Sunday, 31 March 2013

The triplet strum - Ken Middleton begins a series of tutorial videos

Ken Middleton has been one of my favourite players since I picked up the uke in earnest about eighteen months ago. This is a very hurried post as it's Easter Sunday - things to do, places to go, people to see... but as Ken has just begun a series of tutorial videos on the triplet strum, I have to share, immediately, because this is exciting. And Ken will be doing a workshop on this very subject at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in Cheltenham in June.... and whoopee, I am on that!

In the meantime, observe a master...

Happy Easter, folks - and thanks for dropping in!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Telstar on uke and glockenspiel - you just gotta watch this!

Maybe you've been around as long as I have, and remember "Telstar" being a monster hit back in the UK and America in 1962. This version, a cover by "We Tigers" captures the same joyous atmosphere as the original - it's just a gas! Dig that funky glockenspiel.....

Just had to share... please enjoy.....

Friday, 29 March 2013

It's Matthew J Richards - Rubinstein's Melody in F

Matthew Richards is one of the nicest chaps you could wish to meet, and one of the most musically gifted. A star and mainstay of the George Formby Society, always there as MD with the band to support the artists as well as to play himself.... he plays wooden uke as well as the banjo-uke and I have posted his youtube videos including tuition vids here before.

His latest offering is an absolute corker - it's his own arrangement of Rubinstein's Melody in F. I popped over to Al Wood's Uke Toob to recommend it, and it was already there.... please watch, be astounded, and then rate it - I reckon you'll give this one five! Then if you're not already a subscriber - my guess is, you soon will be!

Here it is, watch in Uke Toob and click the 5th star to give it five!

He's playing his Mum's vintage Gibson soprano (above!) - I know she doesn't mind, though!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

James Hill - Assam/Like a Bird

I posted ukuleletim, Tim Keogh playing James Hill's Assam/like a Bird earlier today, and now I've found James Hill playing himself, accompanied by Anne Davison on cello and his own foot taps - you have to watch this video, believe me! Of course, it's simply gorgeous! A blend of clawhammer and campanella style - Tim Keough says that James wrote the second part of this medley in tribute to John King. I've posted here before about John King and campanella style uke. Check out the tag-cloud at the foot of the page.... and as for me, I'm delighted to be booked into one of James's workshops at Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in June. I can't wait for that...

And if you want Tim's tab, go to ukulelesecrets blog...

Meanwhile, enjoy James Hill - Assam/Like a Bird

Ukuleletim is back! More clawhammer delights

Tim Keough, ukuleletim is another of my ukulele favourites and I've posted his stuff here before. He plays beautiful campanella -style uke and clawhammer. I'd been thinking that I hadn't seen any new videos for a while, when up popped a couple - this one just today - it's Assam/Like a Bird, a James Hill cover - revisited. Take a look, that real badass clawhammer ukulele tripping along is enough to cheer away any blues and winter grumps this morning! Tim writes that he has tabbed "Like a Bird" and has had James Hill's permission to share it - It's there now on Tim's ukulelesecrets website.

Meanwhile, enjoy.... Assam/Like a Bird, a James Hill cover - revisited

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Kimo Hussey - lesson on triplets

Morning everybody! I still can't embed videos but here is a grand one I have to share. It's the great Kimo Hussey, giving a lesson on triplets. Formby strummers use a "triple", which is a triplet as taught here by Kimo, followed by by a finger-down strum - it comes out as a "diddley-dum" - rather like a train going over the tracks in the old days. Kimo's triple is just the "diddley"... it's a great lesson, and as a youtube video it's free, which is very nice. Where would some of us be without all these great and generous folks who are willing to teach on the internet for free... hats off to them all!

So, as I can't embed it, (Grrrr) here's a link to Kimo Hussey, giving a lesson on triplets.

I thoroughly recommend this video - after teaching the triplet he uses it to play some jazzy chord progressions and some melodies well-known and not so well-known - including "Love me Tender" (Aura Lee) and a Hawaiian piece.

Enjoy! And thanks for dropping in, this snowy day..... yes, it's snowing here again....

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Not such a happy blogger today - something is broken!

I'm annoyed with my computer today. Or Blogger. Or Youtube. Or all three.... because I want to embed youtube videos as I often do - and can't. Something, somewhere, is broken. And Blogger no longer do support. I have tried the help forums, and it seems there is at least one other "Blogger" blogger with the same problem. I could do links to the videos, and quite possibly that is what I will have to do. But the page will not look the same... so bear with me, folks... hopefully, normal service will be resumed ASAP....

Sunday, 24 March 2013

My new banjolele.....makes three! Gibson UB2

Yes, in addition to my lovely bird's eye maple Slingerland and my Dallas D - a rather art-deco and masculine looking uke, I am now the very proud owner of a Gibson UB2! I love it - love it, love it! I love the others too, and won't be in a rush to sell either of them, but I must say, the UB2 will be my main player when it comes to the banjo-ukes. Why? The Gibson seems to be particularly well-balanced. It's just a joy to hold and play, even standing. The neck is very smooth, the tuners are perfectly adjusted... and its last owner was none other than ukulelezaza - Remco Houtman-Janssen! So I am very proud to be able to call it mine. A couple of quick pics....

Now, to be able to play it like Remco, that would be something.

And it's my bet that Remco found a lot of new fans last weekend, when he "got the Formby itch" once more and attended the George Formby Society March Convention in Blackpool. It was my privilege to meet him there - what a nice man... and what a stupendous musician! But more of that next time!

Mr. Wu's a Window Cleaner Now - Johnny Foodstamp - George Formby

Once more, Johnny Foodstamp gives an old George Formby number the Nashville touch! I think this is his best yet - one take before coffee must have something going for it, Johnny! This version also features his uke in D tuning with a new calf-skin vellum - big improvement on that nasty plastic head! All the better for that old-time Formby sound!

And Johnny will be making the pilgrimage to the George Formby Society Convention in Blackpool in June! And we can't wait to see that!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Scott Edelman flies in to the GFS March Convention

One of the great pals I made last weekend at the George Formby Convention was Scott Edelman of West Virginia. What a lovely fella - and he, like me (oh yes, boys and girls) made his debut on the stage there! However, he is quicker off the mark than I am about recording his adventure on his blog. So here's a link to a great blog, and a "Yank"'s first visit to Blackpool and the GFS. He loved it. Of course he did.

Read all about it here!.

My own report will follow... soon... just off to Go Ukulele Crazy uke club!

My Melancholy Baby, John Bianchi

Good morning - or evening, whatever and wherever you are... I think my brain's going because I was so sure I had posted published this superb rendition of My Melancholy Baby by the incomparable John Bianchi! In draft form, there it was... draft.

So here it is, My Melancholy Baby, and how gorgeous it is - so smooth, so effortless - wonderful song, wonderful voice... written in 1912, music by Ernie Burnett, the lyrics by George A. Norton. Should be a pro, John; should be a pro....

According to Wikipedia, Ernie Burnett, who composed the music, was wounded fighting in the First World War, and he lost his memory together with his identity dog-tags. While recuperating in hospital, a pianist entertained the patients with popular tunes including "Melancholy Baby". Burnett rose from his sickbed and exclaimed: "That's my song!" He had regained his memory.

Read more about it here.

And coming up - what a fabulous weekend we have just had at the March convention of the GFS (George Formby Society) in Blackpool! See you soon! :D

Thursday, 14 March 2013

I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad

Well, here's my take on the 1911 song

I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad

(C) I want a girl, (F) just like the girl that (C) married (G7) dear old (C) Dad (C7)

(F) She was a pearl (C) and she was the (A7) only girl that (D7) Daddy ever (G7) had,

A (C) good old-fashioned girl with (E7) heart so true

(Am) One who loves nobody (G7) else but you

(C) I want a girl, (F) just like the girl that (C) married (G7) dear old (C) Dad

You can throw in more C7s passing from C to F if you want....

It sounds great on banjo-uke - I reckon a Formby-style solo would work well on this! Something to work on there.... well, GFS, here we come! I could be strumming along with the gang in Blackpool Tower on Saturday... watch this space! ;)

A year yesterday - I started this blog!

Yes, a year yesterday I started this blog... I had the wooden laminate concert uke that Long-Suffering Husband had bought me when I demanded one back in 2005, and a newly acquired 1920's Slingerland banjo-uke that I was trying to get ready to play - the two ukes in my picture on every page here. Now, a year and nearly 20,000 page views later, I have four wooden ukes and four banjoleles. Can't believe it really. Well, one of the banjo-ukes is to sell when it's had a little TLC - but the rest are keepers, I reckon. I was going to do a sofa-shot with them all on, to celebrate the blog's birthday, but my baby-blue Mahalo soprano is still out on loan so I'll hang on. The last year has been quite a journey, uke-wise. Lots to tell there... I'm getting better - slowly. But I do play, nearly every day; a bit of this, a bit of that...

And here's a bit of that, coming up ... a song came into my head earlier on, and I thought perhaps I could work out the chords... that happens sometimes. This seems to work. It's the 1911 song

I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad

Coming up, next time .... ;)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

So what Ukafrolics are going on, then?

Well, life rattles on along a bumpy track, always with plenty to do and no excuses for getting bored - so much so that I really haven't had much chance to settle down to blogging for over a fortnight, and really I'm itching to tell you about so many things - so - coming up.......

As the next convention of the George Formby Society takes place at the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool this weekend, (16th and 17th March 2013), the UK Formby fans are chomping at the bit to get up there, meet with friends old and new, see each others' new ukes and get playing together.

At every Formby convention there are people who have made the pilgrimage to Blackpool from far corners of the world, and this convention will be no different - Scott, who hails, I believe from New York, is eyeing up the wintry but bracing Blackpool weather as he prepares to meet friends made on the internet and to hear the best of Formby-style playing. I know he will receive a very warm welcome. I think this convention will be a great first-time meeting for quite a few of us... me? Yes, I'll be there... looking forward to meeting for the first time Mike Warren, and ukulelezaza (Remco Hutman-Janssen) from Belgium and many more... and I, too, have a lovely new (well, new to me) vintage Gibson banjolele to show off and play...

I'll tell you all about that next time - a bit later.

Meanwhile, thanks for dropping in! I hope the day is kind....:)