Songs From Pandemic Time

Do you think there will be a label for that period of time in the year 2020? I heard someone say the phrase “pre-Covid19” the other day and thought, that totally sucks if we think that we are going to have to refer to that time period like that. I hear “pandemic lock-down” and “during the lock-down” alot. I’m not saying they are right or wrong, but it did happen: I started working from home as a precaution.

There was a bunch of songs I was looking into every week, making new song arrangements, finishing the arrangements of other songs that I had left in a folder that were on the back burner and so on. And I went into them and then some.

I realized this year, in February I think it was, that most of these songs are so depressing LOL, songs of loss and weepiness. But if we didn’t have these songs there would be nothing to balance out the happy-go-lucky ones. Also, we need emotional outlets occasionally. I think because I was a bit worried, and I had no outlet for that from day to day, I just gravitated towards these semi-weepy songs.

I almost titled this “Another Eagles Song”, but I decided, let’s be true to the time period I arranged this in.

I found “Wasted Time” online and loved the key for singing but did not like some of the chords. I played it on my tenor and I played it on my favourite, my pineapple soprano, but nope, there was something wonky about the chords. I heard it in my head a certain way and some of those chords were just wrong! So I had to spend a considerable amount of time going through chord groups and experimenting. It was a wonderful way to spend some time! I really enjoyed it.

Today’s songs are Wasted Time by the Eagles, and Without You by Harry Nilsson. Although, between you and me – and please don’t hate me! – I absolutely LOVE Mariah Carey’s version of Without You: she did an amazing job and I wish, I wish, I wish I could sing like her!!

Road Trip Memories

Childhood memories…

The song I’m posting today, Best of My Love by the Eagles, has a special place in my heart.

My father of all people loved this band. He was heavily invested in the 8-track cassette tape players. There was one in our house, one in our van, and one in our BOAT (didn’t last, but hey, brownie points for effort).

The 8-track tapes played round the clock at our place and if we were driving in the van for more than 1 hour we listened to one from start to finish. The glory and genius of the 8-track tape was that it was continuous: it didn’t have to be re-wound like a cassette tape. And my father took full advantage of that!

The family van!

A 1975 Ford Econoline Club Wagon was our family vehicle until 1980. My father took us on our 1-week summer vacation to Calabogie Lake, Ontario every year, towing an aluminum fishing boat.

This 7 and 1/2 hour journey was made on Hwy 7 from Peterborough to Perth, travelling through such quaint little places such as Havelock, Madoc and Kaladar.

Sidebar: Although I haven’t been up that way in over 15 years, a couple years ago a friend of mine told me that the town of Kaladar holds a huge country and folk music festival on a farm every summer, and that the attendees come in with their trailers and camp there all weekend. It’s so big and so well known that the legendary Tom Cochrane likes to drop in and jam with the bands. Go Kaladar!

Fishing buffs: Between Kaladar and Perth is Sharbot Lake. My dad used to make a day trip just to fish there and he said that lake has some of the biggest fish he’s ever seen – and we live on Lake Erie, so that’s saying something!!

Perth: the town you are looking for after traversing the countryside. This town has Canadian Tire, fast foods, Tim Horton’s, car repair shops, gas stations, bait shops, grocery store and Hospital. But wait! Exit Perth on the 511 North, and this takes you strait to Balderson, Ontario, home of the best cheese ever. Stock up on this before you get to the cottage to enjoy with the wine you picked up in Perth. Balderson Cheese was a mandatory destination stop. We even stopped there on the way home to pick up a year’s supply!

Just up the road from there is Lanark, and this is your last chance to get any bug-spray or firewood before you go into no-man’s land. Also, it’s hilly as hell from this point on. What’s that? You thought Hwy 7 was hilly? Nah. We’re talking rollercoaster level from here on until you get to Calabogie Lake. (The next lake over, Centennial, is probably better known for fishing and camping.) This will only be assuaged by the opportunity to pull over and buy quarts of blueberries along the way. Yum!

So that’s a snap-shot of my annual family road trip to the (multi-family shared) cottage. The best part about it was the endlessly playing 8-track tapes of: Kenny Rogers the Gambler, Olivia Newton-John’s Greatests Hits, and a country and easy-listening compilation of hits from the 70’s called The Green, Green, Grass of Home. But his absolute favourite was The Eagles Greatest Hits.

We made 3 road trips a year: Florida for March break, Calabogie Lake in July, Florida for Christmas break (2 weeks). I have told my husband Jeff about how just preparing for these trips is a cherished childhood memory. Before my Dad bought the brown Econoline van we had station wagons – actual woody’s! My parents were both teachers since I was 5 years old, so I have a distinct memory of sitting in the station wagon leaning over the back seat, looking though the open back door watching my parents load all our stuff. And this was on Friday after school because we needed to get on the road as soon as possible. The station wagon was backed into the garage, the door was open and the kitchen door was propped open. Then we’d haul ass to Windsor to cross the border into Detroit as the first leg of our journey to Florida. One year we had a tire blow-out on the Florida turnpike – I remember always seeing these signs for KISSIMEE – and my Mom turns around and yells at my older sister and me, “Hold on, girls!” – I’m lounging in the back, leaning over the top of the back seat and my sister is sitting propped against the door with her legs lengthwise along the back seat, and we’re playing cards or something like that – I think I was 8, and when my Mom yells out to us LOL we grab each other instead of holding on to something! The wagon is swishing back n forth and we’re in the fast lane on the right, and my dad has no choice but to pull over on the far right with fast traffic whizzing by us while he changes the tire, then, on the return trip we blow another tire somewhere in another state. Dad said that’s what made him decide to trade that wagon for a van, and he’s always had vans since then. And he never had another second-hand vehicle ever, after that!

Enter the two-tone brown Ford Econoline van in 1975, with it’s cool sliding side door, and two bi-fold back doors. A small ladder was mounted on the back door on the right and the big spare tire was mounted on the back door on the left. The front seats were two luxury captains chairs that could swivel around backwards. This seemed revolutionary and modern! Then a short bench seat, and then a long bench seat that spanned from one side to the other. I had the short one and my sister had the longer one. Here’s my next childhood road trip memory: while the van is in motion, driving down one of the American I’s, ON AUTO-CRUISE (also very cool and modern) – my parents switched drivers. I’ll never forget it. It was kinda like the game Twister, ha ha. I never saw them do it again, but they probably did. Owning this van also ended our over-nighting at motels: it influenced them to “drive straight through”. Since our destination in Florida was 22 hours from home, my parents gave in to the temptation. We would be on the road by 5 pm Friday after school, eating sandwiches for supper, stop once we got across the border for a pee break, then my mom would tuck me into my sleeping bag by wrapping the lap seat belt around the outside of it and clicking it in behind me, just so she knew I was secure and wouldn’t slide off the bench seat while I slept. And I would go to sleep, and wake up in the morning to the wonderful smell of coffee brewing. She had a little coffee maker that plugged in to a utility outlet in the front console, and this thing would make 1 cup of coffee at a time and she just loved that thing. I did too, I loved waking up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee. One time, my dad reached around behind him and nudged me awake. He was telling me to wake up and see the sun rise over the Smokey mountains with him. So I got out of my sleeping bag and climbed into the front passenger seat and got to enjoy that with him. Found out my mom had gone into the back of the van for a lie down amongst all our luggage and shoes!

During this time while my sister and I slept through the overnight drives, my father played his 8-track tapes and we would listen to those songs over and over again. I would drift off to sleep with Kenny Rogers and wake up with Olivia N-J. During the day it was the Eagles all the way. In 1980 my Dad traded in the two-tone brown Econoline for a brand new two-tone blue one. They were virtually identical except for the colour, and the new one had chrome running boards. Dad traded the blue Econoline for a red Ford Windstar in 1985, and they continued driving to Florida until 2018. So for 10 years we travelled in a Ford Econoline for our family vacations. Good call Dad, ’cause those road trips are some of my best childhood memories! I even learned to drive and got my license in the blue Ford Econoline!

I hope you enjoyed my road-trip childhood memories. We had many adventures on the road, like the time my mom left her purse behind in an IHOP in Cincinnati, Ohio, but a staffer called us on our mobile phone – my dad was so modern!!! – and told her about it LOL she didn’t even realize til that moment – and my dad was put out because he had to turn around and go back, costing precious time! Sometimes one of us had to go to the bathroom – urgently!! – only there was no exit for miles yet, so my parents pulled over and we were given a roll of toilet paper and told to go crouch behind a bush. One time, between two doors, back in the station wagon days. We travelled with our dog, without our dog, with coolers, with packed lunches, boxes of snacks and home-made bottled water from rinsed out orange juice containers. I read Nancy Drew mysteries and did books of word search puzzles. And all the while, the music was playing, over and over. My parents sang along, I sang along. And to this day, when any one of those songs comes over the radio or comes up at karaoke or ukulele jams, I know it in my heart because it is directly linked to my happiest childhood memories.

In honour of that last sentence here is Best of Love and Homeward Bound. I hope you enjoy playing them together.

I Want to Hug You, But I Can’t!

Can't Get Out of the House Hello again. I must start off with an apology of sorts. I had let my website lapse, but since we are all at home isolating during this pandemic, I decided to revive it and post more songs.

One thing that is a prevalent part of this pandemic is the inability to socialize properly, because we can still call our loved ones on our phones and we can face-time and skype and go live on Youtube and Facebook. But what we really want, we can’t have. We really want to be there in person.

Hence today’s song by the Rolling Stones: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

*Although I suspect their lyrics are not referring to socializing…. but I will leave that up to you to determine!

The song sheet IS in the original key. You CAN play along with this video:

[imbed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krxU5Y9lCS8[/embed]

Country Roads

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Started compiling other songs that I saved up for this year’s songbook.

You can listen to the Youtube vid below. Olivia N-J used to start out with the chorus, at a slower tempo than the rest of the song. I don’t really recommend that unless you were going to perform it on a stage this way and the accompanying band knew this would be the arrangement. Of course, if you prefer the John Denver version, just start with the verse. ūüôā

Once again, just posting for your enjoyment. I hope you like it.

Here is the songsheet: COUNTRY ROADS

TEACH

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Cat Porrit and Cheryl Hansford in a teaching moment, Red Station Room, Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre, January 2017. In attendance: 18 Beginner players + 10 regular players = full house.

Next month we head back to the Red Station Room at the Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre for the Beginner’s class for Ukulele. This year it’s called “Learn to Play the Ukulele”. We are starting our fall session on Tuesday, September 19th at 6:30. We are also upping our music lesson participation fee to $5, and the lesson will be half an hour instead of a full hour. Our Play-Along Hour will now follow from 7 p.m. til 8 p.m. for 2 bucks.

With that out of the way, I also have to announce that we, the Tillsonburg Uke Society, a.k.a. the T’UkeS, will be giving up our Meet-Up page. We have made the unanimous decision ~ between Cheryl and I ~ to make it defunct. Last year the price went up by 20 bucks and became an American amount which converted to over $137 Canadian dollars which put us into overdraft. Our aim is to pay the rent at the Station Arts Centre first and foremost, then have enough funds left over to photocopy song books and have a little gas money. We are a self-declared not-for-profit organization. What we really want to end up with is a ukulele group that meets once a week in a pub or other public place to play songs and sing songs and have a really good time.

Image result for graham nash 1975
Graham Nash, right, with David Crosby.

That being said, one of our enthusiastic members sent us this great song over the summer. She actually hosted a back yard get together for the T’UkeS and it went really well.

The song is Teach Your Children Well, written by Graham Nash of Crosby & Nash fame.

From his own web-site: “Legendary singer-songwriter GRAHAM NASH is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee-with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and with the Hollies. He was also inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame twice, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a GRAMMY Award winner.”

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Graham Nash 2013

The song: teachyourchildrenwell   this version by Dr. Uke.

Here is the 2013 video of him performing the song where he clearly says: “….dedicated to all the singin’ and teachin’ in the world.”

Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke

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I’m sad, my uking friends. Google does not support the tags I put on my posts or songs any more. I have been reading a few posts by many people who have discovered the same thing, whether it be on their blog or, more commonly, their YouTube vid’s. Apparently these individuals have gotten little to no response from either Google or YouTube reps.¬†Related image

My hubby’s theory is that we have to pay to make our web-sites searchable, which in essence makes Google no long a free resource. Congratulations to Google for having joined the ranks of commercialism! I feel creepy, like if I am no longer searchable then I cease to exist?¬†I am now wondering why I am paying WordPress for the dot com at the end of my name….

These are the thoughts I ponder tonight as I sift through ukulele songs to take with us on our upcoming journey out East. Heading for the Eastern seaboard, the fair shores of Prince Edward Island this Friday. That may be why I’ve been transposing and arranging so many songs lately. Itchy strum thumbs!

Not to take away from the fine work of Sam Cooke, but his song of 1959 expresses my sentiment of yearning and pondering the future of my site. If my views drop down to none there is no reason to continue, is there? Will my site whither and stall? And what are meta tags and can they help me become a search result again??? Whoa Рdeep!

ONLY SIXTEEN CP

 

Summer Heat

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Wouldn’t it be great if our love was just Soooooo hot that when winter came we just wanted to go deep in the desert and let our love thaw the snow? ¬†Like, wow! Whatever that means, in “music-land”, that must be some kinda heat, ya know?

All the lyrics I find on the internet, by the way, claim that line as “I yearned for the snow”, but if you get really relaxed and then listen to the song, like over and over and over, you will indeed discern the words, “our LO-ove thaw the sno-OH!”

So here is my poetic license, if you will, of Orleans classic 1976 hit, “Still the One”.

Still The One revised

 

 

Good Ole Neil ;-)

Image result for Neil Young car

Well, I hope ole Neil won’t mind, but I transposed the key for one of his hit songs, “Long May You Run”, which he once revealed in an interview to be dedicated to a beloved car.

I was going through the Bytown Uke Groups songs and having a great ole time printing out songs about Canada, of Canada, and some that were written by Canadians ;-), when I realized that someone who does the posting of songs for the group must be a Neil Young fan. There are umpteen songs at their site by him.

For many years, while I was studying piano, and then later, guitar, I was always interested in performing Neil Young songs but just as equally disappointed, because the man has a high voice. Within the last decade of my music playing on Ukulele, “doors” have really opened for me with the discovery of transposing. Suddenly, no song is off limits. The reason you are surprised I’m sure is because of my musical background. To clear that up, I will tell you that I learned to play classical piano at a very high level. In those days my friend and I who both played piano like demons, were into the new music us kids would hear on the radio. This was 1977 to 1984/85. So what we did back then was buy artists music books, like “Hits by the Eagles” or “Fleetwood Mac”, and then trade them back and forth, pooling our resources. We also bought compilation books by multi artists. I can remember lovingly – and by that I mean at the top of my lungs – playing AND singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gale and “Georgia” by Ray Charles, over and over and over……. as well as numerous Eagles songs, Van Morrison, Dan Hill, Carol King, Janis Joplin, many folk songs like “the Unicorn Song”, “Puff the Magic Dragon”, as well as campire songs, songs by John Denver, lots of country songs by Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, and many, many, others. My father in particular was fond of “Trailer for Rent” and “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, and “The Green, Green, Grass of Home”. He could sing!

At our high school they farmed us out for lunch period entertainment in the caf during the month of December, where we were to play Christmas carols – once again, classical music – but invariably, as the kids would come up and sit on the bench next to us they would start requesting “Christmas songs”, that would always lead to a good ole singing session of modern hit music. The song that usually did me in was a so-called Christmas song, “Another Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg, which would lead to other current hits. I got admonished by the Vice-principal numerous times but they never did fire me from this gig, as I was given this duty every year for 5 years straight. I couldn’t help myself: it always turned into an hour of fun.

Back then, we also studied to pass our music levels, and I remember now having to study transposing, but I literally never used it so it got pushed out of memory and, consequently, ability. Years later when I was learning to play guitar, that knowledge would have come in handy, for there were many songs that went by the wayside because I couldn’t sing them in that key. When I finally resurrected my interest in music using the ukulele, things were different. For one thing, I was no longer playing at parties or for friends, I was now learning and playing in a group. And you pick up all sorts of skills when you play regularly with others. About 3 years into my ukulele playing the benefits of transposing keys became clear to me and I have never turned back. Love a song? Can’t sing it in that key? No problemo: ¬†presto bango, transposo, and voila!

I used to love many many Neil Young songs but when I heard them over the radio, I was never able to sing along. The man has a high voice! But many times I wished I could have performed on my piano or my guitar such hits by him but I never could sing it so I would have to turn the page. It has been decades since I even remembered what the problem was. So yesterday while I was printing out all these Canadian hit song sheets by Neil Young I was feeling that old disappointment again. Particularly with “Long May You Run”. And I started trying the chords on ¬†my uke and literally saying to myself, “this would be much easier in the key of G”. The only problem was there was this daunting chord to transpose, the F#m, because you know, nothing’s easy with Neil Young! A couple of years ago I had gone down to the MUD Festival in Lansing, Michigan, and they had two or three group sing-alongs where they projected the song sheets, and one that they taught us was in the key of A with a Bm and a B#m, Cm and C#m, which I practiced for weeks afterwards. Yesterday I was realizing that I could incorporate some of those chords into the song to achieve the same thing. So it’s G, Bm, D7, Em and C, and then he has this little instrumental bit at the end of the chorus, which threw me. I listened to it and the closest I can get is C, then Eb, which looks scarey but is actually simple to form, G then Gaug (same thing) and back to G.¬†Related image

I really find it interesting to attempt to play songs that were composed on a guitar by a guitar player. I mean, maybe they wrote the melody for a song on the napkin of a diner while eating lunch, I don’t know the process ha ha. But I’m finding that transposing songs into a more singable key for me is opening musical doors, and enhancing my enjoyment of music.

For a detailed description of transposing and how to do it, try these websites, but first download my transposed version of “Long May You Run” by Neil Young!

LONG MAY YOU RUN CP

https://ledgernote.com/columns/music-theory/circle-of-fifths-explained/

http://www.circleoffifths.com/#axzz4mLtcHSeR

LONG MAAAAAY YOUUUUUUU RUN!!!!!!

 

I Love a Rainy Night

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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

 

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.