A Lighter Side of Country, II

John Denver. What a heart throb. A great man whose life was cut tragically short. Growing up, this was the song that got everyone “doe-see-doe-in” in their kitchens. Since this is traditionally a banjo song, if I knew how to “claw hammer” on my Ukulele, that’s what I would use to deliver this song. However, I just strum really fast-paced.

Grandma’s Feather Bed – by Jim Connor; brought to fame by John Denver.

{ Vamp on C }

[C] When I was [F] little bitty boy, [C] just up off the [G7] floor

[C] We used to go out to [F] Grandma’s house, [G7] every month end or [C] so.

[C] We’d have chicken pie, [F] country ham, [C] home-made butter on the [G7] bread.

[C] But the best darn thing about [F] Grandma’s house was her [G7] great big, feather [C] bed.

[C] It was nine feet high and six feet wide and [F] soft as a downy [C] chick.

[C] It was made from the feathers of forty leaven geese,

and took a [D7] whole bolt of cloth for the [G7] tick.

It could [C] hold 8 kids, 4 hound dogs and a [F] piggy we stole from the [C] shed.

We didn’t get much sleep but we [F] had a lot of fun on [G7] Grandma’s feather [C] bed.

[C] After supper we’d [F] sit around the fire, and the [C] old folks’d spit an’ [G7] chew.

[C] Pa would talk about the [F] farm and the war and [G7] Granny’d sing a ballad or [C] two.

[C] I’d sit ‘n’ listen and [F] watch the fire, til the [C] cobwebs filled my [G7] head.

Next [C] thing I’d know, I’d [F] wake up in the mornin’ in the [G7] middle of the old feather [C] bed!

[C] It was nine feet high and six feet wide and [F] soft as a downy [C] chick.

[C] It was made from the feathers of forty leaven geese,

and took a [D7] whole bolt of cloth for the [G7] tick.

It could [C] hold 8 kids, 4 hound dogs and a [F] piggy we stole from the [C] shed.

We didn’t get much sleep but we [F] had a lot of fun on [G7] Grandma’s feather [C] bed.

[C] Well I love my Ma and I [F] love my Pa, I love [C] Granny and Grandpa, [G7] too.

I’ve been [C] fishin’ with my Uncle, I [F] wrassled with my cousin,

[G7] I even kissed Aunt [C] Lou (stop)  EW!

But [C] if I ever [F] had to make a choice, I [C] guess it ought to be [G7] said,

that I’d [C] trade them all, plus the [F] gal down the road for [G7] Grandma’s feather [C] bed!

[C] It was nine feet high and six feet wide and [F] soft as a downy [C] chick.

[C] It was made from the feathers of forty leaven geese,

and took a [D7] whole bolt of cloth for the [G7] tick.

It could [C] hold 8 kids, 4 hound dogs and a [F] piggy we stole from the [C] shed.

We didn’t get much sleep but we [F] had a lot of fun on [G7] Grandma’s feather [C] bed – 

We didn’t get much sleep but we [F] had a lot of fun on [G7] Grandma’s feather [C] bed!

C-/ / / /   F-/ / / /      C-/ / G7-/ /     C- 1!   “Hee Haw!”

A Lighter Side of Country

When I was growing up, I thought the fun performers of country music were all on TV’s Hee Haw show. My father played many an 8-track tape of country song hits during our long car trips to Florida and the family cottage up North. Permanently ingrained into my faulty memory are numerous songs by Olivia Newton-John and Kenny Rogers. He also wore out The Eagles Greatest Hits and a multi-artist recording called the Green, Green Grass of Home. That was the limit and extent of my exposure to country music as a child. This explains why I have already posted a song by Buck Owens called Tiger By the Tail, an artist who remains one of my favourites to this day.

Recently, I have discovered a country artist called Billy Currington. None of the songs featured on his Vimeo revealed any serious subjects, but you never know what popularity can influence an artist to produce. The ukulele arrangement on the song below offers a new twist on the G chord, the variations of which need to be played in quick succession. I highly reccommend playing the G, G6 and G7 chords in the following finger positions:

G – (2) second finger on the second fret of the third string, (3) third or ring finger on the second fret of the first string, and baby finger on third fret, second string.

G6 – follows G in the song. Just lift off your baby finger, keep the 2nd and 3rd fingers exactly where they were.

G7 – follows G6! Just add your first finger to the first fret, second string, to form the traditional finger placements for the G7 chord.  We then go back down to G6 and back down to G from that position.

Hopefully, I have made it clear that your 2nd and 3rd fingers remain stationary for all 3 of those chords.

Also, the D7 played here is the Hawaiian D7 (2020), following the Am, so whatever finger you prefer to use to form Am can be left down while you play D7. Just sayin’.

Strum: I like to use a quick D! DuDuDuDu, emphasizing that first D like a hit.

 

I Want You to Love Me Like My Dog – Billy Currington

Intro:  G   G6   G7  G6  G   G6  G7  G6

[G] He never [G6] tells me that he’s [G7] sick of this [G6] house

[Am] He never [D7] says why don’t you [Am] get off that [D7] couch

[D] He don’t cost me [D7] nothing when he [D] wants to go out

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog! [G6] [G7] [G6]

[G] He never [G6] says I need a [G7] new atti-[G6]tude

[Am] Him and my [D7] sister ain’t al-[Am] ways in a [D7]feud

[D] When I leave the [D7] seat up he don’t [D] think that it’s [D7] rude

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog does, [G6] Baby

[Am] When I come [D7] home, I want you to [Am] just go [D7] crazy

[Am] He never [D7] looks at me like [D] he might hate me

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog! [G6]  [G7]  [G6]

[G] He never [G6] acts like he don’t [G7] care for my [G6] friends

[Am] He never [D7] asks me where in the [Am] hell have you [D7] been?

[D] He don’t play [D7] dead when I [D] wanna pet him

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog does, [G6] Honey

[Am] He never [D7] says “I wish you [D] made more money”

[D] He always [D7] thinks that “pull my [D]finger” is [D7] funny

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog! [G6]  [G7]  [G6]

[Bm] He don’t get mad at me and [Em] throw a major fit

[A] When I says his sister is,  a [D] bi – i-i -i -i –iitch….

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog does, [G6] Baby

[Am] When I come [D7] home, I want you to [Am] just go [D7] crazy

[Am] He never [D7] looks at me like [D] he might hate me

[D] I want you to [D7] love me like my [G] dog! [G6]  [G7]  [G6]

[G] I want you to [G6] love me like my [G7] dog does, [G6] Baby

[G] [G6]  [G7]  [G6]  [G]-1/

Words I Couldn’t Say

When Rascal Flatts took the country music scene by storm they had no idea that any of their songs would eventually be used on soundtracks of Hollywood movies, let alone be a featured performance song in one! That is exactly what happened to one of their hits, Words I Couldn’t Say, which was performed by Leighton Meester in the 2010 movie, Country Strong. It translates really well to a tenor ukulele, or a concert strung with a low G string.

WORDS I COULDN’T SAY – Written by Rascal Flatts © 2006

Leighton Meester version, as heard in the movie Country Strong, 2010.

Suggested strum pattern:  DuDu uDu – quickly

Intro:  C – G – Am – G

[C]  In a [G] book in a box in the [Am] closet, [G]

[C]  In a [G] line in a song I [Am] once heard,  [G]

In a [Dm] moment on a [C] front porch late one [G] June,

In a [Dm] breath inside a [C]whisper beneath the [G]moon,

[C] There it [G] was on the tip of [Am] fingers, [G]

[C] There it [G] was on the tip of [Am] my tongue, [G]

There you [Dm] were and I have [C] never been that [G] far,

There it [Dm] was, the whole world [C] wrapped inside my [Bb] arms,

And I let it all [F] slip a-[G]way!

CHORUS

[C] What do I do now [Bb] that you’re gone?

No [F] backup plan, no [Am] second chance,

and [Dm] no one else to [G7] blame.

[C] All I can hear in the [Bb] silence that re-[F/Dm]-mains

Are the [G] words I couldn’t say [C – G – Am – G]

– 

[C] There’s a [G] rain that will never stop [Am] fallin’, [G]

[C] There’s a [G] wall that I tried to [Am] take down. [G]

What I [Dm] should have said just [C] wouldn’t pass my [G] lips,

So [Dm] I held back, and [C] now we’ve come to [Bb] this….

And it’s [F] too late [G] now!

CHORUS

– 

BRIDGE: (slower, quieter)

Should have [Dm] found a way to [C] tell you how I [G] felt.

Now the [Dm] only one I’m [C] telling is my-[G]self….

CHORUS

[C] What do I [Bb] do? What do I [F] say?

No [F] backup plan, no [Am] second chance,

and [Dm] no one else to [G7] blame.

[C] All I can hear in the [Bb] silence that re-[F/Dm]-mains

Are the [G] words I couldn’t say [C]

What do I [Bb] do? What do I [F] say? 

[Dm] no one else to [G7] blame.

[C] All I can hear in the [Bb] silence that re-[F/Dm]-mains

Are the [G] words I couldn’t say [C – G – Am – G]  [C (harp strum)]

This video clip from the movie is in the same key as above:

I’ve Got A Tiger By the Tail

Yes! It’s plain to see! According to Play Ukulele By Ear master Jim D’Ville, Buck Owens was a pioneering genious in the music industry. Jim D’Ville told us at his seminar that until Buck Owens starting creating songs with pauses in them (skipping a beat or beats in the middle of a lyrical stanza or measure) the technique was unheard of. He was the first to do it, and now it’s widely used in many songs. So just remember to pause before you sing “meek as a lamb”, “bright lights are found”, etc.

I’VE GOT A TIGER BY THE TAIL – Buck Owens & His Buckaroos

Written by Buck Owens, Harlan Howard, 1965

[D]//// [D7]//// [G]//// [G]//// [A7]//// [D]//// [A7]/  (D! DuDuDu)

– 

tacet

I’ve got a [D]tiger by the [D7] tail, it’s plain to [G]see

I [A7]won’t be much when you get through with [D]me   [A7]

Well I’m a-[D] losing weight and I’m [D7] turning mighty [G]pale

[A7]Looks like I’ve got a tiger by the [D]tail [A7]

Well I [D]thought the day I [D7]met you, you were [G]      meek as a lamb

[A7]Just the kind to fit my dreams and [D]plans [A7] But

[D] now the pace we’re [D7] living takes the [G]      wind from my sails

And it [A7]looks like I’ve got a tiger by the [D]tail [A7]/stop

tacet

I’ve got a [D]tiger by the [D7] tail, it’s plain to [G]see

I [A7]won’t be much when you get through with [D]me   [A7]

Well I’m a-[D] losing weight and I’m [D7] turning mighty [G]pale [G]

[A7]Looks like I’ve got a tiger by the [D]tail [A7]

Well [D] every night you [D7] drag me where the [G]        bright lights are found

[A7] There ain’t no │ way to slow you [D] down [A7]

[D] I’m about as [D7] helpless as a [G]       leaf in a gale

And it [A7] looks like I’ve got a tiger by the [D] tail [A7]/ stop

tacet

I’ve got a [D]tiger by the [D7] tail, it’s plain to [G]see

I [A7]won’t be much when you get through with [D]me   [A7]

Well I’m a [D]losing weight and I’m [D7]turning mighty [G]pale

[A7]Looks like I’ve got a tiger by the [D]tail [D]

[A7]Looks like I’ve got a tiger by the [D]tail [G] [A7] [D-A-D]

Here is a great TV video clip of Buck Owens & His Buckaroos from back in the day:

If I Die Young, the Band Perry

I guess I’m just in a Country music mood tonight! Here is the 2012 hit, If I Die Young, by the Band Perry. If you’re good at holding your notes you’ll be able to play this song fairly quickly. The instrumental TAB part on the second and third pages was written on a soprano uke that does not have a low G string on it. The tab part sounds best if you play the song with a partner, so they are softly strumming the complimentary chords while you pick the tablature. I wrote it in G because that key happened to be best for my singing voice (alto/semi-soprano).

If I Die Young G

My Heart’s On Fire, For ELVIRA

Here’s a fun ditty that takes me back to childhood memories of the television show, “Hee Haw”. I believe this was a hit song by the Oakridge Boys, whose specialty was 5-part harmony. (Sounds awesome in a group.)

ELVIRA!!

Words and music by Dallas Frazier, © 1965 by ATV Music, Nashville, TN.

(First note = Open E string)

[C] El- vira, El-vira, my heart’s on [G7] fire for El-[C]vira!

[C] Eyes that look like heaven. Lips like cherry wine.

That girl can sho’ nuff make my little light [G7] shine.

[C] I get a funny feeling, [F7] up and down my spine,

[C] ‘cause I know that [G7] my Elvira’s [C] mine. [G7](single strum) – N.C.

CHORUS

I’m singin’ El-[C]vira, El-vira, my heart’s on [G7] fire for El-[C]vira!

[C] Giddy up, a-oom papa, oom papa, mow mow,

Giddy up, a-oom papa, oom papa, mow mow – High, Ho [G7] Silver, A-[C]way!

[C] To-night I’m gonna meet her, at the Hungry House Café ,

And I’m gonna give her all the love I [G7] can!

[C] She’s gonna jump and holler, ‘cause I [F7] saved my last two dollar,

C G7 C G7(single strum) – N.C.

and [C] we’re gonna search and [G7] find that preacher [C] man!

[G7](single strum) – N.C.

CHORUS

CHORUS AGAIN WITH “GIDDY UP…” DONE ACCAPELLA

TAG [C] “High, Ho [G7] Silver, A-[C]way!”

 

Let Me Be There

Let Me Be There was written by John Rostill and was first recorded by Olivia Newton-John in 1973 on her album of the same name. She was already established in the country music setting, but with the release of the 1978 movie Grease, her recorded music exploded into popularity and resurfaced to set record hits. While Let Me Be There occupied the US hits chart for a few weeks in 1973, it was a popular hit in the Top 20 for five years after the release of Grease. Once again, this is one of my favorite songs from my middle school years, 1977-78-79.

LET ME BE THERE – OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

Wherever you [C]go, [C7]wherever you may [F]wander in your [C]life.

Surely you know, I always wanna [G7]be there

Holding your [C]hand, [C7]and standing by to [F]catch you, when you [C]fall

Seeing you through – – [G7]in everything you [C]do.

CHORUS

Let me [C]be there in your [C7]morning,

Let me [F]be there in your night,

Let me [C]change whatever’s wrong,

And make it [Dm]right. (make it [G7]right)

Let me [C]take you through that [C7]wonderland

that [F]only two can share,

All I [C]ask you-oo-oo[G7]OO……. is let me be [C]there.

Watching you [C]grow, [C7] and going through the [F]changes in your [C]life

That’s how I [C]know, I always wanna [G7]be there

Whenever you [C]feel, [C7] you need a friend to [F]lean on, here I [C]am

Whenever you call – – [G7]you know I’ll be [C]there.

CHORUS

Let me [C]be there in your [C7]morning,

Let me [F]be there in your night,

Let me [C]change whatever’s wrong,

And make it [Dm]right. (make it [G7]right)

Let me [C]take you through that [C7]wonderland

that [F]only two can share,

All I [C]ask you-oo-oo[G7]OO……. is let me be [C]there.

 –

KEY CHANGE: D

Let me [D]be there in your [D7]morning,

Let me [G]be there in your night,

Let me [D]change whatever’s wrong,

And make it [Em]right. (make it [A7]right)

Let me [D]take you through that [D7]wonderland

that [G]only two can share,

All I [D]ask you-oo-oo[A7]OO……. is let me be [D]there [G]

All I [D]ask you-oo-oo[A7]OO……. is let me be [D]there.

It’s A Heartache

This is a song from the “soft country rock” genre song of the 70’s, written by Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe. Bonnie Tyler recorded it in 1977 and it was a top chart hit that year in the UK and in Canada. For me, this song will forever be associated with the early pangs of love in the middle school years just before starting high school.

It’s a Heartache – Bonnie Tyler

It’s a [C] heartache, nothing but a [Em] heartache

Hits you when it’s [F] too late

Hits you when you’re [C] down [G]

It’s a [C] fool’s game, nothing but a [Em] fool’s game

Standing in the [F] cold rain

Feeling like a [C] clown [G]

It’s a [C] heartache, nothing but a [Em] heartache

Love him till your [F] arms break

Then he lets you [C] down [G]

It ain’t [F] right with love to [G] share

When you [Em] find he doesn’t [Am] care for [G] you

It ain’t [F] wise to need some[G]one

As much as [Em] I depended [Am] on [G] you

It’s a [C] heartache, nothing but a [Em] heartache

Hits you when it’s [F] too late

Hits you when you’re [C] down [G]

It’s a [C] fool’s game, nothing but a [Em] fool’s game

Standing in the [F] cold rain

Feeling like a [C] clown [G]

It’s a [C] heartache, nothing but a [Em] heartache

Love him till your [F] arms break

Then he lets you [C] down [G]

It ain’t [F] right with love to [G] share

When you [Em] find he doesn’t [Am] care for [G] you

It ain’t [F] wise to need some[G]one

As much as [Em] I depended [Am] on [G] you

Oh, it’s a [C] heartache, nothing but a [Em] heartache

Love him till your [F] arms break

Then he lets you [C] down [G]

It’s a [C] fool’s game, nothing but a [Em] fool’s game

Standing in the [F] cold rain

Feeling like a [C] clown [G]

It’s a [C] heartache