T’UkeS group song

So here’s our group’s best song, I think, we can play anywhere in the town of Tillsonburg, the county of Oxford, OR in Norfolk County: Tillsonburg by Stompin’ Tom Connors. This is a real easy song, only 3 chords. However, it was surprisingly long, with the “Tillsonburg” chorus after each verse, which have to be sung in order because they tell a story. This affords plenty of opportunity for the audience to sing along with the chorus, so it remains popular.

Here are a couple of misunderstandings I had about Stompin’ Tom Connors;

  • I believed he was born and raised in Ontario
  • I thought he made the town of Tillsonburg famous
  • I had no idea that he sang so many songs about Canadian towns, places and famous people
  • I never knew where Leamington was until I heard the Ketchup Song (I was born and raised in Long Point….)
  • I thought he was from Toronto

Boy! Was I wrong! You can Google the answers to all of those points. Jeff gave me a book out of his dad’s garage about 5 years ago, “Stompin’ Tom Before the Fame” and wow, what a dramatic writing. I followed it up with “Stompin’ Tom and the Connors Tone: the Legend Continues”. They were both page-turners! What I got out his autobiographies was, he was ahead of his time. And it took a long time for big music execs to accept him. But the number one thing that brought his songs into our hearts was that they were so Canadian. About our country, our towns, our railroad, myths, legends, roadways, cultures, etc and so on. Two or three years after I read his books my husband and I were touring PEI in the summer of 2017, taking in as many historical sites for free as we could for Canada’s 150th birthday. Any where we went in PEI there was a sign somewhere referencing the life of Stompin’ Tom Connors. What a cool claim to fame!

And all we got’s Tillsonburg!!

Ukey Update

So THIS happened….!

A new uke from my awesome hubby, who surprised me with this tenor Ukulele for Christmas! Yes: your Ukulele dreams can come true at Christmas-time!

This is a really beautiful ukey, by the name of “Aklot” – have no idea where it comes from – but it plays like a dream! It has this nice mellow resonance to it with no harsh “bark”, it’s easy to tune, it came with brand new strings on it so it sounds awesome and is easy to play.

That being said, I’ve played the odd tenor ukey for a few seconds here and there. But I’ve never played an entire song on a tenor uke and I’ve never played one for over an hour!

I keep this guy right beside my desk in my home office, and we play songs together on a daily basis. After 4 weeks I picked up my pineapple and…..oh boy. My fingers are awkward! Already! I have assimilated to the larger fretboard!! NOOOoooo!!!! LOL

Do not despair: I have begun to rotate my instruments and my fingers have already gone back to their “first position”, LOL.

I really like the deeper tone of this new Ukulele. The body seems on the deep side and rings a bit longer, which I also enjoy hearing. My awesome hubby says it is also louder (than my soprano) and he enjoys the sound of it as well.

He had responded to an online posting from a lady on Metcalfe street, who said she bought this tenor Ukulele kit off Amazon and changed her mind after a month. She was willing to “let it go”, as a package, for $200. She posted great pictures. He thought, “that’s a nice looking uke!” So he drives over to her house at 10 o’clock at night, and bargains with her on her front stoop like it’s a John Deer lawn mower with attachments, dings and scratches. But he came back with his trophy and put it all right in my arms (for much, much less than 200 bucks!!), and it literally looked like new – as if she opened the box, took one look and said “awe hell no” and packed it back up.

A little Woody….

This cute lil guy was also purchased for me by the awesome hubby, again from an online marketplace ad with pictures, and ironically, the seller also lived on Metcalfe street!

The seller liked to deal in antiques, sports cards and coins, so he attended many collectibles venues. During the pandemic restrictions in 2020, while no events were being held, he went through some items he had accumulated, restored or cleaned them, and started selling them.

This particular Ukulele is a plastic Disney keepsake, adorned with a gold start decal on the head stock. You can’t tell from the picture, but it is incredibly scratched up all across the Toy Story decal and the entire body and neck. It came to me with absolutely NO strings on it, no bag or box or packaging of any kind. I think we paid $10.

I like to play You’ve Got a Friend in Me on this one.

The only D-tuned Uke…..

We drove all the way to Brantford for this soprano at the end of last summer (2020).

A lady found these items whilst cleaning out her parents house for sale. They were up in a closet, no box or anything. The book and packet of strings were in a clear plastic bag.

This ukulele has a Harmony decal on the head stock. I could na see anything inside the body. There were old, red strings on it! I promptly re-strung it!

The book, Ukulele Hits, was of real use to me as it had 16 songs I have never heard of in my life beginning with I’ll be Seeing You and ending with Miss You.

The body and neck of the uke are wooden, but there is a plastic fret board on it, and the tuners are behind the head stock. There is hardly any wear on it except for two or three small areas in the red decal around the outer edge of the face.

Package deal….

This is possibly my hubby’s all-time best deal.

One of the seniors he supports told him she “didn’t love” her ukulele and the “equipment” she had. She told my husband “someone who loves to play ukulele should take it all off my hands”. So, he made her an offer, she accepted and he loaded it all up in his van and brought it home:

Ohana soprano Ukulele; tuner and Aquila strings packet; gold tweed hard case; solid black steel music stand; Hercules folding music stand with vinyl carry case; an adjustable folding uke stand; 2 slightly used Daily Ukulele songbooks by Jim Beloff.

So we’ve been keeping busy during the pandemic work-at-home restrictions, and I have more Ukuleles now than I ever planned on owning, even though 2 of them are stricktly for display (Woody and the Harmony).

Begs the question: what’s hanging on your walls?

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!

1 Year Update

Wow, just WOW! A year has flown by, and I feel I owe my now 45 followers an update.

I saw today – while I was finally taking the plunge to buy a new website domain name – that my most recent post was April of 2020. And at that time I fully planned on taking advantage of down-time and working from home to research some songs and put up some new arrangements. But obviously, that didn’t happen!

So I’m going to start at the end here and let you know that the domain name of my ukulele songs blog has now been changed to catsukulelesongs.com. It was previously catporritt.com, which is what I got stuck with the first time around. It think the new name is much better.

ALSO. I see we have a new blogging format??? I don’t know if I can find my way around here, as I like to post pictures, and include an uploaded pdf of my song, and perhaps also embed a video to go with it. I feel like I might have to take a workshop and I find that idea highly irritating, because I already taught myself how to do all of that. Painstakingly taught myself, one mistake at a time. And now you take it away, WordPress? It’s not like this blog is free, trust me, I PAY FOR THIS. Not impressed.

Lastly, I just want to say, I had planned on letting everyone know what I was up to last year, from having to stop meeting for uking to the closure of my work place office, but, since I can’t post pictures – looks like – I’m not going to bother today.

Instead. I will be FORCED to do the stupid workshop and then I will be posting a much more detailed update.

Or not. If I can’t get the pictures and uploading back, THERE IS LITERALLY NO POINT and WordPress, I really hope you’re reading this right now….

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:


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. 🙂

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

Here is the songsheet: COUNTRY ROADS

Cat’s Ukulele Songbook #4

Sorry, this one took a bit longer to put together. I usually spend the time over the Christmas break compiling all the songs and formatting them but this year I was busier than usual.

Last year, we compiled a huge file of 80’s songs for a theme song night we held in Delhi at the Music Cafe. I also compiled Legion jam songs into two formats: one set of just lyrics with chord letters (so guitar players would feel comfortable) and an original set of song sheets with ukulele chords. I ALSO compiled a binder of Christmas songs of sheet music so my sister and her friend could play along with me for a “sing along” party that she held at her house. Co-ordinating their sheet music in the same key as my ukulele songs was a nightmare. I finally had to concede on some and just re-write mine in the same key as the sheet music. Sheet music, by the way, is hard to find on the internet for free. So remember that the next time you’re surfing around trying to find a song in a particular key: just get off yer duff and transpose it yourself, lazybones!

So the influence for this year’s songbook comes from the 80’s theme song night and the Legion jam songs. I posted hardly any contemporary or modern ukulele songs this year. I had gone back and revisited 2 songs that I had promised to the Colbie Callait category, so that’s what I contributed to that genre.

Cat’s Ukulele Songbook 4

The traditional Christmas ukulele songbook is still in the works. I think I have 7 songs out of 18 formatted. It will be coming out in the fall.

You can find all the other songbooks I compiled on the Songs tab. Scroll down to the bottom to the Songbooks section.

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Fallin’ For You by Colbie Callait

Be careful what you wish for! I started this new category and let it sit there. So now I want to fill it up with some good songs by Colbie Callait.

Here is Bubbly

With Official Vevo vid:

The original song is in the Key of A, sorry.

And Fallin For You with the appropriate Youtube vid from the colbiecallait channel:

I hope you enjoy it. (That’s my goal)

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!


Wild Horses in C


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