Thursday, 29 January 2015

Peter Moss - how to make a ukulele solo

A quickie. I had to post this. Regular readers will know that I've posted Peter Moss before - just check out the label cloud at the bottom of the page for more... but here's a wonderful freebie from virtuoso player Peter Moss... how to make a ukulele solo!

And... if you liked that (who wouldn't?) Peter is now doing individual Skype lessons!

Details here....

Thanks for dropping in!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Mandy Make Up Your Mind! Dr Bekken on baritone uke, high D

I've posted this video by Dr Bekken for two reasons - one, because it's good. Two, because I have just discovered the pleasure of a baritone uke with quality fluorocarbon strings and re-entrant tuning, that is, with high D.

About a year ago I picked up a used Makala baritone uke. It was strung DGBE with low D, the D and G strings being wound. It really didn't do much to impress me, and I didn't bother with it much. Then a respected player recommended that I restring it with a set of Living Water Strings, high D tuning. Now, I do love Living Water strings, nearly all my ukes have them now... so I did it - and the difference is nothing short of amazing! I can't put the thing down! Finger-picked, that uke sounds just great. Living Waters are high quality 100% fluorocarbon, and are sold by Ken Middleton - another highly respected player! So now I'm after inspiration for things to play on it, and I put out a plea on the Ukulele Underground Forum. Dr Bekken responded with this video! I love it! And I hope you enjoyed it too!

Dr Bekken has his own pages, Humble Baritonics... if you have a bari, check him out! In fact, check him out anyway, he plays soprano uke incredibly well, also. We'll have some of that later!

By the way - a baritone uke is strung like a guitar with the two lowest strings missing. So the chords are akin to guitar chords. You use the same chord shapes to play as GCEA tuned ukes - but they have different names. Yeah. More to learn!

Thanks for dropping in!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Just jammin' - Angus Lamont and Francesca Davies at GFS Convention November 2014

Just a few lines to describe this one.

GFS (George Formby Society) Convention, Blackpool, November 2014

Angus Lamont and Francesca Davies jamming in the back room.

Just two of the very talented young people who enjoy the music of George Formby - the fun songs, the tricky syncopated solos, and the warmth and friendliness of the GFS.

I was there - I think I was actually walking across that room as they were doing this! Superb. And to think that it was the GFS that brought them together!

By the way, Francesca is playing a 1928 Wendell Hall banjo-uke. Why such an old uke? Because the vintage ones are so much better - simple. Wendell Halls come at a pretty price, though. You'll have to save your pennies if you want one.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Up the neck - funky strums from the 60's? Try this one!

You'll like this. I know you will. And it'll get you playing up the neck of your uke, if you don't already...

From Coveywood, who introduces himself on Youtube thus.... "Ukulele Teacher, Enthusiast living in the South West of England, I've been a musician for all of my 60 years. Bought my first Uke in my early 20's and have had an unreasonable amount of pleasure from my small family of instruments. The "Best Ukulele Strum in the World" has been a constant companion and finds its way into many of my compositions. It has many different cultures woven into its innocent dancey step and will bring you endless pleasure once you get your head around the strangenesses of the co ordination. I also play in the Pindrop Band with a bunch of wonderful musicians and Singers, all of them good hearts."

See? I said you'd like it!

Thanks for dropping in¬

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Enjoy Yourself - It's Later Than You Think! Pabrizzer from Oz

The sudden loss at far too young an age of our friend Dave Withers (Ukey Dave to the Ukulele Underground folk) sets the mind on a certain tack for sure. Carpe diem. Seize the day. And gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying." (by Robert Herrick)

The Seasonistas of the Ukulele Underground Forum have this week been offering tribute songs to Dave on Season 152 of the Ukulele. Songs that he covered while he was with us. So many seem so poignant now. And so many are favourite songs of mine, we just happened to like loads of the same songs.

I love this cover by pabrizzer from Australia. Upbeat and defiant, it demands, "Get out there and enjoy yourself before it's too darned late!" And just watch and listen to that great instrumental introduction. I need to STUDY this fella!

Thanks for dropping by.... now go and enjoy yourself!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Lewis Clifton - "I've Got A Girlfriend" by Billy Uke Scott

Lewis is one of the best young exponents of Formby-style playing.

Lewis Clifton performs a Billy Uke Scott classic on his Ludwig banjo-uke at the Chester Branch of the George Formby Society last week. Lewis has been a regular performer and a firm favourite at GFS meetings for about three years now. Still in his teens, he's one of the star players and has wonderful Formby technique.

Billy Uke Scott (1923-2004) from Sunderland was a real ukulele star in Britain during the 1940's and 50's. He was an honorary member of the George Formby Society, as is his great friend Alan Southworth, who writes about him here for the Society. That's a great, informative article and well worth reading!

A quickie post. But I thought you'd like this.... thanks for dropping in!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Ukey Dave - The Final Curtain

Today our friend Dave Withers, "Ukey Dave" to his friends the Seasonistas in the Ukulele Underground, is being laid to rest in his home town of Leicester.

He had a way with a song, he had a way a strum, he had a way with a video, and he had a way with people.

Each week, one of the Seasonistas hosts a light-hearted competition, a Youtube video with a song.... in September 2013, Dave took a turn, and this was his wrap-up video at the end of it. So very, very poignant now. He credits all the Seasonistas who took part that week. "The Final Curtain", "Stand By Me"... and they have, the Seasonistas, they have. Ukey Dave gave and gave, he hated to miss a Season, he loved to play and give support and encouragement to others - and now they're giving back.

Go and see.... Ukulele Underground, Seasons of the Ukulele, "Season 152,Bring me fun, bring me sunshine, bring me love for Ukey Dave"... has anyone had a week-long play-out like this is going to be.... he is already missed so much.

He came our way with music, with laughter, with encouragement and with love and we are all the richer for it.

I'm so glad I was one of the few Seasonistas fortunate enough to meet him and spend some ukulele time.

Thank you Dave, RIP.

My thoughts are with his family today.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

One Hit Wonder by Paul Culkin

Here's a singer/songwriter with immense talent, and I'm thrilled to be posting this on here today. Paul Culkin from York. That's York, England, not New York, US! He has a way with a lyric that's inspired, and has written some of the funniest songs I've ever heard... can play a uke, too! I tell you from experience, he holds an audience in the palm of his hand. Here he is with his new Martin, and a new song. In case you're wondering, as I was, whether this is about a particular artist, it isn't.... but there were quite a few of these around in the "glam rock" era. Please enjoy.....

I'm hoping this will prove to be the first of a flush of new songs from Paul - it's wonderful stuff - this may be the first Paul Culkin song to appear on here, but I promise it won't be the last!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Johnny Foodstamp plays "Downhill"

Johnny Foodstamp - Ludwig banjo-uke - instrumental by Remco Houtman-Jannsen (Ukulelezaza)

Now wasn't that fantastic?

The tab for the instrumental is in Remco's latest book, "The Glory of Love". Get it here.....

That was a quick one, wasn't it..... I know, sorry.... better a quickie than none at all!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Holiday Creep by John Bianchi - original song!

It's funny, I'd been thinking, these last couple of days, that we hadn't seen a new video by John Bianchi of New York for quite a little while - it even went through my mind that maybe he wasn't playing ukulele so much these days, there are other instruments, after all.... then this morning this popped up. And I have to share it while the holiday season is still with us. What a joy! It's his original song, written last year... boy, would I be proud if I had written this! Full of wit. Please enjoy - The Holiday Creep, by John Bianchi, one of my very, very favourite singers and players - and songwriters!

Played on Ohana Vita-uke.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year - and here's my New Year song ...

About six months ago, dear readers, I was moved to write a song. My first song. I'd been toying with the idea for a while but never tied anything up. I've kept that first song an unlisted video, it isn't public - but I did resolve to write more. The spur to do it came in November, when one of the great Seasonistas of the Ukulele Underground, "Pabrizzer" decided to hold a Christmas season songwriting competition. I banged in an entry, and with all the creative juices flowing I wrote another song the next day, a traditional carol - but didn't get time to do an entry video until Christmas Eve. I did a hurried video and entered it - and on Christmas Day Pabrizzer announced that my carol was the winner! I was over the moon, so elated - it's true that success is its own reward, but I am looking forward to my prize arriving in the post! Pabrizzer said some lovely things about my carol and did a lovely cover of it, I was so thrilled... please watch that, you can find it here...
My lovely family Christmas was made even more special, and I'll never forget it. Thank you Brian!

New Year Love Song is my latest. Dedicated to LSH (Long Suffering Husband) and to all Long Suffering Husbands and Wives, partners of ukulele players everywhere! Not a perfect performance - concentrating on the fingerpicking, voice not loud enough - and if you think you spot a line of melody or lyric that you've heard somewhere else, please tell me - because these things go in unconsciously, you just never know. But I enjoyed writing these songs - and working out the right chords to play is awfully good for practising playing by ear!

I hope you enjoy it....

Thanks for dropping in - I'll try to do some more catching up very soon!