Uke Tunes

Uke-ifying my favourite songs


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It’s Christmas!!

…and it’s time to roll out all the usual Christmas tunes. There’s always something reassuring about those old chestnuts (roasting on an open fire), and it is that recurring familiarity that wraps us in a comfort blanket of sound and memories. But those old standards were new once – hard as it seems to imagine – and their all pervasiveness hinders equally classic, but much less well-known songs, from getting the attention they deserve. So this post is a my small attempt to put that right, as I present four Christmas songs that – in my book – *are* classics, and deserve far wider attention than they get.

<A Pretty Good Christmas>  <Christmas Day>  <I Wish It Was Christmas Today>  <Vegetarian Christmas>

 

Exhibit One. A Pretty Good Christmas, by The Disappointment Choir. I know *nothing* about this band, although I probably should investigate them further off the back of this absolutely gorgeous Christmas song. This falls into that slightly-miserable-but-ultimately-hopeful category of Christmas tunes. As I write this we’re awaiting the results of the UK 2019 General Election, and the words to this somehow chime relevant at the moment – “I don’t know what the first of the next year will bring / But it’s going to be a pretty good Christmas”.

<A Pretty Good Christmas>

 

Exhibit Two. Christmas Day, by Kasey Chambers. Kasey Chambers is an Australian country singer and songwriter who, over the period of 20 years has established a solid body of work. Chambers was raised a a Seventh Day Adventist, and although she hasn’t aligned herself with the church for a long time, she retains a strong spiritual belief, something that comes through in Christmas Day (from her 2014 album, Bittersweet) which picks up on the religious aspects of Christmas, and offers a telling of the Christmas story.

<Christmas Day>

 

Exhibit Three. I Wish It Was Christmas Today, by Julian Casablancas. Former lead man from The Strokes, I Wish It Was Christmas Today was originally a novelty item on the US variety show Saturday Night Live. But Casablancas amped it up, gave it a new wave work-over, and from that emerged this real banger. There is just *no* reason why this song shouldn’t be up there on the Christmas repeat list.

<I Wish It Was Christmas Today>

 

Exhibit Four. Vegetarian Christmas, by Feet. Bang up to date, Vegetarian Christmas was – as I write – only released a week ago. But in my book this deserves to become a regular fixture on Christmas playlists. I’ve actually seen Feet a couple of times this year, firstly supporting Lauren Hibberd, the second time headlining themselves. And they were fab! Intelligent guitar-driven indie in a vein not dissimilar to Sports Team, this is a band that is full of character, imagination and variety. Vegetarian Christmas extols the virtues of a meat-free diet with a surprisingly traditional, family-centric view of the season.

<Vegetarian Christmas>


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Backhanded Compliment – Sunny Sweeney

sunnysweeneyI’ve been going through something of a country phase lately. Things tend to go like that for me, but certainly for the last 6 months or so there’s definitely been a country bias to my listening. Albums from Sturgill Simpson (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music), Suzy Bogguss (Lucky) and Willie Watson (Folk Singer Volume 1) have all been highly enjoyed, alongside older albums from Laura Cantrell and Rodney Crowell. But most recently it’s been Provoked by Texas singer/songwriter Sunny Sweeney that I’ve been really getting into.

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I hadn’t even heard of Sunny until very recently, but through one of those “if-you-liked-such-and-such-you-might-like-this” recommendations I gave her a go. And what a great little record it is. Provoked is fairly straight down the line country, and appears to be her first album since being dropped by her previous record company (home to Taylor Swift) and a divorce. Those events clearly had a strong influence on the songs on this album, but not in a woe-is-me kind of way, rather in a sassy, fighter / survivor kind of way. This is clearly not a woman to be messed with!

Backhanded Compliment is from that album, and is a very funny response to those kind of double-edged comments which we’ve probably all been subject to – which say one thing but clearly, intentionally or not, mean another. Set to a bouncing rhythm, it’s clearly written from a woman’s perspective, and she’s not shy with the comeback!

And so to the song sheet. Nothing particularly complicated in here, other than the fact that it’s in Bb, which results in some slightly unusual chords (if you want it in an easier key – to play – try this version in G). A nice chugga-chugga rhythm is all that’s needed (listen to the video to get an idea). And enjoy!

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Lost Stars – Adam Levine / Kiera Knightley

beginagainI’m a sucker for a major 7th chord. I’m not great on my music theory, and I’m sure somebody could probably explain what it is about the sound of a major 7th that makes me feel that way. All I know is that I love the sound of these chords. In any key. So it was no great surprise when I started digging out the chords to this song to realise it was full of major 7ths.

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Lost Stars is from the movie Begin Again, a comedy/drama about a singer-songwriter who is discovered by a struggling record label executive and collaborates with him to produce an album recorded in public locations across New York. Featuring the acting talent of Kiera Knightly, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfield, James Corden and CeeLo Green, the other true star of this film is the soundtrack. And in that came another surprise. For the soundtrack is largely the responsibility of one Gregg Alexander. Now that might not exactly be a household name, but for those in the know this is a huge deal. For Gregg was the force behind the band New Radicals. In many people’s eyes, New Radicals were a one-hit wonder known only for their mega-hit You Get What You Give. But the album that song came from, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, is a stone-cold classic, one of my all-time favourites, and is similarly rated by many who know it. Yet almost as soon as the band became successful, Gregg broke up the band. In fact it appears that the success, and the implications of that, were in fact the catalyts for the break-up, Alexander realising that the life of a touring, promoting band was not what he wanted, and what he really wanted to do was focus on song writing. There was some evidence of that subsequently, including songs for Ronan Keating (particularly Life Is A Rollercoaster) and Sophie Ellis-Baxter (Murder On The Dancefloor), but – at least as far as I was concerned – Alexander fell off the map.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered (how, I can’t quite remember) that he had resurfaced again, mainly as a writer, for Begin Again. Listening to the soundtrack album it is obvious, really. You can just imagine this as a New Radicals album, and the fact that is mainly led vocally by Adam Levine (Maroon 5) and Kiera Knightley doesn’t alter that. The whole sound and vibe is, for me, a direct follow-through from Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too.

So to the song. The film features this a number of times, including a simple and sparse version sung by Kiera Knightley, and there is also an acoustic version by Adam Levine (accompanied, I think, by Greg Alexander). But this (below) is probably the definitive version.

And the song sheet? Well again, there is nothing too tricky here, although when singing it you might need to avoid the high falsetto vocals of Levine and bring it down an octave (I know I did, particularly on the “I thought I saw you out there crying” bridge bit!) – the Kiera Knightley version is a useful guide in that respect. On the song sheet you’ll see I’ve put the C, D and Dm chords as barre chords on the 3rd and 5th frets – I personally prefer the sound of this, but you can substitute with standard versions of those chords if you want. And clearly there’s lots of that yummy Fmaj7 chord sprinkled liberally throughout the song. There are also quite a few ukulele versions of this online (just search for Lost Stars ukulele in YouTube), although this wonderful instrumental version is a definite stand-out – way-beyond my capabilities, though. Enjoy!

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End of year review of most popular songs of 2014

So I thought it would be a bit of fun to have a look at what the most popular songs downloaded from this site are. Not because I want to demonstrate how popular this site is – if I published the actual number of downloads you’d soon realise that  would be a laugh! And not because I want to pander to demand – given some of the stuff I put on here that clearly can’t be the case. But just out of general interest and curiosity to see what people go for. Unsurprisingly, the more popular songs are the more well-known, classic, long-living songs, whereas some of the more obscure (and I recognise that there are some real obscure stuff on here!) don’t appear to do so well. Doh! So the top 5 downloaded song sheets this year have been (cue drum roll):

  1. Baker Street, by Gerry Rafferty
  2. Wayfaring Stranger
  3. How Long Will I Love You, by The Waterboys (although I suspect it is the Ellie Goulding version that’s prompted it’s popularity)
  4. Rhinestone Cowboy, by Glen Campbell
  5. One, by U2 (& Johnny Cash)

 

Clearly on a site like this, that whole-year summary favours material that has been on the site for the whole year. So I thought it would be interesting to balance that with a list of most popular donwloads that takes into accout how long the posts have been published. So that list (and I refuse to disclose the complicated statistical science behind these figures :)) looks like this:

  1. Rhythm Of The Rain
  2. Baker Street
  3. All About That Bass
  4. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
  5. Wayfaring Stranger

 

Clearly none of this reflects whether anybody did anything with the songsheets or found any of them useful! No matter.I hope that those who did find them got some enjoyment from them.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.


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My best of 2014

What follows is a selection of some of the best music I’ve come across this year. Not all of it is new for 2014, but it was new to me, and that’s what matters. You can listen to it all via. the playlist below. I’ll say upfront that this (largely, with one notable exception) is non-ukulele related, but normal blog service will be resumed at a later date.

[Life of Sin – Sturgill Simpson]  Sturgill’s second album, “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music”, is one of those quiet growers that finds itself near the top end of many a year end best-of list. And deservedly so. Whilst it may superficially come across as a retro outlaw country sound, a little digging finds it filled with existential metaphysics, “reptile aliens made of light” who “cut you open and pull out your pain”, and a fair degree of druggy indulgence. Not that it eschews country conventions totally – there’s plenty of drink, sin and redemption in here as well, some real, well-written songs, and musically it’s bedded in the world of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and the like, albeit with a sometimes harder and more rocking sound, and the occasional psychedelic wig-out. (00:00)

[I Wonder – Rodriguez]  This clearly isn’t from 2014. But this year I did finally get to see the wonderful documentary “Searching for Sugar Man”, which tells the almost unbelievable story of Sixto Rodriguez. Rodriguez recorded a couple of albums in the early 1970s, but his career never really took off, and so he turned his back on the music business and took mostly low-paid work in Detroit. Unbeknown to him, however, copies of his album made their way to South Africa (then very isolated from the rest of the world due to Apartheid), where they became bona fide hits. Yet it wasn’t until the late 1990s that he finally found out about how successful his music had become. A scenario you just can’t imagine happening in today’s hyper-connected world, you wonder how different his life would have been if he had been aware of the success he had.  I Wonder, with it’s distinctive rolling bass-line, is from his 1970 debut album “Cold Fact”. (02:25)

[Forget – Ben Watt]  Ben was the non-Tracey Thorn half of Everything But The Girl, who had a string of successes during the 80s and 90s. But this was only his second solo album, a 30-year delayed follow-up to his pre-EBTG debut North Marine Drive. Since EBTG retired in the late 90s, Ben had largely focussed on DJ-ing. But following a number of traumatic personal incidents, including the death of his parents and a sister-in-law, he took up the songwriting muse, and Hendra was the result. A collection of grown-up songs reflecting on lived experiences, they are brought alive in part by the contribution of ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who paints his distinctively fluid electric guitar across the album. Forget is – to be honest – one of the more upbeat songs on the album. But listening to it is not a depressing experience, just one of recognition and understanding – hallmarks of the best music. (04:54)

[James Alley Blues – Willie Watson]  Willie Watson was a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show. I only know of them. But his solo debut album, Folk Singer Vol. 1 came to my attention because it was put out and promoted by Gillian Welch’s label, Acony. Like Welch and her cohort Dave Rawlings, Watson’s album is a stark country / folk / blues hybrid that sounds like it could be 100 years old. Picked guitars, banjos, blow harmonicas and plaintive vocals bring these songs, old and obscure, to life. And yet for all it’s harking back to the past, there’s something distinctively touching and refreshing about the sound and these songs that draws you in. As an example, James Alley Blues is a song from the 1920s, written and performed by one “Rabbit” Brown. (10:01)

[Houston – Robert Ellis]  Robert Ellis was a new name to me this year. The Lights From The Chemical Works is the third album from the Nashville-based singer songwriter. Fleshing out his country and folk sound with a confessional/observational singer/songwriter ethos, and mixing the music up with elements of free jazz, bossa nova and other delights, the album is a rich mine of sounds and lyrics. Houston is a case in point – a love letter to a city he is leaving, needing to move on but aware of all the city has given to him, the song starts as a plaintive ballad, loping along with an unusual groove before crashing out with free-form bass topped with screeching electric guitars. (14:04)

[Do You Ever Think Of Me – Laura Cantrell]  Laura Cantrell has been on my radar for a long time, but it was only this last 12 month that I took the plunge. Cantrell’s sound is more of a straight-down-the-line country one, inspired by a clutch of original country artists, including Kitty Wells, recording a whole album of her songs in 2011. This song, though, is taken from her 2000 debut album, Not The Tremblin’ Kind, a firm favourite of the late John Peel who described it as “my favorite record of the last ten years, possibly my life”. Driven along by a constantly pulsing organ, but still with that familiar country twang, Cantrell’s vocals – as ever – are maybe an acquired taste; ever so slightly off key, but with songs this good you can forgive her. (21:13)

[Played Out – Peter Bruntnell featuring Rumer]  Peter Bruntnell is a master song-writer, but totally hopeless at self-promotion. As a result he has acquired a hugely admiring but numerically very small fan base. He’s never going to cross-over in any huge way, but all the while he keeps turning out quality songs such like this, a small selection of the music-loving population will be kept very happy. Originally starting off with an almost Britpop sound in the late 90s, he moved on to a country-tinged Americana sound before adopting a more pastoral english pop/folk sound of late. This track is a re-recording of an earlier song for a recent Retrospective collection, a version enhanced by the velvety vocals of the lovely Rumer. There’s lots more quality where this comes from. (23:52)

[Hard Act To Follow – Sylvie Simmons]  The best ukulele-based album of the year! In fact its the only one that I’ve heard, but that doesn’t distract from the quality of these songs. Sylvie is a music writer who has been there and done it all during the LA music scene of the late 70s and early 80s, of late becoming renowned for a biography of Leonard Cohen. Originally including ukulele-accompanied versions of Cohen songs during book readings, she has recently recorded an album of her own songs, from which this is taken. Her ukulele skills aren’t going to worry the likes of Jake Shimabukuro, nor are her vocals going to trouble Aretha Franklin, but it is the songs  that are the jewels here. In fact the sparse settings are perfect for these observational songs borne of a life lived. (27:31)

[The Prettiest Girl In Church – The Waterboys]  Fisherman’s Box, released towards the end of last year, is a mammoth undertaking, to be honest. Comprising 121 songs from the legendary Fisherman’s Blues sessions, it marks the journey of a band moving on from the big music of This Is The Sea, delving deep into roots music of all sorts (country, blues, folk) before arriving on the west coast of Ireland and fully embracing the joys of traditional Irish music. Whilst not all of it is essential, the quality control is kept remarkably high, and amazing how much fantastic stuff has been kept locked away in vaults for 25 years. Including the 25-minute Soon As You Get Home was going to be impractical here, but this country-tinged, just-the-right-side-of-corny original song from Mike Scott demonstrates the light-and-airy sound of a band in their stride. (30:38)

[Colfax Avenue – The Delines]  Willy Vlautin is a genius. That’s a conclusion I’ve come to this year. This time last year I knew nothing of him. But off the back of the chance discovery of The Delines’ lead track, I Won’t Slip Up, I found myself being drawn into his world. Vlautin started off as songwriter and lead singer with Americana band Richmond Fontaine. But he has also established a parallel career as a novelist, writing concise, humble, affecting and compassionate tales of the disenfranchised underclass in the US. I’ve consumed all of them, and they’re all great. The Delines is another side project, a bunch of songs written by Vlautin specifically for vocalist Amy Boone, in a retro country soul style, which comprise vignettes that pick up similar themes to his novels. Colfax Avenue (title track for the album) is a case in point – the tale of a sister who goes searching for her traumatised ex-Army brother up and down Denver’s Colfax Avenue, a notorious haven for prostitutes and junkies. With compact turns of phrase, Vlautin and Boone take you there, and you ache for the circumstances that led them there. (34:05)

[The Troubles – U2]  In all the hoopla that surround the release of Songs Of Innocence to 500 million iTunes accounts, the quality of the music being released seemed to get a little overlooked. This collection definitely marks a return to song-writing form for the band. Focussed on the formative days of the group, the songs are personal in a way that hasn’t always been the case of late. The death of Bono’s mother, the first reaction to the sound of The Ramones, Dublin bombings and the like are the backdrop and heart of this record. The Troubles is *not* about The (Irish) Troubles, but is more about troubles of the heart. Enhanced by the vocals of swedish singer Lykke Li, this brooding song may not be what you expect from U2. Which is why it’s here! (37:29)

[Billy – Prefab Sprout]  Paddy McAloon, the man behind Prefab Sprout, is a songwriting genius. His songs were always something of a superior quantity in the band’s heyday of the 1980s, something which probably didn’t help in the commercial stakes but certainly enhanced his critical credentials. However for the last 10 years or more he has suffered from a succession of health problems, including a detached retina and tinnitus. As a result he’s unlikely to be able to perform again. And yet towards the end of last year, out of nowhere, came Crimson/Red, the first all-new Prefab Sprout record for over 10 years. And it was more wonderful than you could ever hope for. Recorded totally alone, this was probably one of the strongest set of songs he had put out. Lush and romantic as every (Burt Bacharach is a big influence) these were songs from and for the heart, with melodies to die for. Billy is an upbeat example of that, a dream of a song about the joys of music. (42:08)

[Super 8 – Jason Isbell]  Jason Isbell’s Southeastern topped many an end-of-year list last year. So I thought I should investigate. And my, were those polls right! Isbell spent some time with Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers as guitarist and songwriter, but in 2007 branched out on his own. Initially adopting something of a country/rock sound, Southeastern was something of a departure, being more of an acoustic, country-tinged singer/songwriter collection. Recorded off the back of a spell in rehab, the album goes to some pretty dark places and as such isn’t an easy listen. But the songwriting is superb – crisp, focussed, economical, personal and emotive. Super 8 is atypical in sound, being more of that southern rock sound, but tells its tale with a punch and with tongue firmly planted in cheek. (46:38)

[Spring – Bill Callahan]  Bill Callahan has been ploughing his own lo-fi furrow since the early 90s, without any significant commercial success, but building something of a cult following under the band name Smog. Recently he’s been releasing albums under his own name, and 2013’s Dream River (from which this track is taken) was another critical favourite. The songs often eschew the classic verse/chorus/middle 8 structure, being more freeform in nature, with Callahan’s not-always-tuneful barritone vocals semi-reciting the lyrics. Conceived as a “last record you could listen to at the end of the day” Dream River paints pictures in lyrics and sound that connect both with the details of nature and humanity. It is beautiful. (50:01)

[Under The Pressue – The War On Drugs]  I’ve only become aware of this in the last week or so, but have fallen in love with Lost In The Dream, the third album from US band The War On Drugs. Topping many a year-end poll over the last few weeks, I’d given this a try a few times this year and it didn’t click. Goodness knows why, because when I tried it again last week it was a revelation. Blending the classic rock of the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and echoes of early Waterboys with the relentless, propulsive motorik krautrock rhythm, drenched in a rich and evocative soundscape that conjures the expansive sounds of the open road and the wide plains, this is visionary mood music of the highest order. Something to be immersed in, to be lost in, to dream in. (55:02)

[Higgs Bosun Blues – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds]  Cave has ploughed his own distinctive furrow since coming over from Australia in the early 80s with the rage and noise that was The Birthday Party. Something of a renaissance man, he has written novels and film screenplays, and acted, alongside developing a rich (and mostly dark) musical legacy. Higgs Bosun Blues (blues in spirit rather than in technical musical terms) is from last years Push The Sky Away, an album of songs that are far more subtle than some of Cave’s work, and an album that often works better as a cohesive whole than a collection of individual songs. Tunes are a little thin on the ground, this isn’t really sing-along territory, and meandering and meditative are probably words that sum it up well. But it is an album to lose yourself in, and one whose riches slowly reveal themselves if you patiently persist with it. (1:01:11)

[Even If That Were True – Suzy Bogguss]  Suzy Bogguss is steeped in the traditions of country. Her latest album, Lucky, is a collection of Merle Haggard songs, and her career has been fairly close to the country mainstream. That said she has recently branched out with a collection of jazz/swing covers, and another of American folk standards. I only became aware of her this year, and this beautiful ballad comes from her 2007 album Sweet Danger. Beautiful, plaintive vocals with wonderful phrasing overlayed on a sparse and open acoustic accompaniment make this a heartbreaking gem of a song. Well, it’s country isn’t it. (1:08:57)

[Molly-O – Simone Felice]  Simone (pronounced Simon!) is another songwriter who has branched out into writing fiction. Like Willy Vlautin, Felice’s writing focusses on the marginalized and forgotten, and does it with compassion and humanity. Molly-O is taken from his most recent album, Strangers, and is a rousing, crying-out-to-sing-out-loud song of hope in spite of the evidence. (1:12:32)

 

In addition to these, notable commendations should go to Iris Dement (There’s a Whole Lot Of Heaven), Neil Cowley Trio (Kneel Down), Zsófia Boros (Canción Triste) and Tord Gustavsen Quartet (The Embrace).


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The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) – U2

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I’ve waxed lyrical about U2 in the past, and for years, despite their hugeness as a band (or maybe because of it) that’s felt a desperately uncool position to take. Not that being cool is something that I’m overly concerned about, but they’ve certainly attracted their fair share of detractors. I can understand that to an extent – reaching as big an audience as possible has always been in the DNA of the band, and the idea of being a culy favourite is almost anathema to them. So the things they’ve done and the stunts they’ve pulled to maintain that position have sometime rankled. And that’s before you get to Bono’s “do-gooding” and the tax situation. Those are easy things to pick fights on, but personally (and as a fan I declare a relative lack of objectivity here) I think the almost instinctive U2-hating knee-jerk reaction has become a lazy conformance to stereotype.

The recent launch of their new album “Songs of Innocence” into 500 million iTunes accounts, unbidden, was greeted with the to-be-expected cries for these vociferous haters. But it’s been interesting over the last month or so, after the initial noise died down, to see how many people are discovering (or rediscovering) the band as a result of the stunt. Which to a certain extent justifies the action. Certainly Bono has commented that the band were afraid that this collection of songs (some of their most personal in recent times) wouldn’t be heard, and that they wanted to get them out there and give people a chance to hear them. People certainly had that chance, even if they chose not to take them up on the offer.

The album is one that looks back, as the title suggests, to the early days of the band and its members as they were growing up. In that sense it is a concept album, although not with the overblown pretentions that might be associated with such a label. For what it’s worth, I think it’s their strongest collection of songs for quite a while. “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” harks back to the early days of punk, and crytalises the bands (and particularly Bono’s) reaction to the adrenalin rush of that music, and in particular the sounds of The Ramones  – “the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard”. Whilst some may accuse them of bandwagon jumping, the Ramones were a significant influence on U2 right from the beginning, even if that’s not immediately obvious in the band’s sound in general, and in this song in particular. And the tribute is certainly appreciated by those who knew Joey Ramone.

So here’s the songsheet. I’ve actually based this around the “(Busker Version)” included as part of the Acoustic sessions on the deluxe version of the album. I can’t find a copy of that on YouTube (here’s a Spotify link), but listen to this version from a recent BBC session with Jo Whiley, or this version from an Italian TV performance. The songsheet probably makes more sense when listening to these versions, and being familiar with the song will certainly help in getting a feel for how to play it. A few notes though. The [Asus4] bits at the end of each line in the chorus are a couple of grace notes that – to my mind – add something at that point (and are prevelant on the busker version). The [A5] is a power chord, and the song probably works well with power chords throughout, but some of them are hard to play on the uke(!), so I’ve only kept it in for the unaccompanied riff bit. Also I’m not totally convinced about the chords in the “We can hear you…” bit, but they sound OK. Enjoy!

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All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

allabouthebassOK, so you’ll know by now that this isn’t the usual kind of thing to pop up on here. But for a number of reasons I thought this appropriate.

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Firstly, this was suggested by Sarah, one of my fellow Flukes, at a band practice on Thursday evening as something we might do. So I dug it out (not being overly familiar with chart pop these days) and it seemed like something that might work.

UPDATE : It really does work! Here’s some video of The Flukes performing the song at Southampton Ukulele Jam’s Christmas Cabaret back in December.

Secondly, on looking the song up I came across this version, which is Meghan singing the song live, accompanying herself on a ukulele. So clearly it’s a song for ukulele!

Finally, the theme of the song – about having a positive body image regardless of your size – is one that resonates a little too painfully at the moment. My youngest daughter has been suffering from anorexia for the last three years, and it has been something of a tramatic journey, both for her and us. It’s a highly misunderstood illness, and often comes with a whole load of other related conditions, of which poor body image is one. So it’s a subject I’ve become somewhat more sensitive to of late. Consequently this song gets a strong thumbs up in my book. Contrary to the “wisdom” of the internet, the song isn’t about encouraging people to be big/fat, it’s about accepting your body shape for what it is, and making the most of it. Yes, for sure there are people who would benefit from losing weight, no one would deny that. But there are others, maybe just as many, for whom not having this level of acceptance leads to a downward spiral of weight loss and self-abuse, something that might start with good intentions but soon becomes an uncontrollable monster that takes over their lives and consumes everything. The reasons for people developing conditions such as anorexia are many and varied, and one little pop song isn’t going to change that. But if it encourages debate and thinking about the need for positive body image, then that has to be a good thing.

So here’s the song sheet. It’s a simple, straightforward song, nothing tricky from a chords point of view. You might want to polish off your rapping chops to get the feel for the song as a whole, but what ever you do, give it some attitude. I’ve put the song in two keys – the first (A) is the same as the original recording. The second (G) is the key that Meghan plays it on the ukulele (listen here). Enjoy!

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