LANDSLIDE by Stevie Nicks

Just a quickie upload today.

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.

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!!

Say You Love Me

I’ve re-worked my earlier arrangement

Because it was too low. I put it up to A, ad I can feel my voice comfortably opening up to hit those notes. I call it my sweet spot.

Also, I realized that I play it too fast, need to sloooooww dowwwwwn…

The key to this song is mimicking the effect of the piano in the original recording. I found this easier to accomplish in the Key of A. Below is an illustration illustrating how to progress from A to F#m.

From A to F#m

This is pretty easy, and can be learned by practicing this technique for the Intro. When forming the A chord you just add your ring finger to the formation, to the second fret of the third string, for just one beat (one down and up), then you remove your ring finger leaving your other fingers there to continue to form A again.

Just really love playing and singing this song!

It’s a, Mad World

APRIL 2020 

This song has been lucky enough to have been revitalized in the 2000’s in a very positive and enjoyable way.

Who doesn’t remember this scene from the Official Video for the 1983 Tears for Fears song, Mad World?

If you’ve seen it, and heard it, you’ll recall that the tempo is very fast. Half the time I couldn’t quite catch all of the words!

In the 80’s, British band Tears for Fears was insanely popular here in…….let’s just say North America. Their music genre was “Alternative/Indie”, which automatically made very teenager and college student want to listen to it and buy the album. This made Tears for Fears extremely popular – in addition to their talented song-making!

Almost 20 years later, the movie industry made this song popular again, with a new generation of listeners. In 2001 the song was featured in the film “Donnie Darko”, sung by Gary Jules. This piano version slowed the tempo down and allowed the beautifully sad tones of Gary Jules’ voice to flow over the melody, haunting us forever. It’s very beautiful and a 2006 video can easily be found on Youtube.

A few years later, an intriguing member of this next, younger generation performed his version of Mad World during Season 8 of American Idol.

Adam Lambert’s performance of the piano version of Mad World, in the style of Gary Jules, earned him a standing ovation by Simon Cowell and immortalized the song. That’s such an iconic picture of Adam Lambert with his stylized hair and black nails, isn’t it?

This picture of Adam Lambert was taken from the video uploaded to Youtube of him performing Mad World, a video which “went viral” with over 1 million views within 48 hours of being posted. (I looked at it today, and it was some insane amount like hundreds of millions lol)

However. The Youtube vid I am including today, is of the actual Curt Smith, on acoustic guitar, performing his own song, his version of Mad World. It was posted by Tory Birch in April 2020 – during pandemic – and has a little write up of how they are pleased to post this video of their “dear friend and his daughter Diva.” You’ll notice that it has over 6 million views!

Here is my uke version of Mad World, which I arranged in June/2020:

Whoa. OK That’s different. And new. I am just getting used to/familiarizng myself with WordPress’s new way of writing a blog post, so please forgive me if today’s post looks wonky. Ie. I have no idea what “preformatted” means, OR how it’s going to look…..so hopefully, as I continue posting and uploading content, things will improve.

Anyway, that’s it for today: hope you enjoy!

Wild Horses, ukulele style

Here’s a great song by the Rolling Stones, which I heard recently on the very first night of America’s Got Talent 2019 Champions, sung by British runner-up contestant Susan Boyle. She was of course given the golden buzzer, so she’s strait on to the finalé, which I believe airs this month. (I’m sure you can Google it…)

Anyway, here is the ukulele version in the Key of C. I find it more suitable to sing in this key 😉 and it is the Stones’ version, not Susan Boyle’s. I included the Vevo vid for it as well, just to clear up any confusion, because for one thing, you might be surprised at how slow this song actually is. People in my group were actually telling me that the Official Vevo video for the song is wrong because they remember it at a much faster pace. I, myself, however, remember the song exactly the way it is in the Vevo vid, which is actually the original recording set to some images. No one slowed it down, or we wouldn’t be able to recognize Mick Jaggar’s voice. Ha! So there! NNNNh!

Anyway, to the nay-sayers I say, go do your own friggin research and stop criticizing me, all I’m trying to do is bring you a fun song: do you have to suck lemons about it? Sheesh!

I HOPE THE LEAST YOU DO WITH THIS IS ENJOY IT

Wild Horses in C

Here is the OFFICIAL VEVO VIDEO OF THE SONG POSTED BY THE ROLLING STONES:

P.S. I think it’s in the Key of G. (Ha ha on you!)

We’re Here for a Good Time!

Related image

Truer words were never spoke!

It’s great when you get a couple of followers on your blog, totally shocking when one of them is in your ukulele group! So thank you LINDA for telling everyone about the website, I have gotten some nice compliments and great feedback. They seem to be enjoying downloading songs from here also, which was part of the game plan, LOL. The funny part for me was that I was so engrossed in the moment during uke group that I had a hard time figuring out what she was talking about, when suddenly it dawned on me and I was embarrassed. Why, I don’t know! I’m not tooting my own horn, I truly just want to share some great song arrangements with other ukulele enthusiasts.

That being said, here are 3 that I want to share. Moon Dance is a great song that Linda brought to our group. I have not rearranged it, I like it the way it is, there is a wonky part in the first chorus, but I haven’t listened to the song over the internet yet, so maybe that is the way the original goes and I just don’t remember – ha ha! The memory’s a funny thing, too!

The other two are We’re Here for a Good Time and Hallelujah, the alternate words. The arrangement is different from mine, too, because I never included the C/Am/C/Am at the end of the chorus. In my version I lean back on G7 before starting the next verse. Linda also brought us that song, and we are performing it Tuesday night at the Maple Manor in Tillsonburg for the residents there. We’re going to have Linda finger pick the Intro.

With respect, I wish each and every one of you a happy and safe Holiday, in case I don’t get back on here before New Year’s.

Moondance

We’re Here For a Good Time

Hallelujah Alternate

A Song of the 50’s Progression

Today’s song is an iconic composition of the 50’s music genre. This song uses a version of the common chord progression now called “the 50’s progression”, which has been called the “Stand By Me’ changes” after the song.

50’s Chord Progression 

There are many iconic songs from this music time era, where the song moves rhythmically from the first chord, to the second, to the third, to the fourth and back to the first, always in the same order. These songs are strongly associated with the “Doo Wop” genre as well, and may be referred to as “Heart and Soul” chords. The first song known to have used this sequence extensively was Blue Moon written in 1933 by Richard Rodgers. The progression is represented in a  key as I, VI(m), IV, V(7). The sixth chord may/may not be minor depending on the key; the fifth chord may/may not be a 7th depending on the tone. When not played in the first to fourth sequence, the same four chords are used in a turn-around manner (see You Send Me, below).

Examples

A Teenager in Love (1959): (4/4 Timing) [C] Each time we [Am] have a quarrel, [F] it almost [G7] breaks my heart, [C] cause I am [Am] so afraid, [F] that we will [G7] have to part. [C] Each night I [Am] ask the [F] stars up a-[G7]bove, [C] why must I [Am] be a teen-[F]ager in [G7] love?….

This example shows only 2 strums per chord, whereas, to play A Teenager in Love you would play a full 4 strums per chord. 🙂 

You Send Me (1957): (2/4 Timing) Darling, [G] You -oo-[Em]oo, [Am7] send me [D7]. I know, [G] You -oo-[Em]oo, [Am7] send me [D7]. Darling, [G] You -oo-[Em]oo, [Am7] send me, [D7] honest you [G] do, honest you [Am7] do, honest you [G], [D7] Whoa-oh-oh-oh…. (Repeat, replacing “send me” with “thrill me”.)….

Stand By Me ~ Ben E. King 

Stand By Me was composed in 1959, recorded and released in 1960, by Ben E. King. In addition to the iconic 50’s chord progression in the Key of A, the song departed from the sound of the “doo wop” background singers and used a strong, low bass-line instead. Baaa baaa, ba-ba baa baa, ba-ba-ba baa baa, ba-ba baa baa, etc.

The arrangement I offer you today is presented in the ORIGINAL KEY OF A, which on a soprano ukulele is pretty much unattainable. It is best played on a tenor uke or a uke that is strung with a LOW G STRING. This way you can attain that perfect tone of pitch moving from the low chords to the higher chords.

If you want to transpose it to a higher Key, keep in mind that the second, third and fourth chords change depending on what sharps and flats are in each key, using the Key formula outlined in the paragraph above titled “50’s Chord Progression”. For example, if you truly don’t want to sing it in the original Key that Ben E. King recorded it in (no pressure), then the Key of F would be F, Dm, Bb and C7. (And don’t we all just looooove that Bb!) The Key of C sequence is C, Am, F and G7, which is easier to play but much higher to sing.

However, like I already stated, I have arranged it in the Key of A as originally recorded, and tried extremely hard to have the lyrics in the style that Ben E. King sang them. The only part I don’t have tabbed out for you is the Instrumental, but you can probably find that on the internet somewhere 🙂 and you will have to find someone willing to accompany you doing the “baa baa, ba-ba baa baa” bass-line.

Cheers! Stand By Me A

Below is a wonderful video of Ben E. King singing Stand By Me, with some of the cast members from the 1986 coming-of-age movie “Stand By Me”: Will Weaton and River Phoenix. You can play the chord progression from my arrangement along with this video if you are good at hearing chord changes. Enjoy!

 

A 50’s Medley

Elvis 1956 Dorsey Brothers stage
Elvis during his first television appearance on the Stage Show with the Dorsey Brothers, in New York, New York, January 1956.

Sometimes I like to play a few 50’s songs together, especially if they were written/composed by the same artist and sound alike, or if they have the same beat or shuffle. I like to alternate the verses and chorus’s for each song, and I have a great time, and everyone seems to know the words to at least the chorus’s, so nobody cares!

It’s when I type it out on paper and share it with someone, that’s when they point out the one glaringly obvious oversight. Yes, these two songs are from 2 different music styles. The first song is a strait up classic rock song, although it does not follow the classic 4-chord repetitive pattern, and the second song is a 12-bar blues song that was an R&B hit. However, they have the same shuffle strum and once you start playing them together you might agree with me.

I am no DJ, so my mixing is not proper, LOL. I actually go back to the first song for the ending, so maybe this is falls into the category of “mash-up”?? Although I know that term refers to a song created by blending two (or more) pre-recorded songs together, the argument was that a “medley” should consist of at least 3 songs played together in the same Key in a continuous manner.

So for that reason, I titled it Blue Suede Shoes/Flip Flop and Fly.

Rock-Around-The-Clock-cover

The first song was obviously an Elvis tune, but the second one is attributed to Joe Turner, 1955. This was his follow-up hit to Shake, Rattle & Roll of 1954. However, Elvis performed it on his first television appearance in 1956, as part of a medley that included Shake, Rattle & Roll and I Got a Woman. Other famous recordings of Flip, Flop & Fly were made by Bill Haley in 1956 on his album Rock Around the Clock, the Downchild Blues Band in 1973, and the Blues Brothers on Briefcase Full of Blues, 1978.

Blue Suede Flop Fly

Getting Lost in the Rock ‘n’ Roll

Hawaii-Drift Away is another song that epitomized my late childhood/early teen years.

An iconic 1970’s song, Drift Away was a chart topper when recorded by Dobie Gray in 1973.

According to Wikipedia, it was written by Mentor Williams and originally recorded by John Henry Kurtz in 1972. A newer version by Uncle Kracker became a major hit in 2003. And I just learned this, an artist by the name of Narvel Felts also recorded a version of the song which charted on the Country Hits list also in 1973. He changed the lyrics, “I want to get lost in your rock and roll” to “I want to get lost in your country song.” Other famous performers have covered this song, and I have the CD which has Michael Bolton’s version. It’s about an 8 out of 10 (Dobie Gray’s being a 10/10).

I was most interested in getting a good representation of the opening RIFF and the rendition of it that follows throughout the song. I have found it on the internet in various keys, but never with the RIFF in the key of C and the song in the key of F. It turns out this is the best key for my singing voice: that is all. I was very proud of yesterday’s post: I managed to produce a sheet of words and chords in the same key as the video I found to represent the melody of the song. That probably won’t be the case today, ha ha ha!

For your listening amusement, here is the video of the originally recorded version by John Henry Kurtz. There is little comparison to Dobie Gray’s version:

This is the best I could do, as the only “Official Video” of the song I could find had some wierd website plastered on it. So you’ll have to grin and bear the accompaniment of lyrics on this version by Dobie Gray:

DRIFT AWAY

RIFF:  │ C  Cm  G7sus2   Cm │ C–C5   G7   G7    C │

[F]  Day after day I’m more con-[C]fused

[F]  Still I look for the [G7] light in the pouring [C] rain

[F]  You know that’s a game that I hate to [C] lose

[Dm] I’m feeling the strain

[F//][F] Ain’t it a shame

Chorus:  Oh, [C] give me the beat boys and free my soul

I [G7] wanna get lost in your rock and roll and [F] Drift Away  (Repeat)

RIFF

[F]  Beginning to think that I’m wasting [C] time

[F]  I don’t under-[G7]stand the things I [C] do

[F]  The world outside looks so un-[C]kind

[Dm]  Now I’m counting on you

[F//][F]  To carry me through

Chorus

Bridge: [Dm] And when my mind is free, [F] you know a melody can [C] move me

[Dm] And when I’m feeling blue, [F] the guitar’s coming through to [G] soothe me

[F] Thanks for the joy you’re giving [C] me

[F] I want you to [G7] know I believe in your [C] song

[F] Your rhythm and rhyme and harmon-[C]y

[Dm] You’ve helped me along, [F] making me strong

Chorus X2 (Second time, first half is No Chords, just clapping the beat)

[F] Nah, nah, nah, nah, Oh

Won’t ya [C] take me, Oh [G7] take me, Oh [F] take me

RIFF

Romance in 1976

It’s 1976, my favourite year: Grade 6!

This was the year of my first crush, first kiss, first fight with a best friend (over a boy). First school dance, first school graduation, first time in heels, first time with glasses (and a retainer?? hmm maybe that was Grade 7…). The music was something else. My sister had a transistor radio in her room and I routinely dialed it to the American station, Rock 104. They would play Steve Miller Band, the entire album, and then flip it over and play the entire other side! They also loved Meatloaf and Bat Out Of Hell. This exposure to the cutting edge of the top music of the time felt delicious to me.

Songs from the Grade 6 Graduation dance: Stairway to Heaven, Summertime Blues, lots of classic 50’s rock, Slow Dancin’ Swayin’ to the Music….Jerry Rafferty, Stever Miller and others. And Dr Hook. In particular, Only Sixteen, which they had recorded in 1972, but which was a hit in 1976. Funny how that works out! And oh, how we wished we were sixteen! I remember believing along with my girlfirends that this was one of thee most romantic songs, ever.

Flash forward to today, and I find out it was written and recorded by Sam Cooke in 1959. Huh. That’s Ok, I really like Sam Cooke’s songs, too!

Only Sixteen ~ Sam Cooke, 1959

She was [G] only six-[Em]teen, [C] only six-[D]teen,
[Am7][D7] I loved her [G] so.
But she was too [Em] young, to [C] fall in [D] love
And [Am7] I was too [D7] young to [G] know
We’d [G] laugh and we’d [Em] sing, and
[C] do the little [D] things
[Am7] That [D7] made our hearts [G] glow.
But she was too [Em] young, to [C] fall in [D] love

And [Am7] I was too [D7] young to [G] know
[Am7] Why did I [D7] give my [G] heart so [Em] fast?
It [Am7] never will [D7] happen a-[G]gain!
But [Am7] I was a [D7] mere [G] lad of six-[Em]teen –
[A7] I’ve aged a year since [D7] then!

She was [G] only six-[Em]teen, [C] only six-[D]teen,
[Am7]With [D7] eyes that would [G] glow.
But she was too [Em] young, to [C] fall in [D] love
And [Am7] I was too [D7] young to [G] know.

(Then [Am7] Why did you [D7] give your [G] heart so [Em] fast?)
Whoa, it [Am7] never will [D7] happen a-[G]gain!
([Am7] You were a [D7] mere [G] lad of six-[Em]teen -)
[A7] I’ve aged a year since [D7] then!

She was [G] only six-[Em]teen, [C] only six-[D]teen,
[Am7] With [D7] eyes that would [G] glow.
But she was too [Em] young, to [C] fall in [D] love
And [Am7] I was too [D7] young to [G] know.

She was too [Em] young, to [C] fall in [D] love
And [Am7] I was too [D7] young to [G] know.

She was too [Em] young, to [C] fall in [D] love…….
And [Am7] I was too [D7] young to [G] know.