. Mark is principal owner of Radiation Records. ... more

contact / help

Contact Paul Mark & The Van Dorens

Streaming and
Download help

Report this track or account