Monday, 20 April 2015

Mike Warren, Leaning on a Lamppost...Ukulele Fever 2014

Mike Warren, one of the best exponents of the George Formby style of banjo-ukulele playing, playing at the concert "Ukulele Fever 2014" last October. George Formby's songs are often played with a backing band or backing track, but Mike plays unaccompanied here; it's a lovely performance of "Leaning on a Lamppost" and shows off his Formby-style expertise beautifully.

What is "Formby-style"? in a George Formby song, the song part (sung) is sung to a pared-back, simple accompaniment on ukulele, where the singing and the lyrics are the important bit - then comes a uke solo, usually banjo-uke, full of syncopated, tricky strumming techniques such as the split-stroke, which take ages to learn to do, especially at speed and in time, unless you're under 16......! (The GFS has many talented teenagers who play the style with great aplomb!)

It warms my heart to see George's music played at a ukulele event. Too many fans of the wooden uke in the UK disparage George and his music, which saddens me enormously, especially when it's done on stage. George Formby was a much-loved artist during the 1930's and 40's with his saucy songs full of inuendo, some of which were banned by the BBC! Not this song, though, which was written by Noel Gay and was first performed in the George Formby film "Feather Your Nest". It has become perhaps the most popular of all the songs George performed and a little lamppost is emblem and badge of the George Formby Society. George and his wife Beryl worked extensively during the Second World War for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), and entertained civilians and troops, and by 1946 it was estimated that he had performed in front of three million service personnel.

If you want to learn to play Formby-style, visit Mike Warren's website...

And please - don't knock George. He's a Ukulele Hero!

Thanks for dropping in!

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