Cat’s Ukulele Songbook #3

Related image

It took me a while, but I finally got all of my 2016 and 2017 song arrangements into one big PDF. This does not include any internet songs that are already out there that I had made links to in various posts in those two years.

In the upcoming year I am working on some songs that I call “Oldies”, that are not played on our modern radio stations these days. One in particular I am fond of is Buttons & Bows. I have already looked at some Oldies that offer some really sweet chords that I enjoy playing, even if it meant that I had to go to Youtube and listen to how the song goes. Some of these are Autumn Leaves, The Summer Wind and We’ll Meet Again. When examining older songs you get to learn what sweet chords compliment those Keys and they stick with you. You end up carrying them with you into other songs that are in the same Key.

For example, one of my friends enjoys Bill Bailey, Don’t Fence Me In, Hello Ma Baby, Shine on Harvest Moon, and Wait til the Sun Shines Nellie, to name just a few. Some of these songs have tricky chords, as anyone who has ever tried I’ve Been Working on the Railroad will probably agree. If you have an interest in these and more, you can download this little PDF doc called “Fleabag Music”, which was produced by some volunteer uke players and made available at the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum website, the 4th Peg and at EX Folk dot com, but here it is for your convenience: Fleabag Songbook.

Image result for bicycle built for two

I also like these older songs because they harken back to a different historical time. Some of them are a real glimpse into what life was like at that time. I mean, how often do you see a bicycle built for two?

Cat’s Ukulele Song Book 2017:  Cat’s Ukulele Songbook 3



Don’t Have a Blue Christmas

Image result for lonely christmas tree

Seasons Greetings! Here is an arrangement I made for Blue Christmas, that classic Elvis Christmas song that is guaranteed to cause all eyes to overflow in the old folks home.

I always use some embellishments that I derive from sliding up or down or over or just lifting one finger off the chord and back on, or adding one finger to a different string for one beat while holding down a chord. The effect I’m going for is a bluesy little slide sound.

I am fond of Gdim and G or G7, and I like to use Em7 with G7 or G. Depending on the song, sometimes I like to turn Am into the Hawaiian D7 by pressing down the second string in the second fret and lifting off, on and off, on and off.

I just found an arrangement of I’ll Be Home for Christmas that uses all of my tricks. You can download it here: I’ll Be Home For Christmas I believe I found it in one of the TBUS Christmas ukulele songbooks (Tampa Bay Uke Society).

And the secret to really making Blue Christmas sound nice and sweet is the smooth progression from the C major chord to the G minor chord. Many people like to avoid this chord and will go so far as to transpose the arrangement into a key with an easier chord to place in it’s place. It’s not always the best singing key though.

Today, I will take all that away by showing you one little trick to get you into position to make that Gm chord seem effortless and add that sweet minor sound to the song. Really, after you look at my cheat sheet you will wonder what you were ever worried about, LOL.

Gm Blue Christmas

The third song I am sharing today is an Eagles classic, Please Come Home For Christmas C. It’s in the Key of C. I used to hear this song on the radio station in Ottawa in the 80’s. I really loved it.

Enjoy your holidays!

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.


We’re Here For a Good Time

Hallelujah Alternate

Pride and Joy

Image result for pride and joy

Hello again. I have taken a bit of time off, trying to decide if it’s worth it to continue on this website, and after finding that I do come up in Google searches – on pages 3, 4, sometimes 5 – I will be continuing on.

Cheryl and I just started our third year running the Tillsonburg Uke Society together. As much as we feel like we know what we’re doing now, we still have moments when something we planned falls apart and we feel like, dang! we don’t know what we’re doing!!! One thing we have learned is not to pay for a website. Our Facebook page and submitting info to the Community Events column in the local newspapers has done plenty for us, so we have let that Meet-Up website go.

We also learned to relax and take it easy, and we also decided to shorten the lesson and have the play-along portion of the evening run longer. This comes from the “knowing what we’re doing” side of things. Another new thing we are trying is an alternate location at a local church to keep the continuity flowing for lessons. The Red Station Room is not available to us on the first Tuesday of every month, so we used to take that night off and not have lessons. But, despite our best efforts, many times players have showed up to an already occupied room, realizing too late that it was first of the month.

Of course, with the changing seasons and holidays coming and going, we both like to rummage around our numerous binders for songs and also on various internet sites. Just going to the BUGs website is a goldmine of songs and song books.

Just found this one, never seen it before, full of comprehensive instructions about Blues for the ukulele, including numerous great Blues songs to use their various theories with, which include not only chords and strumming ideas, but also picking and solo-ing instructions. I LOVE it when it’s actually laid out for me, notably using the Key of A for an example, which just happens to be my favourite Key.

Markelele’s Ukulele Songbook I don’t know why it’s called this, even the title page does not really give away the fact that the subject is Blues. However, once I got started I was stuck on Pride and Joy which I heard a singer perform at karaoke at the Norfolk on Thursday night.

From the about songbook, I was immediately hooked in to the way you can play back and forth between the A and A7, the D major and D7 chords, and then you off-play those with the E7 chord, back to A and then he explains what a turn-around is, and he also has a page with the turn-around chord for every Key, and then another page with the blues chords for every K. Plus lots of tips, playing instructions, diagrams, etc. I will be trying out a number of songs this week, but to start us off, here is Pride and Joy, in A.



16251621_10154061678761890_9175884794073072690_o (1)
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.”

Image result for graham nash
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.”

Summer Strum


My summer adventure this year was not camping with the kids, which for a couple of years has meant my 2 daughters as my son has been working, but off on a trip to the East coast of Canada with my hubby Jeff, to visit Prince Edward Island. It was completely amazing to me to be driving around in a place about the size of our two counties (Haldimand and Norfolk) and yet this place is an actual province.

True to Cat form, I brought my ukulele. Since I had literally just finished reading “Stompin’ Tom Before the Fame”, I imagined myself playing my uke in the Buick Century while Jeff drives and sings along. Nothing even close to that took place. When not driving my job was Navigator. Also, we left at 6:30 p.m. Friday night and hit Edmundston, New Brunswick at 7:30 a.m. our time the next day. (Yes, there IS a time zone change!)

DSCF0562Nevertheless, I threw some songs together in a blue duotang and shoved it in my bag with another duo labelled “iTIN”. (Ha ha. Itinerary, get it?)

By the time we made day-tripping and sight-seeing plans I had only strummed a few minutes here and there, so finally I told Jeff we had to set aside some time for the beach and also for me to play my ukulele in PEI. That’s the dream, right? LOL

Here is my play list: 1-2-3-4 by Feist, All My Loving by the Beatles,

My audience

Buttons and Bows (Yes, by Dinah Shore and Bob Hope), Can’t Buy Me Love by the Beatles, Harvest Moon – Neil, Hooked on a Feeling by BJ Thomas (for Jeff), I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt, Million Dollars by BNL, The Log Driver’s Waltz by Wade Hemsworth, Long May You Run by Neil, Moondance by Van Morrison, Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke (also for Jeff), Riptide by Vance Joy, Say That You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac, Stand By Me – Ben E King, Still the One by Orleans, The Summer Wind, Up on Cripple Creek by the Band, Wagon Wheel in C, We’re Here for a Good Time by Trooper, and Whiskey in the Jar, which oddly enough I never played.

Played my ukulele on Cavendish beach, part of PEI National Park. DSCF0498 I was a bit nervous to play around any sleeping beach-goers and there were quite a few families there so I set up our chairs back by the life-guards’ hut. For some reason I kept thinking that I don’t want to disturb other people. It turned out that after I played for a couple of hours and we were actually packing up to go get a late supper, several people approached us to tell us how much they enjoyed listening to us sing songs on my uke and that was a great feeling of appreciation. One guy told us he was homegrown PEI and he stayed on the beach longer just so he could listen to us. That was pretty cool because we were very much enjoying the water, the sand and rocks on the beach, the seagulls and the sun. It was a great day!


Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke

Image result for google

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 – deep!



Summer Heat

Image result for desert with snow

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!