The Roller Skates Song

Actually referring to the hit 1972 song Brand New Key written by Melanie Safka of New York, New York.

Melanie Safka was a beloved hippie performer from the 60’s. She was an American Singer-songwriter known professionally as Melanie. She is best known for her hits, Brand New Key, Ruby Tuesday, Look What They’ve Done to My Song Ma, and her song about performing at Woodstock, Lay Down (Candles in the Rain). She was discovered while singing in the folk clubs in Greenwich Village during her college years. Her first hit was Beautiful People in 1969.

She also had a rebellionist streak. In 1970 she was the only artist to ignore a court injunction banning The Powder Ridge Rock Festival.Shortly after that she played a concert at Mosport Park in Ontario and played for a huge following in Britain where she received standing ovations. She left Buddah Records when they insisted she produce records on demand, and formed a recording company with her husband instead. When she became an official UNICEF ambassador in 1972 she agreed to forgo her world tour in favour of raising money for this organization instead.

When Brand New Key was first released in 1972 many radio stations banned it due to the sexual double-entendres of the song lyrics. Melanie claimed she wrote the song in 15 minutes and intended it to be light-hearted. The follow-up song was “Ring the Living Bell”. To compete with that, her previous record label released “the Nickel Song”. Both songs were simultaneous Top 40 hits while Brand New Key was still in the charts, setting a record for the first female performer to have three Top 40 hits concurrently. Melanie was also awarded Billboard’s #1 Top Female Vocalist Award for 1972.

I was a child in 1972 and started high school in 1979. I think this song was a standard on the radio almost the entire time. My favourite line in the song was always, “some people say I’ve done all right for a girl, oh, yeah!” Needless to say one of my favourite passtimes was rollerskating in our unfinished basement with my best friend. I also never sing the “la la la” part to the last chorus in the song. When singing it with my ukulele I just feel like singing “la la la” wastes my effort, so I prefer to sing the words there instead. Also, the song ends abruptly after the last word, “key”, and I prefer to come in for a gentle landing with 2 beats each of F and G7 and a single down strum on C. So at the bottom you will see *Original version with the La la la’s, followed by *Cat’s version with words and my ending instead. Your choice! Enjoy!

Brand New Key  ~  Melanie Saftka

[C] I rode my bicycle past your window last night

[G7] I roller skated to your door at daylight

Oh, [C] it almost seems, like you’re avoiding me

[F] I’m OK alone but you’ve got [G7] something I need

Well

[C] I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key

I think that we should get together and try them on to see

[F] I’ve been lookin’ around a while, you got something for me

[G7] Oh, [C] I got a brand new pair of roller skates

[G7] You got a brand new [C] key

(bow-wow-wow-wow!)

[C] I ride my bike, I roller skate, don’t drive no car

[G7] Don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far

[C] For somebody who don’t drive I’ve been all around the world

[F] Some people say I’ve done all [G7] right for a girl

Oh, [C] yeah! Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!

Oh, yeah, yeah, [F] yeah! Oh [G7] yeah, yeah [C] yeah…..

(bow-wow-wow-wow!)

[C] I asked your mother if you were  at home

[G7] She said yes, but you weren’t alone

Oh, [C] sometimes I think, that you’re avoiding me

[F] I’m OK alone but you got [G7] something I need

Well

[C] I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key

I think that we should get together and try them on to see

*Original version:

[F] La la la la-la, la la la la-la, la la la la-la la)

[G7] Oh, …… brand new [C] key 

*Cat’s version:

[F] I’ve been lookin’ around a while, you got something for me

[G7] Oh, [C] I got a brand new pair of roller skates

[G7] You got a brand new [C] key [F-2, G7-2, C-1]

Listen to the song below:

3 Love Songs

February is the month of love, and I was remiss in not posting a song or two in honour of St. Valentine’s Day.

So I am making up for that by posting some songs that I enjoy playing, Kaempfert’s L-O-V-E and Hey, Baby by Bruce Channel. And the other one is You Send Me, the debut single by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke.

Hey, Baby was written by Margaret Cobb and Bruce Channel and was recorded by Bruce Channel in 1961. The song features a prominent riff from well-known harmonica player Delbert McClinton and was a #1 hit in 1962. Hey, Baby actually enjoyed a massive re-popularization when it was used in the movie Dirty Dancing in 1987. The movie’s soundtrack album became a huge commercial success. Wikipedia says it sold 32 million copies world-wide and is considered one of the best-selling albums of all time. In 2000, Austrian artist “DJ Ötzi” recorded a cover version for dance clubs. In 2002 it became the unofficial theme song for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His version reached number 1 in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Japan.

Here is the song: HEY BABY

Classic Bruce Channel recording of the song:

DJ Otzi dance version:

Bert Kaempfert was a German orchestra leader and songwriter. He made easy-listening and jazz records and composed the music for a number of well-known songs. Many of his tunes became huge successes for famous recording artists. Wooden Heart, sung by Elvis Presley in the film G.I. Blues was a hit in 1961. Strangers in the Night became a huge hit for Frank Sinatra in 1966. Danke Schoen, with words added by Milt Gabler, became Wayne Newton’s signature song. Milt Gabler also wrote the lyrics for L-O-V-E in 1964 which became a hit song for Nat King Cole in 1965.

Here is the song: L.O.V.E

L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole:

You Send Me was Sam Cooke’s debut single released in 1957 as the B-side recording of Summertime. It was a massive commercial success, becoming a number one hit on both the Rhythm and Blues and Pop song charts. This was one of the first songs outside the realm of Gospel recordings for Cooke. Although the intended A-side was Summertime, radio disc jockeys preferred You Send Me. Over the years, it has become the landmark song of the “soul genre” which Cooke helped create.

Here is the song: You Send Me You can add the extra singing bits he does, ie. “I know, I know, I know, I know” etc. at the end, and he sings “you send me” about 4 times over at the end. Basically, if you aim for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes length of time you will have the song covered.  🙂

You Send Me video of Sam Cooke:

Sway With Me

“Sway” is the English version of the Spanish song “Quien sera” which was a 1953 instrumental mambo song by Mexican composers Luis Demetrio and Pablo Beltran Ruiz. The most popular English recording is by Dean Martin in 1954. The English lyrics are credited to Norman Gimbel. “Sway” was also recorded by Michael Bublé and released in 2003. Even though this is considered a big band song, it translates to the ukulele flavourfully with a roll strum: D roll uDuDu.

SWAY

Strum Pattern: D D-rol up  uDu  ,  also known as the Calypso strum or the Roll strum

First notes is the open E string.

Intro: Dm E7 Am Am Dm E7 Am (stop)

When marimba rhythms [Dm] start to play,

[E7] Dance with me, [Am] make me sway.

Like a lazy ocean [Dm] hugs the shore,

[E7] Hold me close, [Am] sway me more. (stop)

Like a flower bending [Dm] in the breeze,

[E7] Bend with me, [Am] sway with ease.

When we dance you have a [Dm] way with me,

[E7] Stay with me, [Am] sway with me. (stop)

CHORUS:

Other dancers may [G7] be on the floor,

Dear, but my eyes will [C] see only you.

Only you have that [E7] magic technique,

When we sway I go [Am] weak. (stop)

I can hear the sound of [Dm] violins,

[E7] Long before, [Am] it begins.

Make me thrill as only [Dm] you know how,

[E7] Sway me smooth, [Am] sway me now. (stop)

CHORUS:

Other dancers may [G7] be on the floor,

Dear, but my eyes will [C] see only you.

Only you have that [E7] magic technique,

When we sway I go [Am] weak. (stop)

I can hear the sound of [Dm] violins,

[E7] Long before, [Am] it begins.

Make me thrill as only [Dm] you know how,

[E7] Sway me smooth, [Am] sway me now.

Make me thrill as only [Dm] you know how,

[E7] Sway me smooth, [Am] sway me now. (stop)

Groovin’… on a Tuesday Even-ing

Well boys and girls, tonight is the fall start for the ukulele club I belong to, called the Dover Uke Heads. We meet weekly at the Grace United Church on Chapman Street in Port Dover.

This is a song for the group that I have been playing for the past 2 weeks. I hope they like it!

GROOVIN’    Young Rascals, 1967

[F] Groovin’…….[Gm7] on a Sunday after[F]noon [Gm7]

[F] Really….[Gm7] couldn’t get away too [F] soon [Gm7]

[Am] I can’t imagine any[Gm7] thing that’s better

[Am] The world is ours whenever [Gm7] we’re together

[Am] There ain’t a place I’d like to [Gm7] be in-[C7]stead of…..

[F] Groovin’…….[Gm7] down a crowded aven-[F]ue [Gm7]

[F] Doin’…… [Gm7]anything we like to [F] do [Gm7]

[Am] There’s always lots of things that [Gm7] we can see

[Am] We can be anyone we [Gm7] want to be

[Am] And all those happy people [Gm7] we could [C7] meet just

[F] Groovin’…….[Gm7] on a Sunday after[F]noon [Gm7]

[F] Really….[Gm7] couldn’t get away too [F] soon (No, no, no, no!) [Gm7]

[F] Ah ah [Gm7] ah       [F] Ah ah [Gm7] ah       [F] Ah ah [Gm7] ah

[Am] We’ll keep on spending sunny [Gm7] days this way

[Am] We’re gonna talk and laugh our [Gm7] time away

[Am] I feel it comin’ closer [Gm7] day by day

[Bb] Life would be [Am] ecstasy [Gm7] you and me end-[C]lessly

[F] Groovin’…….[Gm7] on a Sunday after[F]noon [Gm7]

[F] Really….[Gm7] couldn’t get away too [F] soon (No, no, no, no!) [Gm7]

[F] Ah ah [Gm7] ah       [F] Ah ah [Gm7] ah       [F] Ah ah [Gm7] ah

Fade out:

[F] Groovin’ [Gm7] ………uh huh [F] huh   [Gm7]

[F] Groovin’ [Gm7] ………uh huh [F] huh   [Gm7]

The Way You Do the Things You Do

A classic brain-child song of Smokey Robinson’s. This song was written on the road, no less, as Smokey as his co-hort made light-hearted exchanges regarding pick-up lines.

The song became a 1964 hit by the Temptations. Written by Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers of the Miracles, while on the road as part of the Motortown Revue tour. The Temptations also had a number 1 hit with another one of Smokey’s song, My Girl.

In 1989 this song was covered by Red, Red Wine band UB40 in reggae style and rose to Top 5 hit in 1990. Their version of the song has been used on numerous movie sound tracks, starting with the 1990 Ridley Scott/Michael Douglas film Black Rain, and other more contemporary films such as Adam Sandler’s 50 First Dates.

The Way You Do the Things You Do – Robinson and Rogers, 1964

[D]You’ve got a smile so [A] bright

[D] You know you could’ve been a[A]  candle

[D] I’m holding you so [A] tight

[D] You know you could’ve been a [A] handle

[E] The way you swept me off my [D] feet

You know you could’ve been a[A] broom

[D] The way you smell so [A] sweet

[D] You know you could’ve been some [A] perfume

CHORUS

[A] Well ~ you could’ve [E] been anything             

That you [D] wanted to, and I can [E] tell

[D]The way you do the things you [A] do – Oh [D] yeah!

The way you do the things you [A] do

As pretty as you are, you know you could’ve been a flower

If good looks were a minute, you know that you could be an hour

The way you stole my heart, you know you could’ve been a crook

And baby, you’re so smart, you know you could’ve been a school book

CHORUS 

You made my life so rich, you know you could’ve been some money

And baby, you’re so sweet, you know you could’ve been some honey

CHORUS

[D] You really swept me off my [A] feet, [D] The way you do the things you [A] do

[D] You made my life complete, [D] The way you do the things you [A] do

[D] You made my life so bright, [D] The way you do the things you [A] do

[D] You make me feel all right, [D] The way you do the things you [A] do

The Temptations:

UB40:

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain

Pitter patter, pitter patter!

I have always loved this song from the 60’s and have heard it performed by many artists. Originally written by The Cascades band member John Claude Gummoe in November 1962, it rose to become a Top 5 hit in North America and Great Brittain by March of 1963. Ricky Nelson immediately covered it in 1963, as did Jan and Dean. It enjoyed another round of popularity in 1983 by Neil Sedaka, and then oddly in 1990 both Dan Fogelberg and Donovan released a cover of this already iconic 60’s song. The last famous cover was released by Briton Chris de Burgh in 2008.

Rhythm of the Rain

Hawaiian connection

In 1995 the famous and very successful Hawaiian duo Ka’au Crater Boys recorded a slow, mellow ukulele version of the song as “Rhythm of the Falling Rain” on their debut album, Tropical Hawaiian Day.

The Kaʻau Crater Boys were formed in the early 1990’s by Ernie Cruz Jr. (the son of Ernie Cruz Sr.) and Troy Fernandez. Cruz played bass, acoustic guitar and handled main vocals for the majority of songs they recorded. Fernandez also contributed to vocals (mainly as a backing vocalist), but was mostly renowned for his musicianship with the ukulele. The creation of the Kaʻau Crater Boys also coincided with the resurgence in local Hawaiian customs and tradition, as well as promoting the renaissance of Hawaiian culture, especially among the local youth. They are an award-winning band very well-known both on the Hawaiian islands and on mainland U.S.A. They have been referred to as “legendary”.

Here is a video clip of the Ka’au Crater Boys performing Rhythm of the Falling Rain on KHNL TV where you can watch Troy Fernandez picking the melody on his ukulele:

Link to ukulele music CD’s available by Troy Fernandez:

http://www.mountainapplecompany.com/blog/artist/troy-fernandez/

Links to further information about Troy Fernandez and his Hawaiian ukulele style:

http://www.easyukulele.com/troy-fernandez.html

http://www.gigmasters.com/Ukulele/TroyFernandez (for booking info)

http://www.mkaloha.net/hawaiian-events-infoblog/kaau-crater-boy-troy-fernandez-moving-to-los-angeles

Sailing Along On Moonlight Bay

MOONLIGHT  BAY – Music by Percy Wenrich, Lyrics by Edward Madden, (c) 1912

This is a very popular American song, almost a standard. Often referred to as “On Moonlight Bay”. This song was a hit in the 1942 film called Ship Ahoy starring Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell. In a musical/dance number at the end of the movie, Frank Sinatra sang a verse for the song, although the version generally heard on recordings is the Chorus only, repeated 3 times.

Sinatra’s lyrics:

Voices hum, crooning over Moonlight Bay

Banjos strum, tuning while the moonbeams play

All alone, unknown they find me

Memories like these remind me

Of the girl I left behind me

Down on Moonlight Bay

The song was one of a number of early-20th-century songs which were used as titles of musical films made by Doris Day in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. (Watching the Doris Day film, On Moonlight Bay, on the tcm website is a real treat when you see a scene where a ukulele is played!) The song was also a big hit in 1951 for Bing Crosby and son Gary Crosby.

Chorus:

[N.C.]We were sailing a-[C]long, on [F//] Moon-light  [C] Bay.

We could hear the voices [G7] ring-ing, they seemed to [C] say,

“You have stolen my [C] heart,

Now [F//] don’t  go [C] ‘way.”

As we [Dm] sang “Love’s Old Sweet [G7] Song,” on Moonlight [C//] Bay [F// C/]

[N.C.] We were sailing a-[C]long  (we were sailing along….)

on [F//] Moon-light  [C] Bay  (on Moonlight Bay….)

We could hear the voices [G7] ring-ing,

they seemed to [C] say   (seemed to say…)

[N.C.] “You have stolen my [C] heart   (you have stolen my heart….)

Now [F//] don’t  go [C] ‘way…..” (don’t go way…)

As we [Dm] sang “Love’s Old Sweet [G7] Song,” on Moonlight [C//] Bay [F//] [C/]

[N.C.] We were sailing a-[C]long  (we were sailing along….)

on [F//] Moon-light  [C] Bay  (on Moonlight Bay….)

We could hear the voices [G7] ring-ing,

they seemed to [C] say   (seemed to say…)

[N.C.] “You have stolen my [C] heart   (you have stolen my heart….)

Now [F//] don’t  go [C] ‘way…..” (don’t go way…)

As we [Dm] sang “Love’s Old Sweet [G7] Song,” on Moonlight [C//] Bay [F//]   [C///]

Ending:

As we [Dm] sang “Love’s Old Sweet [G7] Song,” on Moonlight [C //] Bay [F//]  [C /]

 

Check out these video sources:

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/355644/On-Moonlight-Bay-Original-Trailer-.html

 

 

You’re Sixteen

You’re Sixteen” is a song written by the Sherman Brothers (Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman). It was first performed by American rockabilly singer Johnny Burnette, whose version peaked at number eight on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in December 1960 and number 3 in the U.K. in 1961.The original 1960 version of “You’re Sixteen” by Johnny Burnette is featured prominently on the 1973 motion picture soundtrack of the film American Graffiti. Ringo Starr made this song a hit in 1973, his version featuring a “kazoo solo” by fellow ex-Beatles band-mate Paul McCartney.

I have always enjoyed this ukulele version of the song, in the Key of F. Since the songs starts out low and goes up high while singing, I have found the Key of F to be the most comfortable for my singing voice. I have come across it, unfortunately in a group strum situation, in the Key of C, and found it positively unbearable to sing. It was too uncomfortable in the lower octave, and un-managable singing higher in C. My advice to those who wish to transpose the key of this song: if the Key of F is too low for you, try transposing up one Key to G, and vice versa.  Another likeable thing about the Key of F, is that the chords swing around the lowest 3 frets on the neck. And also it is a great way to learn that Bb chord and really practice it: you only have to play it once per verse! Ukulele players who enjoy fancy endings will appreciate the quick down-up played on E6 followed by F6, illustrated in the PDF attached to this post.

You’re Sixteen – Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman, 1960

You come [F] on like a dream, [A7] peaches and cream,
[Bb] lips like strawberry [F] wine.
You’re six-[G7]teen, you’re [C] beautiful and you’re [F] mine. [C7  for 4 beats]

You’re all [F] ribbons and curls, [A7] ooo what a gurl,
[Bb] eyes that sparkle and [F] shine.
You’re six-[G7]teen, you’re [C] beautiful and you’re [F] mine. [F7  for 4 beats]

Bridge:
[A7] You’re my baby, you’re my pet, [D7] we fell in love on the night we met.
You [G7] touched my hand, my heart went “pop”,
[C7 – stop] OOO when we kissed, we could not stop!
You walked [F] out of my dreams and [A7] into my arms,
[Bb] now you’re my angel di-[F]vine.
You’re six-[G7]teen, you’re [C] beautiful and you’re [F] mine. [D7  for 4 beats]

(higher) You’re six-[G7]teen, you’re [C] beautiful and you’re [F] mine. [D7  for 4 beats]

All [G7] mine, all [C] mine, all [F-5 strums] mine! [E6][F6]-down strum on E6, up
strum on F6
(E6= barr across fourth fret, F6=barr across fifth fret)

This Land Is Your Land

This Land is Your Land was originally written by Woodie Guthrie in 1940. However, what I am presenting here is the Canadian version, so if you were looking for the original you’re going to disappoint.

In 1955 a group of Canadian folk singers called the Travellers adapted this song with Canadian geographical references. This version became an important piece of Canadiana and was included in songbooks for Brownies, Girl Guides, Scouts Canada, public elementary schools and many other children’s organizations.

(Once again, it’s a big, long song so I have provided it in PDF format.)

This Land Is Your Land

 

The Unicorn Song

The Unicorn Song, by Shel Silverstein, 1960. This was the very first hit for The Irish Rovers on their very first record in 1966.

http://www.theirishroversmusic.com

The Irish Rovers are a Canadian Irish Folk group created in 1963; best known for their international TV series and popularizing Irish music in North America. In 1963 George Millar and Jim Ferguson, both young Irish immigrants, entered an amateur show in Toronto and won. They soon relocated to Calgary with additional family members in the group and struck out for California in 1965. They became so popular on the performance circuit in that state that by 1966 they were offered a record deal and their rendition of The Unicorn Song became #11 within the first 2 months of its’ release, remaining in the Top 20 for 2 years. In 1968 they received the JUNO Award for Folk Group of the Year. They were regulars on TV shows such as the Smothers Brothers, and went on to host their own show, The Irish Rovers Show, in the 70’s.

The Unicorn Song