Hallelujah

Yes, another 80’s song! High five!

Hallelujah was written by Leonard Cohen in 1980. A very famous and popular version was recorded on guitar in 1994 by Jeff Buckley.

A version by Rufus Wainright was used in the 2001 film Shrek, featuring (another Canadian) Mike Meyers. Other famous artists to cover this song include Jon Bon Jovi.

So this arrangement is intended for linear ukulele, which means it sounds better on an ukulele that has the low G string on it.

That’s what I use.

(Actually, I use both.)

Hallelujah linear

The video below is a really good instructional by Brett McQueen over at Ukulele Tricks, explaining how you can do two possible picking patterns, and how it fits together with the chords. I use a lot of his video’s both at his website and on youtube.

Brett’s website: http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-songs/

 

Another Auld Lang Syne

Here is another throw back to the 80’s, by Dan Fogelberg. Some say the lyrics of the song were the inspiration for the “cute meet” scene in the movie, He’s Just Not That Into You. That’s a rumour, so don’t quote me on it.

The song “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg is called a “cyclical song”, where the writer takes you through an event from start to finish. The album it comes off was considered cyclical in nature, called the Innocent Age, in 1981. The song was actually released in late 1980, but the album had not been released yet. There is some internet conjecture that it was not completed yet. Why the song was released ahead of time was not explained, but may have been a marketing ploy by the record company because the Innocent Age wound up going double platinum.

I’ve always loved this song. It starts out with nostalgia, revisiting the past and then ends with the present. The lyrics at the end, “and the snow, turned in.. to… rain……” manage to evoke two emotions at the same time. The beautiful whimsy of fresh falling snow, and the happy awe that it evokes, the positive feelings of snow associated with Christmas, turning into melancholy and sadness with the rain. And how he takes us from one sensation to the other from the beginning of the song to the very last words, from that moment back in time to the reality of now, exposing a deep longing that can never be satisfied, that unresolved ‘what if’ regarding the road not taken. Is genius.

And on top of it all, I managed to arrange the song in the same key! You can pretty much strum along to the song as you listen to it!

Same Old Lang Syne

 

 

 

Let It Snow!!

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Simcoe Christmas Panorama, Saturday, November 28/15

Yep, bring it on already! The Santa Claus Parade was last weekend, Simcoe Christmas Panorama Light-Up was on Saturday, and my daughter and I got the lights and wreathes out on the front porch, too. I even changed the outside light bulb to a green one (although Jeff twisted it off because he says, “it takes away from all the other lights”).

The point is, I’m ready to start praying to the snow gods for just a little white before Christmas. It’s not even December the 1st until tomorrow, but last year at this time we already had snow for about a week.

So in honour of “almost” December, I am kicking the season off with two Christmas songs. One is from our group a couple of years ago, called “It’s Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas”, by Meredith Willson. The Christmas song with the longest title. This was a hit by both Perry Como and Bing Crosby in 1951, but it’s probably the version by Johnny Mathis for his 80’s television special that I think of.  Popular belief behind the writing of the song is that Willson wrote it in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia while staying at the famous Yarmouth Grand Hotel. From there he could see a decorated Christmas tree in Frost Park, located directly across the street from the Grand Hotel.

This is a really fun song with a moderately paced tempo. That being said, there is one spot in there where I recommend players abandon the Bdim chord, which is a four-finger chord, in favour of playing just a G7, which actually is 3/4 of the Bdim chord anyway, and only because you are already forming Gm7 right before you have to fumble your way into the Bdim. Because of the quick tempo. In a group, no one will notice. 🙂

The arrangement is laid out for an optional kazoo solo, and I’m going to give you one huge free piece of advice for success here. For the kazoo solo, it is absolutely imperative to make sure your kazoo is in tune beforehand.

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The second song is “Let It Snow” ~ of course! Composed in July 1945 by Jule Styne, words by Sammy Cahn, in Hollywood, California ~ during a heat wave! This is also the holiday tune most associated with Dean Martin, who recorded it in 1959. Bing Crosby also recorded this tune on his famous 1962 album, I Wish You a Merry Christmas. The original recording by Vaughn Monroe plays at the end of the 1988 movie Die Hard.

This is my own arrangement with a nice tagged ending. I don’t play the song twice through because it’s one of these pseudo-ballads that almost tells a story. I like it in C because it suits my vocal range the best. Not perfect, but close. Also, surprisingly easy to memorize, however when performing for a crowd, keep in mind that most people only know one line: let it snow, let it now, let it snow!

Let it Snow

 

My Online Favourites

Summer Wind2

And now, here are a few of my personal online favourites.

I like them just the way they are – ha ha ha!

Have You Ever Seen the Rain: http://www.scorpexuke.com/song-display.html?song=Have_You_Ever_Seen_The_Rain&id=193

This is a great one. You play Csus4 with just one strum, trust me it will sound the way you remember it. After becoming accustomed to playing that one plus the Gsus4 you might find yourself throwing it into other songs as they come up. Also, this is a great campfire song.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love: http://www.scorpexuke.com/song-display.html?song=Crazy_Little_Thing_Called_Love&id=106

Great arrangement. It has a little mini tablature right in the middle of it, for notes to pick on just the A-string and the E-string for the guitar lick part of the song. After you practice it a while to get it down pat, you will find you can throw it in there with perfect timing while performing. A little bit of a challenge there, but manageable and adds to your growing skills set. 🙂

The Summer Wind: http://www.doctoruke.com/summerwind.pdf

This is one of my weepy favourites:  we can only play this one at certain times and not around certain people, ie. not during break-up recovery. At first glance, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of chords but that is just the Dr. Uke style. The lyrics with just the chord letters will be on page two. Advice on the chords: not necessary to play the full F7 chord, just play it as 2310, and on the last line, I like to morph the last 2 C7’s into something I don’t know the name of – but sounds better – which is to bar the first fret and press the first string in the third fret (C note). Or 1113, then add that as well after the final F6 with an F chord as well for finalé. It’s a great little jazz arrangement, you could go on and on with it because it has lots of potential, and the chords are easy – who doesn’t like Am7? LOL

These already published online songs won’t be included in my next songbook, which is generally a reflection of my own arrangements and personal taste with regard to wording, strumming, timing, morphed chords, intro’s, outro’s and sentiment.

Finé

3 Love Songs

February is the month of love, and I was remiss in not posting a song or two in honour of St. Valentine’s Day.

So I am making up for that by posting some songs that I enjoy playing, Kaempfert’s L-O-V-E and Hey, Baby by Bruce Channel. And the other one is You Send Me, the debut single by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke.

Hey, Baby was written by Margaret Cobb and Bruce Channel and was recorded by Bruce Channel in 1961. The song features a prominent riff from well-known harmonica player Delbert McClinton and was a #1 hit in 1962. Hey, Baby actually enjoyed a massive re-popularization when it was used in the movie Dirty Dancing in 1987. The movie’s soundtrack album became a huge commercial success. Wikipedia says it sold 32 million copies world-wide and is considered one of the best-selling albums of all time. In 2000, Austrian artist “DJ Ötzi” recorded a cover version for dance clubs. In 2002 it became the unofficial theme song for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His version reached number 1 in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Japan.

Here is the song: HEY BABY

Classic Bruce Channel recording of the song:

DJ Otzi dance version:

Bert Kaempfert was a German orchestra leader and songwriter. He made easy-listening and jazz records and composed the music for a number of well-known songs. Many of his tunes became huge successes for famous recording artists. Wooden Heart, sung by Elvis Presley in the film G.I. Blues was a hit in 1961. Strangers in the Night became a huge hit for Frank Sinatra in 1966. Danke Schoen, with words added by Milt Gabler, became Wayne Newton’s signature song. Milt Gabler also wrote the lyrics for L-O-V-E in 1964 which became a hit song for Nat King Cole in 1965.

Here is the song: L.O.V.E

L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole:

You Send Me was Sam Cooke’s debut single released in 1957 as the B-side recording of Summertime. It was a massive commercial success, becoming a number one hit on both the Rhythm and Blues and Pop song charts. This was one of the first songs outside the realm of Gospel recordings for Cooke. Although the intended A-side was Summertime, radio disc jockeys preferred You Send Me. Over the years, it has become the landmark song of the “soul genre” which Cooke helped create.

Here is the song: You Send Me You can add the extra singing bits he does, ie. “I know, I know, I know, I know” etc. at the end, and he sings “you send me” about 4 times over at the end. Basically, if you aim for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes length of time you will have the song covered.  🙂

You Send Me video of Sam Cooke:

My Nod to St. Patrick’s Day

 Well, Aloha to Saint Paddy, he sure was a brute of a legendary figure, wasn’t he?

During the day the ukulele group played at the Grace United Church for their Irish Stew Supper fundraiser, I heard a couple of stories about St. Patrick. One was that he was enslaved by the Irish nation, and that upon his freedom having become a Christian missionary, he actually returned to the country of his abuse as a Bishop. Til his dying day, I hear.

Extra, extra, read all about it, here: Saint Patrick

In the meantime, we had a couple of places that we played out for St. Patrick’s Day and for one place we needed some extra songs so I sent this one out to the group. Canadian Irish Folk Group, The Irish Rovers, were formed in 1963 and named after the popular Irish song, The Irish Rover. They are best known for their international tv series, popularizing Irish music in North America, The Unicorn Song (written by Shel Silverstein) and Wasn’t That a Party. All of the band members are from Ireland, half of whom now live in Canada. The Irish Rovers have represented Canada at five World Expos.

In 1980 the group re-named themselves “The Rovers” and found success with the chart-topping song, Wasn’t That a Party. But by 1989 they had reverted back to their famous original name, The Irish Rovers. As a high-school student, nothing was cooler than this song, except for maybe I Wear My Sunglasses at Night…..

WASN’T THAT A PARTY

CHORUS:

[C] Could’ve been the whiskey, might’ve been the gin.

Could’ve been the three or four six-packs, I don’t know

But [C7] look at the mess I’m in: my head is like a [F] football,

I think I’m gonna [C] die! Tell me, [G] me oh, me oh my! [STOP]

Wasn’t that a [C] party?

.

[C] Someone took a grapefruit, wore it like a hat.

I saw someone under my kitchen table

[C7] Talking to my old tom cat – they were talking ‘bout [F] hockey –

The cat was talking [C] back!!!

Long about [G] then every-thing went black! [STOP]         

Wasn’t that a [C] party?

CHORUS

BRIDGE:           

[C] I’m sure it’s just my [F] memory

Playing tricks on [C] me

But I [D] think I saw my buddy

Cutting [G] down my neighbour’s tree! [STOP]

CHORUS

2nd BRIDGE:

Billy Joe and [F] Tommy

Well they went a little [C] far

They were [D] sitting in the back yard, blowing on a sireen

From [G] somebody’s police car

So you see, Your [C] Honour, it was all in fun

That little bittie drag meet down on Main Street

Was just to [C7] see if the cops could run

So they run us in to [F] see you, in an alcoholic [C] haze

I sure can [G] use those thirty days [STOP]        To re-cover from the [C] party!

CHORUS

ENDING:  Wasn’t that a party? Wasn’t that a [C(4)] party?    F(4)   G7(4)   C(1)

I Want You To Want Me

This late 70’s hit song was a big standard with me, charting at #2 in Canada in late 1978 but remaining popular well into the 80’s. Actually, I was surprised to learn that it was not an 80’s tune! The only version I have ever heard in my life is the one from Cheap Trick at Budokan. According to Wikipedia, the live version has a heavier beat and faster tempo, and also features 2 guitar solos instead of piano. It makes sense then, to play this song on a guitar, but even MORE sense to jam it out on ukulele!

I Want You to Want Me

THE VIDEO:

Before you watch this, I have to declare that I love everything about the video!! Where do I start? The drummer with the sunglasses on, playing so casually with a cigarette hanging out of his lips? The camera even features his white patent leather shoes. WOW  The bass player with the black and white checkered pants, hopping around stage like he is back in time at a 50’s sock hop, big red cardigan hanging off him with white musical letters on it. WOW And, saving the best for last, the GORGEOUS LEAD SINGER: blonde hair, dimple in chin – Yes, please!!

Just reading further, that the popularity of this band and this song solidified in the 80’s, largely due to the recording of their live performance at Budokan temple in Japan, where I Want You To Want Me was most popular at the time. However, as the band “evolved” shall we say, into the 80’s pop and heavy metal music culture, they transformed into an iconic 80’s band. Their slick white outfits and fitted button-up shirts gave way to all-black outfits with the iconic leather pants, leather boots, the chains and heavy jewellry, shaggy hair and ripped t-shirts, etc. Robin Zander, lead singer, also took to hollering out,  “I want YOU… to want ME!!!” before even one note of the song was played.

You can also check out more recent video’s of the band playing this song and some of their other hits – Ain’t That A Shame, Don’t Be Cruel, The Flame – on Youtube, some as current as 2013. The band is still rockin’ it out, and yes, Rick Neilson is still bopping around stage in his iconic cardies and blazers!

Summer of ’69

Bryan AdamsMy favourite summer song, ha ha ha, from high school years, 1984 my graduating year to be exact. Warm fuzzy feelings and all that, and a hit by a Canadian performer no less, making it all the more special to us. Of course, many players like to substitute the words “four-string” for the lyrics “six-string” when playing this on the ukulele. Bryan Adams classic.

Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams

Intro C C G G C C G G*

*Substitute G7 for G if preferred.

[C] I got my first real six string – [G] bought it at the five & dime.

[C] Played it ‘til my fingers bled – [G] was the summer of ’69.

[C] Me and some guys from school, [G] had a band and we tried real hard.

[C] Jimmy quit and Jody got married – [G] shoulda known, we’d never get far.

Chorus:

[Dm] Ohhhh, when I [G7] look back now –[C] that summer seemed to

[F] last for ever.

[Dm] And if I [G7] had the choice –[C] yeah, I’d always [F] wanna be there.

[Dm] Those were the [G7] best days of my [C] life.

Oh, [G7] Yeah!

[C] Ain’t no use complaining, [G] when ya got a job to do.

[C] Spent my evenings down at the drive-in, [G] and that’s when I met you – Yeah!

Chorus:

[Dm] Standing on your [G7] mama’s porch, [C] you told me that you’d [F] wait forever.

[Dm] And when I [G7] held your hand, [C] I knew that it was [F] now or never.

[Dm] Those were the [G7] best days of my [C] life.

Back in the summer of [G7] ’69!

Bridge:

[F] Man, we were [C] killin’ time – we were [Bb] young and reckless,

we [G] needed to un-[F] wind!

I guess [Bb] nothing can last [C] forever – Forever! OH!

[C] And now the times are changin’, [G] look at everything that’s come and gone.

[C] Sometimes when I play my old six string, [G] I think about you wonder what went

wrong.

Chorus:

[Dm] Standing on your [G7] mama’s porch, [C] you told me it would [F] last forever.

[Dm] And when I [G7] held your hand, [C] I knew that it was [F]now or never.

[Dm] Those were the [G7] best days of my [C] life.

Back in the summer of [G] ’69!

Oh, [C] whoa. Back in the summer of [G] ’69!

Oh, [C] yeah. Back in the summer of [G] ’69!     Oh, [C] yeah…..