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

 

Oh Canada

Image result for Canada

Today, I start a new category: Canadian.

I hope to fill it with some songs from Stompin’ Tom Connors, Anne Murray, Glen Campbell, Wade Hemsworth and others. Even though a lot of the songs that I was exposed to growing up were kind of folks songsy, there are a lot of great Canadian artists out there who rendered some iconic, unforgettable music. While a ukulele in no way can mimic the full sound of a band and a mixing studio, I think a good acoustic representation can be achieved in one way or another. Besides, when we are all out camping and jamming around the campfire at night, no one notices because everyone is too busy singing along.

Related imageFirst up, I have the national anthem of our country, O Canada! The words and melody can be found quite easily by just Googling it, and we have both a bilingual and an English version. Since I was not raised with the bilingual version I am posting here today just the English version.

Back in the fall a Canadian band, known for their liberal use of different types of ukulele’s, was invited to sing our national anthem for game 2 of the World Cup of Hockey final between Canada and Team Europe. Walk Off the Earth was then criticized in the media for singing “one line wrong”. They sang “in all of us command” where lyrics are known to be “in all thy Sons command.” Their Twitter response was to tell the “haters” to educate themselves and become politically aware of the fact that in May 2016, Liberal MP Mauril Belanger successfully passed a private members bill in Canadian Parliament to officially change two words in the National Anthem: “Thy Sons” to “Of Us”. Yes, it happened.

So I thought this would be a great song to start off with, and I included the Youtube video of Walk Off the Earth’s performance which, as a fan of that band, I feel was a great rendition. Loved it.

o-canada

Welcome to 2017

Image result for welcome 2017

Hello 2017! I am really looking forward to everything this year may bring, particularly to us uke players, ha ha.

First I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of my loyal Followers and viewers who enjoyed my blog. I want you all to know how much I really appreciated your viewing, comments and E-mails. I have enjoyed all of the interaction and have strived to make improvements to both my arrangements and my website.

Image result for White Point beach resort

This year is an odd-numbered year, which is a great thing BECAUSE the Liverpool Ukulele Ceilidh will be on in October and, if tradition holds, may be held on the grounds of the popular White Point Beach Resort again. But you never know, so don’t hold your breath! As soon as I have the dates and the online workshop registration is open I will post again on my website to let everyone know. Can’t wait!

Image result for south florida ukulele festThe other thing this year will be fantastic for is the South Florida Ukulele Fest will NOT be held during the March – Hallelujah! Would have absolutely LOVED to have attended last year, I researched hotels and flights and everything, but alas, absolutely NO hotels available in the area and the flights proved to be outrageous: $1000 per person – that ain’t even direct flights!

In 2015 they had scheduled it for the weekend after March break, and I could not plan to attend because of something I had previously scheduled. This year it is set for April 7, 8 and 9 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Link provided below:

http://www.southfloridaukulelefest.com/index.html

Image result for Canada 150 years

I will be working on more songs to add to the 16 that I did last year, but also of interest to me as a CANADIAN is the fact that Canada will be celebrating 150 years as an independent nation, so I planned on developing 10 more songs that are considered to be Canadian either in nature, subject or creation. Will keep everyone posted!

 

The Log Driver’s Waltz in A

Image result for Log Driver's Waltz CanadianMy hat is off to the Bytown Ukulele Group, aka BUG, for their arrangement of The Log Driver’s Waltz, which was the subject of yesterday’s posting. But I really had a hard time singing it in the Key of C. The verses are not a problem: the chorus is quite high.

While listening to the NFB of Canada video and reading the words on the print-out, I realized two things. First, each verse goes directly into the chorus without pausing, and secondly there are quite a few measures after each chorus.

I decided to transpose the BUG arrangement down to the Key of A. This was quite easy to do because I already have MS Word on my computer, and BUG provided a copy for downloading in both PDF and Word formats. If you download and open the Word format you can click on “Enable Editing” and then delete and insert to your heart’s content. I really like it when I don’t have to type out the words to a song beforehand when I decide to transpose to a different key from another source.

The Key of A enables me to sing the chorus without going into what I like to call falsetto mode. Or  opera-singer mode. I also changed the arrangement a bit, providing some chord sequences following each Chorus which you can play through once, or twice. Twice sounds better.

Another arrangement I added is underlining the few words in some of the stanza’s that are quarter notes, or to be sung quickly together. For example, “If you should” are quarter notes, sung quickly together, while the rest of the lyric line is sung in regular length. Bolded words are held. You will see a couple of tiny upwards arrows, just ignore those as far as strumming is concerned. I put those in there to remind myself to sing up instead of down. 😉

The Log Driver’s Waltz in the Key of A:  the-log-drivers-waltz-a

 

The Most Canadian Song of All Time

Image result for The Log Driver's Waltz

Yes! Onliners have declared it: The Log Driver’s Waltz is the most Canadian song of all time (excluding Oh, Canada)!  The Log Driver’s Waltz is a Canadian folk song written by Canadian song-writer Wade Hemsworth (1916-2002). It celebrates the practice of log driving down the rivers in the lumbering industry, whereby the men’s movements resemble intricate dance steps.

The word in the chorus is often mis-heard as whirling or twirling, when it is actually, “For he goes birling down, a-down white water…”.  “Birl” is an old Scots verb meaning “to revolve or cause to revolve”, and in modern English means “to cause a floating log to rotate by treading”. Today, birling survives as a competitive sport. (Source: Wikipedia)

As an enduring classic of Canadian music the most famous version is probably by Kate and Anna McGarrigle and the Mountain City Four, which was used as the soundtrack for the 1979 animated short film by the National Film Board of Canada, as part of their Canada Vignettes program.

Another very famous version is by Alberta-based band Captain Tractor, a popular “rock Celtic” hit in the late 1990’s.

Those of you who are not familiar with the melody, and would like a sample of sheet music to help you learn the melody or play it out on a piano or other instrument, try this:

I do not have Word or even a pdf reader such as Adobe on the computer I am currently composing this posting on, yet this document opened up easily for me and printed with no problems at all. I got it from this website posting: http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiLOGDRIVR;ttLOGDRIVR.html

Image result for Wade HemsworthHemsworth made two recordings. His first LP, Folk Songs of the Canadian North Woods (1955, Folk FP 821), includes his ‘The Black Fly Song’ and ‘The Shining Birch Tree.’ He recorded one CD, The Songs of Wade Hemsworth, (Blackfly Music) in 1995.

For more information regarding Wade Hemsworth try searching his full name at the Canadian Encyclopedia dot com. I have not been able to determine what year he composed this song in, nor when he recorded it. So if anyone reading this happens to discover this information I would be really grateful if you could let me know in the comments. Thank you.

Image result for Wade Hemsworth

Here is the ukulele version of lyrics and chords from the Bytown Ukulele Group, the BUG’s:

4_the-log-drivers-waltz-pdf

 

 

 

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!!

Whiskey in the Jar, Oh!

Image result for Whiskey in the JarThis month I am starting off with a famous classic re-make, Whiskey in the Jar, recorded by the heavy metal band Metallica in 2004.

This was a standard radio song for at least four years, joined by the re-make rendition of Turn the Page, and the semi-romantic hits Nothing Else Matters and Unforgiven. Great band, great voices and wonderful subject material. Even though they were definitely in the ‘heavy metal’ category, they still embodied everything that is fun about Rock ‘n’ Roll.

A few years ago Jeff and I performed this song at a “Spooky Ukey” Hallowe’en theme song night, and dressed up as the characters. Jeff’s singing voice is similar to Rod Stewart/Dr. Hook and he really pulled it off – as well as anyone singing this song to an acoustic ukulele can….

I hope you enjoy our rendition of Whiskey in the Jar as much as we did!

Whiskey in the Jar Image result for Whiskey in the Jar

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.