Summer Heat

Image result for desert with snow

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

 

 

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I Love a Rainy Night

Image result for rainy night

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

 

Say That You Love Me

Image result for christine mcvie 70s1976. Rural Ontario. Summer heat wave.  Radio blarin’ on the picnic blanket in the shade of the back yard. First crush, first kiss, holdin’ hands with that special someone. These are the memories evoked when I hear the iconic Fleetwood Mac song, Say You Love Me, performed by Christine McVie. Love it!

Say That You Love Me G 2

So here is a good video of the band performing this song in 1977.

Good Camp Fire Song

Recently we went camping with my 17-year old daughter, my 16-year old daughter and her two girl friends. And Jeff. And a Whippoorwill that sang us to sleep each night.

Around the campfire songs ranged from My Bolognie Has A First Name to All About that Bass. It’s amazing how the consumption of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers can influence your music playing!

[C] “My bologna has a first name, it’s [F] O-S-C-A-R.

My [G7] bologna has a second name, it’s [C] M-A-Y-E-R.

[C] Oh, I love to eat it every day, and [F] if you ask me why I’ll saaaaaaaay:

Cause Oscar Mayer [C] has a way with [G7] B-O-L-O-[C] G-N-A!”

One of my first camping experiences occurred at a young age with my Girl Guides group. They had their own sing-along book called the Girl Guides of Canada Song Book. Made in the 50’s or 60’s probably. This is where I was able to get the lyrics of the Canadian version of This Land is My Land.

I don’t know if this song is in that publication but here is I Love the Mountains. You may recall this song from a Discovery Channel commercial. Those lyrics are included.

I Love The Mountains

P.S. I recently learned that Whippoorwills are small, nocturnal woodland birds!!

Songs From Our Uke Group

Sometimes inspiration comes from others, as well as within. And when that happens, it makes playing music that much more enjoyable.

I have been putting together songs with and for members of our newly formed uke group, T’UkeS – Tillsonburg Uke Society. Some of them have been out there performing for the nursing home called Maple Manor, using their keyboard and guitar, and since joining our group and learning how to play their ukulele’s have  been asking us to transpose some of their repetoire songs and some of our teaching songs. It’s been lots of fun and I’m sharing the arrangements with everyone below.

One of our teaching songs is On the Wings of a Dove in C, which we transposed to the Key of G which some members found easier to sing.

On the Wings of a Dove

On the Wings of a Dove G

Another teaching song was I’ll Fly Away in the Key of D, used to teach the chords used in the Key of D. They liked to sing it better in the Key of C, so here are both versions:

I’ll Fly Away in D

I’ll Fly Away in C

Another song is Could I Have This Dance by Anne Murray, which we have on good ‘intel’ is a popular country jam song:

Could I Have This Dance

We also used Tiny Bubbles as a teaching song, and that went over really well.

Tiny Bubbles C G7

And this is a more sophistocated, or performance style version of Tiny Bubbles:

Tiny Bubbles C Performance

There are a couple more that are Irish tunes, but they aren’t on my computer so I can’t upload them. However, in the foreseeable future once I get some time to type them in and add chord boxes I will add another ukulele group post. For now I hope those of you who play in groups, are looking for group songs or nursing home/performance songs enjoy these few.

A Good Pie Auction

Two or three years ago my friend Cheryl approached me to play some ukulele tunes in Norwich for her church’s pie auction fundraiser – stop already, you had me at “pie auction”!!

And it was really fun. The spokesman would announce an entertainer – who was allowed no more than 10 minutes – immediately followed by auctioning of baked goods by the pastor.

Of course, Cheryl’s husband Bill was always trying to get something for “two bits!” Cheryl said that as the years went by the talent show part of the fundraiser kept growing so that the time of the event kept moving back. So the first time I attended with her I think it started at 4 p.m. and I think it went on til 9 p.m. at night and the place was packed.

The songs we did that year were Ghost Chickens, which I made available in my first Song book, and Side by Side. This year our “hit” was Ukulele Lady as performed by Cheryl’s brother doing the hula in a grass skirt, wig and coconut bra. Who doesn’t want a pie after seeing that??!!!!

Here is Side By Side, from the online ukulele songbook Hits of the Blitz, available from the Worthington Uke Jam website:

http://www.wukulele.com

under the Songbooks tab. They have many songbooks available to download.

Cat’s favourite “Ukulele Lady” version:

Cheryl’s favourite version:

This “Ukulele Lady” version for soprano ukulele we doctor’d to suit ourselves for performing at the Pie Auction. In the first verse you’ll see a C-G7 above “a-long”, which is a slide off C up to the G7 and you sing it by going up with your voice from C up to G for the word “long”. In the chorus, the triangle symbol before the words “Maybe” means a pause, so you strum the new chord first and then start singing.

UKULELE LADY PERFORMANCE

 

On and On

Being a child of the 70’s I love this song along with most of the easy listening genre that was prevalent during that time. Some of the artists known for this genre are Lionel Ritchie, Phil Collins, Art Garfunkel, Anne Murray, Eric Clapton, Steve Miller Band, the Eagles, ABBA, Neil Young, Gloria Gaynor, Paul McCartney (Maybe I’m Amazed), Marvin Gaye, Crystal Gayle, Juice Newton, The Carpenters, David Bowey (Space Oddity) and even singles by John Lennon such as Imagine.

One of my favourite songs in the 70’s was “On and On” by Stephen Bishop.

One of the main things Stephen Bishop did to survive as a musician was songwriting. You would be surprised at how many very famous recording artists signed on to recording labels for just that reason and churned out hundreds if not thousands of hit-maker songs for other artists (ie., Willie Nelson).

So Stephen Bishop was in this same boat, and after about 8 years didn’t Art Garfunkel come along and select two of Bishop’s songs off a demo tape to record for his platinum record Breakaway. They were “Looking for the Right One” and “The Same Old Tears on a New Background.”  Within a year Bishop had his fist album Careless which contained his two biggest hits: “Save it for a Rainy Day” and “On and On.” Other artists who contributed to his album were Eric Clapton, Garfunkel and Chaka Khan. Bishop had one more Top 100 hit on his next album in 1978, but surprisingly he went on to write and perform numerous hit songs for popular movies, including the theme song for the famous Dustin Hoffman movie Tootsie, “It Might Be You”.

Other well-known movies he contributed songs to were “Dream Girl” for Animal House; “Separate Lives” for White Nights, sung by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin; “Your Precious Love” for Roadie; and “Unfaithfully Yours (One Love)” for Unfaithfully Yours. He also produced some songs for Phil Collin’s 1989 album Bowling in Paris, working with Eric Clapton and Sting.

Stephen Bishop – to the right of John Belushi – as the “charming guitar guy” at the toga party scene in the movie Animal House.

In 1978 Stephen Bishop was the musical guest star on the acclaimed television show, Saturday Night Live. He also appeared in a scene in National Lampoon’s Animal House as “Charming Guy with Guitar” where John Belushi smashes the guy’s guitar. Bishop claims to have kept the smashed guitar from that scene as a memento of Belushi. He also appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers as “Charming Trooper” who breaks his watch during the mall chase.

Stephen Bishop’s biggest hit remains “On and On”. I just happened to come upon an arrangement of it in Jim Beloff’s music book, Jumpin’ Jim’s Island Ukulele. It can be found on page 57.

I also want to mention that I own two other Beloff music books, Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Beach Party and Jumpin’ Jim’s Gone Hawaiian. But in this particular book, you get a fantastic information page called “Strum Shack” on page 3 that uses illustrations and symbols to explain specific strum patterns. The first one is “Island Strum”and it is INVALUABLE…… for learning towards performing most of the songs in this book. Jim claims the Island Strum can be used to “spice up” songs like “I Can See Clearly Now” and “Jamaica Farewell”.

These books also give you two pages of chords as well. In Ukulele Island it’s called the “Chord Cabana” on pages 4 and 5 (also invaluable). Just as a last comment, I would like to say that it has been my experience that when you buy a Jim Beloff book you get so much more than you were looking for! I never expected to gain those strum patterns from his book but that is exactly where I first learned to do the Roll Strum. Ukulele Island also has “Margaritaville”, “Beyond the Sea”, “Day-O (the Banana Boat Song)”, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, “Marianne”, “Sway”, “Three Little Birds”, a Jimmy Buffett song called “Volcano” and more (some were Hawaiian or Polynesian and I’m not familiar with them).

So here is my rendition of “On and On” in the Key of C with, of course, my own embellishments. The song rocks back and forth in a 4-beat measure between C and Am, two beats each, so the way I play it is to continue to hold down C and just add Am with my second finger. Beloff’s arrangement uses a suspended G7, but since I never could get my fingers to reach it, I prefer to limit it to G7. Since we are only on it for 2 beats before returning to the C and Am combo I feel that less is more in this instance. We don’t skimp however, on the suspended A7 because it has a leading cadence into the next chord of A7, and this is a really sweet combination. Lastly, at the end of the Bridge, I put in a D7 chord only because I am unfamiliar with playing D9, which is the chord that is called for there, but I am not used to the jazz sound of it. I mention it so you can have the option of replacing the D7 with D9.

My favourite thing about this song is also THE FACT that:  EACH CHORUS IS DIFFERENT!!!!! So wake up out there, lyrics writers! Pay better attention!!! I can not tell you how many online versions of this song have – mistakenly –  only one chorus. Ahem! It goes like this; the first verse is about Lonesome Sue so the corresponding chorus goes, “On and on, she just keeps on trying, and she smiles….,” etc. The second verse is about Poor Ol’ Jimmy (steals the stars from the sky) so the corresponding chorus is ACTUALLY this: “On and on, HE just keeps on trying, and HE smiles when HE feels…..,” etc. The last verse is about…..ME!! So the corresponding chorus goes, “On and on, I just keep on trying, and I smile when I feel like…..” etc. I can see how the confusion got started, since “he” does happen to rhyme with “she”. So when people began to recognize this song on the radio I imagine they sang along at the top of their lungs, effectively drowning out the song itself and never realizing that the three chorus’s differed from each other.

Thank God for Youtube.

ON AND ON

       These books and others by Jim Beloff can be found at his website, Flea Market Music for $14.95 plus shipping and taxes. I have also found them on http://www.amazon.ca for a comparable price.

Aloha!