This is a fabulous acoustic guitar song, written by popular Canadian recording artist Bruce Cockburn in 1979.
When looking for a uke version of this song, Wondering Where the Lions Are, I came across multiple postings in the Key of D. Playing through the arrangement in this key was actually quite enjoyable, trying to sing in it did not jive. And it did NOT sound the way I heard it in my head. I immediately transposed it to Key of G. Not as fun to play because the arrangement in D has this nice flip around the G chord and Em7 chord, which was fun. In the Key of G, you get G then C and there’s nothing to accompany that, however, it sounded closer to how I hear it in my head.
I consulted with tunebat.com, which gave me the key of A Major. I did a quick transpose on the fly in that key, which has chords A, D and then Bm and A for the chorus. Which is fine, but still is not the original key. It does sound nice played together, though, but I found it a little bit too high for myself to sing. I have a bit of a mid-range voice, though I can go high, it is only temporary and I can’t do it unless I have warmed up, like if I’ve been singing songs for about half an hour already.
That being said, after listening to the recording on Youtube over and over, I finally hit on an F chord that matched. Then followed B flat and G minor. Now, most regular and beginner uke players just do not enjoy playing B flat and so they tend to avoid playing songs in the Key of F, or try to transpose it out of F and into a more Player Friendly Key. Now imagine, you dislike B flat to begin with, PLUS you are given G minor in the chorus. F is a fairly easy chord, but those are two tricky chords for a 3-Chord Song. I’m trying to offer song arrangements in the Player Friendly/User Friendly category. And anyone who says, “all you have to do to get to Gm from the F chord is just keep your fingers in the F chord position and simply move them over one string each, then apply your ring finger to the third string” is a jerk. By the time you look at your uke fret to get that third finger on there and lose your place on the song sheet – guess what? It’s time to go back to F chord. So Key of F for this song = NOT Player Friendly.
The reason I decided to transpose it from the internet offerings in the Key of D was, just so much fun going back and forth between D chord and Em chord for the chorus, meaning it was an absolute CHORE! A finger-fumbling work-out! And he sings “I’m wondering where the lions are” 6 times, then “uuh huh” twice more after that, making it a well-rounded 8 measures.
Since the song was recorded in the Key of F, which I am offering an arrangement of today, I went with the transposition into the Key of G, which is only 1 note higher, and a little bit more Player Friendly, plus I think the Am sounds great in the chorus. It’s still a bit low for singing, but maybe those ukers with the low voices will enjoy it well enough. If you still feel it’s a bit too low for you, check out the other arrangements I mentioned that are available at various internet sites in the Key of D, or transpose it to the key of A. In my arrangement in the key of G, substitute A chord for G, D chord for C, and Bm for the Am in the chorus. Once again, this is 1 full note higher. See what I did there? I pretty much taught ya how to transpose!
Honestly, I am SO far behind on my uploads, as I have a folder – AND A BINDER – full of songs that I arranged either on my back porch last summer or at my kitchen table, and it’s such a shame that I have let my uploads lapse. And the other thing is, that was such an introspective and emotional time period, during COVID-19 pandemic 2020, that most of these songs are sad, morose, nostalgic, and so on.
So today here is a song that harkens back to my pre-highschool days of the late 70’s. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac was written, recorded and released in 1975. It was still playing on the radio regularly in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 – you get the picture. In fact, hit songs from the 60’s were still playing on the radio, along with some popular tunes from the 50’s.
In 1975, I was ten years old. Here are the highlights of that year up to 1979: my sister was learning to drive, so she hauled me around with her in our mom’s 1969 Ford Mustang, standard shift, candy apple red with white hard-top and white leather interior. And our dog, Cocoa. Who by the fourth stall was shaking and whimpering, which although we sympathized with her – “awe, poor Cokey”, only made up laugh more, made the experience even more enjoyable, and with every successful start from a stop sign we cheered to celebrate it. Radio going full-blast and every other song was Fleetwood Mac. 1976, my final year in public school, and I got to be a senior, Grade 6, and I was enjoying my first crush. From a distance of course, while one of my friends fawned all over him and he of course, loved it. Wah!!! “Hopelessly Devoted” was written for me!!! 1977, and Meatloaf took the Canadian radio waves by storm. Many hours after school spent jumping up and down on another friend’s bed at her house, while we blasted a copy of Bat Out of Hell on her parent’s turn-table – one side, then the other side, then back to the first side, over and over and over…..! This was also the year that my sister left for college, so I was lonely, so I was roaming all over town with new friends. Nuff said. 1978, more of the same, senior grade of middle school. I had now mastered the art of suffering through crushes that my other friends got to enjoy. I was embarrassingly shy. Unfortunatley. 1979: first year of highschool. The 70’s were coming to an end in spectacular fashion as funk was now dominating the radio waves and nostalgic ballad-type songs. But whenever a Fleetwood Mac song came on, my heart became happy and it was like home to me.
So this arrangement that I offer you today, is Stevie Nick’s own preferred arrangement that you can find her performing in vids on Youtube. One thing you will notice is in the phrase “time makes you bolder,” I have written it with a hyphen (makes-you) because of the way that Stevie Nicks performs it, it is slapped together to fit in the melody. Other parts I left out because you can decide if you want to sing “older” all on one chord or split it up between the C and the Dm. There is also a nice opportunity to noodle some notes during the instrumental section I provided. One last note regarding the key of the song: I Googled what the key the original song was in, and it told me E flat major. This would be a really difficult key for an ukulele arrangement: the key signature involves Ab, Bb and Eb. So I said Blah to that and transposed it to Dm (D minor). If you have a lower pitched voice this will suit you nicely.
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!!
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.
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.
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. 🙂
Once again, just posting for your enjoyment. I hope you like it.
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.
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.”
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.
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 – deep!
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”.
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.
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!