Summer Strum

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My summer adventure this year was not camping with the kids, which for a couple of years has meant my 2 daughters as my son has been working, but off on a trip to the East coast of Canada with my hubby Jeff, to visit Prince Edward Island. It was completely amazing to me to be driving around in a place about the size of our two counties (Haldimand and Norfolk) and yet this place is an actual province.

True to Cat form, I brought my ukulele. Since I had literally just finished reading “Stompin’ Tom Before the Fame”, I imagined myself playing my uke in the Buick Century while Jeff drives and sings along. Nothing even close to that took place. When not driving my job was Navigator. Also, we left at 6:30 p.m. Friday night and hit Edmundston, New Brunswick at 7:30 a.m. our time the next day. (Yes, there IS a time zone change!)

DSCF0562Nevertheless, I threw some songs together in a blue duotang and shoved it in my bag with another duo labelled “iTIN”. (Ha ha. Itinerary, get it?)

By the time we made day-tripping and sight-seeing plans I had only strummed a few minutes here and there, so finally I told Jeff we had to set aside some time for the beach and also for me to play my ukulele in PEI. That’s the dream, right? LOL

Here is my play list: 1-2-3-4 by Feist, All My Loving by the Beatles,

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My audience

Buttons and Bows (Yes, by Dinah Shore and Bob Hope), Can’t Buy Me Love by the Beatles, Harvest Moon – Neil, Hooked on a Feeling by BJ Thomas (for Jeff), I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt, Million Dollars by BNL, The Log Driver’s Waltz by Wade Hemsworth, Long May You Run by Neil, Moondance by Van Morrison, Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke (also for Jeff), Riptide by Vance Joy, Say That You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac, Stand By Me – Ben E King, Still the One by Orleans, The Summer Wind, Up on Cripple Creek by the Band, Wagon Wheel in C, We’re Here for a Good Time by Trooper, and Whiskey in the Jar, which oddly enough I never played.

Played my ukulele on Cavendish beach, part of PEI National Park. DSCF0498 I was a bit nervous to play around any sleeping beach-goers and there were quite a few families there so I set up our chairs back by the life-guards’ hut. For some reason I kept thinking that I don’t want to disturb other people. It turned out that after I played for a couple of hours and we were actually packing up to go get a late supper, several people approached us to tell us how much they enjoyed listening to us sing songs on my uke and that was a great feeling of appreciation. One guy told us he was homegrown PEI and he stayed on the beach longer just so he could listen to us. That was pretty cool because we were very much enjoying the water, the sand and rocks on the beach, the seagulls and the sun. It was a great day!

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Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke

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I’m sad, my uking friends. Google does not support the tags I put on my posts or songs any more. I have been reading a few posts by many people who have discovered the same thing, whether it be on their blog or, more commonly, their YouTube vid’s. Apparently these individuals have gotten little to no response from either Google or YouTube reps. Related image

My hubby’s theory is that we have to pay to make our web-sites searchable, which in essence makes Google no long a free resource. Congratulations to Google for having joined the ranks of commercialism! I feel creepy, like if I am no longer searchable then I cease to exist? I am now wondering why I am paying WordPress for the dot com at the end of my name….

These are the thoughts I ponder tonight as I sift through ukulele songs to take with us on our upcoming journey out East. Heading for the Eastern seaboard, the fair shores of Prince Edward Island this Friday. That may be why I’ve been transposing and arranging so many songs lately. Itchy strum thumbs!

Not to take away from the fine work of Sam Cooke, but his song of 1959 expresses my sentiment of yearning and pondering the future of my site. If my views drop down to none there is no reason to continue, is there? Will my site whither and stall? And what are meta tags and can they help me become a search result again??? Whoa – deep!

ONLY SIXTEEN CP

 

Summer Heat

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Wouldn’t it be great if our love was just Soooooo hot that when winter came we just wanted to go deep in the desert and let our love thaw the snow?  Like, wow! Whatever that means, in “music-land”, that must be some kinda heat, ya know?

All the lyrics I find on the internet, by the way, claim that line as “I yearned for the snow”, but if you get really relaxed and then listen to the song, like over and over and over, you will indeed discern the words, “our LO-ove thaw the sno-OH!”

So here is my poetic license, if you will, of Orleans classic 1976 hit, “Still the One”.

Still The One revised

 

 

Good Ole Neil ;-)

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Well, I hope ole Neil won’t mind, but I transposed the key for one of his hit songs, “Long May You Run”, which he once revealed in an interview to be dedicated to a beloved car.

I was going through the Bytown Uke Groups songs and having a great ole time printing out songs about Canada, of Canada, and some that were written by Canadians ;-), when I realized that someone who does the posting of songs for the group must be a Neil Young fan. There are umpteen songs at their site by him.

For many years, while I was studying piano, and then later, guitar, I was always interested in performing Neil Young songs but just as equally disappointed, because the man has a high voice. Within the last decade of my music playing on Ukulele, “doors” have really opened for me with the discovery of transposing. Suddenly, no song is off limits. The reason you are surprised I’m sure is because of my musical background. To clear that up, I will tell you that I learned to play classical piano at a very high level. In those days my friend and I who both played piano like demons, were into the new music us kids would hear on the radio. This was 1977 to 1984/85. So what we did back then was buy artists music books, like “Hits by the Eagles” or “Fleetwood Mac”, and then trade them back and forth, pooling our resources. We also bought compilation books by multi artists. I can remember lovingly – and by that I mean at the top of my lungs – playing AND singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gale and “Georgia” by Ray Charles, over and over and over……. as well as numerous Eagles songs, Van Morrison, Dan Hill, Carol King, Janis Joplin, many folk songs like “the Unicorn Song”, “Puff the Magic Dragon”, as well as campire songs, songs by John Denver, lots of country songs by Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, and many, many, others. My father in particular was fond of “Trailer for Rent” and “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, and “The Green, Green, Grass of Home”. He could sing!

At our high school they farmed us out for lunch period entertainment in the caf during the month of December, where we were to play Christmas carols – once again, classical music – but invariably, as the kids would come up and sit on the bench next to us they would start requesting “Christmas songs”, that would always lead to a good ole singing session of modern hit music. The song that usually did me in was a so-called Christmas song, “Another Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg, which would lead to other current hits. I got admonished by the Vice-principal numerous times but they never did fire me from this gig, as I was given this duty every year for 5 years straight. I couldn’t help myself: it always turned into an hour of fun.

Back then, we also studied to pass our music levels, and I remember now having to study transposing, but I literally never used it so it got pushed out of memory and, consequently, ability. Years later when I was learning to play guitar, that knowledge would have come in handy, for there were many songs that went by the wayside because I couldn’t sing them in that key. When I finally resurrected my interest in music using the ukulele, things were different. For one thing, I was no longer playing at parties or for friends, I was now learning and playing in a group. And you pick up all sorts of skills when you play regularly with others. About 3 years into my ukulele playing the benefits of transposing keys became clear to me and I have never turned back. Love a song? Can’t sing it in that key? No problemo:  presto bango, transposo, and voila!

I used to love many many Neil Young songs but when I heard them over the radio, I was never able to sing along. The man has a high voice! But many times I wished I could have performed on my piano or my guitar such hits by him but I never could sing it so I would have to turn the page. It has been decades since I even remembered what the problem was. So yesterday while I was printing out all these Canadian hit song sheets by Neil Young I was feeling that old disappointment again. Particularly with “Long May You Run”. And I started trying the chords on  my uke and literally saying to myself, “this would be much easier in the key of G”. The only problem was there was this daunting chord to transpose, the F#m, because you know, nothing’s easy with Neil Young! A couple of years ago I had gone down to the MUD Festival in Lansing, Michigan, and they had two or three group sing-alongs where they projected the song sheets, and one that they taught us was in the key of A with a Bm and a B#m, Cm and C#m, which I practiced for weeks afterwards. Yesterday I was realizing that I could incorporate some of those chords into the song to achieve the same thing. So it’s G, Bm, D7, Em and C, and then he has this little instrumental bit at the end of the chorus, which threw me. I listened to it and the closest I can get is C, then Eb, which looks scarey but is actually simple to form, G then Gaug (same thing) and back to G. Related image

I really find it interesting to attempt to play songs that were composed on a guitar by a guitar player. I mean, maybe they wrote the melody for a song on the napkin of a diner while eating lunch, I don’t know the process ha ha. But I’m finding that transposing songs into a more singable key for me is opening musical doors, and enhancing my enjoyment of music.

For a detailed description of transposing and how to do it, try these websites, but first download my transposed version of “Long May You Run” by Neil Young!

LONG MAY YOU RUN CP

https://ledgernote.com/columns/music-theory/circle-of-fifths-explained/

http://www.circleoffifths.com/#axzz4mLtcHSeR

LONG MAAAAAY YOUUUUUUU RUN!!!!!!

 

I Love a Rainy Night

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Ever get an “ear worm”? A song, or part of a song, gets stuck in your head, and no matter how hard you try to distract yourself you can’t stop hearing it in your head! Playing over and over and over……. Sometimes, it’s a part of a song we totally hate, but which has unfortunately become popular over the air-waves. And the radio station seems to be playing it over and over and over…..

The best that you can hope for is something you like gets stuck in there, and you end up counting down the hours at work until “Miller time” when you can rush home and get to your Ukulele. I find that playing my ukulele and transposing songs can help relieve the stress of my job tremendously. Having to focus on the chords, the words and the melody takes my mind off my troubles.

In the winter we like to get out to as much karaoke as we possibly can, sometimes going to as many as 3 per week. We have a group of friends and family who enjoy going around the karaoke circuit too, so we always have a great time. A couple of months ago Jeff’s brother threw a house party for karaoke and we wound up singing well into the wee hours of the morning – on a weekend of course! – and one of the songs chosen that night was I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt.

Man, I hadn’t heard that song in decades I bet you. I had forgotton what a nice, simple song it was, practically unplugged. I can recall that at the time when it was a hit the radio stations seemed to play it several times a day, every day. Over and over and over….ha ha ha.

So, I’m not going to bore you with the background of this song, heck I’m not even going to tell you the year, I’m just going to post my arrangement of the song with an accompanying video (of Eddie Rabbitt, not me). I will tell you my arrangement is in the Key of F, DUE TO THE FACT THAT: the Key of C as presented to me on the internet was too low, and the Key of G, which is one of my favourite keys to play in, was too high, leaving me with the keys of D or F. (Not E, nobody plays ukulele songs in the Key of E unless they absolutely have to, there is no other alternative, et cetera and so forth.) So, by a little thing called: “process of elimination” (much like Survivor only you’re allowed to eat and also sleep in a bed) I chose the Key of F.

Now, if only Ukulele players out there could overcome their…..fear? aversion? dislike? fear? of playing “the dreaded B flat” chord, just think of how much pleasure they could derive from playing such songs as this. So, Ukulele fans and players, I leave you with this little gem of a song arrangement and I challenge you to master the chord of B flat in order to enhance your enjoyment of this song in itself. Perhaps this song will kick off an interest in this key, after all it really is quite simple and all of the chords in this key are fluid (one position leads well into the next). Also, once you master the difficulty of the B flat chord you will feel quite smug about your achievement and possibly even brag about it to other uke players, ie. “B flat? I play that one all the time!” So get ready to join  the club, here is I Love a Rainy Night ~ I LOVE A RAINY NIGHT

 

Celebrating Canada on Day 150

Hello! Congratulations Canada, you will be 150 years old this year ~ 2017!!!

On Tuesday, May 30th we will be playing Canadian songs on the 150th day of the 150th year. That’s pretty cool.

Here is our song list for May 30th:

Black rum And Blueberry Pie Page 1      Black Rum And Blueberry Pie page2

Farewell to Nova Scotia – unknown: folk song attributed to Nova Scotia heritage

Four Strong Winds – written by Ian Tyson; made famous by “Ian and Sylvia”, and also Neil Young

Good Old Hockey Game (PDF) by Stompin’ Tom Connors

Harvest_Moon by Neil Young

If I Had A Million Dollars (C) by the Bare Naked Ladies

I’m Glad I Live In Canada (C) by Bowser and Blue

Oh Canada – uke – NOT the traditional wording “we play our ukes for thee”

Song For The Mira (PDF) – written by Allister McGillivray

Sudbury Saturday Night  also by Stompin’ Tom Connors

Summer Vibe by Walk Off the Earth

The Log Driver’s Waltz written by Wade Hemsworth, by the McGarrigle sisters

This Land Is Your Land words re-written by the Travellers

Up On Cripple Creek (C) by THE BAND!!

Wagon Wheel Darius Rucker (G) by Canadian Musician Darius Rucker, formerly of the band Hootie and the Blowfish.

Some of these songs celebrate things distinctly Canadian and other songs are a nod to the East Coast, to Ontario, to country music roots, or just darn fun!

We’re allowed to have fun and to celebrate our nation’s age, culture and heritage. I hope you enjoy!

 

The Gypsy Rover

13. THE GYPSY ROVER

Image result for Gypsy loverThe Whistling Gypsy, sometimes known simply as The Gypsy Rover, is a well-known ballad composed and copyrighted by Dublin songwriter Leo Maguire in the 1950s.

There are a number of similar traditional songs about a well-off woman’s encounter with gypsies, dating back at least as far as the early 19th century, known as “The Raggle Taggle Gypsy”, “The Raggle Taggle Gypsies”, “The Gypsy Laddie”, “Nine Yellow Gypsies”, “Gypsie Davie” and “Black Jack Davie”.

The story-line usually revolves around a woman leaving her home and her “wedded lord” to run off with one or more Gypsies, to be pursued by her husband. In some songs the lady is pursued by her father, and when he catches the pair the “Gypsy” reveals himself to be the “lord of these lands all over”.

The Gypsy Rover has been recorded by numerous artists, including The Clancy Brothers, The Kingston Trio, The Highwaymen (who had a Top 40 hit with the song) and The Wiggles, among others.

GYPSY ROVER Traditional in the Key of C

The Black Velvet Band

12. THE BLACK VELVET BAND

Image result for transportation to Australia punishmentThe Black Velvet Band is a traditional folk song collected from singers in Australia, England, Canada, Ireland and the United States describing how a young man is tricked and then sentenced to deportation to Australia, a common punishment in 19th century Britain and Ireland. 

There are 98 known entries for this song, comprising ballads, versions collected from traditional singers, and field recordings. It was published as a ballad by the music company Swindells of Manchester, sometime between 1796 and 1853, and by H. Such of London sometime between 1863 and 1885. A 1911 version is set in Belfast and contains the words “Her eyes they shone like diamonds” in the Chorus. Image result for The Black Velvet Band

While working for the BBC, Peter Kennedy recorded a version in Belfast in 1952. In 1959, a version was found in Australia. An earlier version by the publisher Swindells of Manchester is very wordy, and has no chorus. It places the events in Barking, Essex. Some of the earliest versions mention the Old Bailey and London Town. The publication date of that version is probably between 1837 and 1853.

The Dubliners version, possibly the best known, is slightly adapted from a version recorded by Ewan MacColl from the Norfolk singer Harry Cox in 1955, and recorded by MacColl and Peggy Seegar on their 1964 LP Chorus from the Gallows. The Irish Rovers recorded the well-known version on their album The Unicorn in 1967 and released as a single on the B-side of The Unicorn Song.

In the video below by Paddy Riley you will also hear his turn-around chord, which is not in the sheet music I provide, but can be incorporated into your performance after “neat little town” with a couple of repeat strums on G7. This is my favourite Irish song for St. Patrick’s Day next to Molly Malone.

Black Velvet Band C The official T’UkeS version, in C.

Black Velvet Band G I believe this one is from Jim’s online, slightly different wording, in G.

The Irish Rover

11. THE IRISH ROVER

Related imageThe Irish Rover is an Irish folk song about a magnificent, though improbable, sailing ship that reaches an unfortunate end. It has been recorded by numerous artists, some of whom have made changes to the lyrics.

The song describes a gigantic twenty-seven masted ship with a colourful crew and varied types of cargo in enormous amounts. The verses grow successively more extravagant about the wonders of the great ship. The seven-year voyage comes to a disastrous end after losing its way in the fog, striking a rock, and spinning nine times around before sinking with most of the crew and the captain’s old dog aboard – everyone except the singer, who in the last line of the song is revealed to be the lone survivor of The Irish Rover’s ill-fated final voyage, so there is no one alive to contradict the tale. Image result for Irish Rover

The song is attributed to songwriter/arranger J. M. Crofts. The Irish Rover is one of the most popular Irish-Gaelic Scottish country dances and is set to the music of the song. The Canadian musical performance band, The Irish Rovers, created in 1963, were named after the traditional song “The Irish Rover” by their mother in Ballymena, N. Ireland. They first recorded this song on their 1966 debut album, The First of the Irish Rovers.

THE IRISH ROVER C Our version from T’UkeS – Tillsonburg Uke Group.