A ukulele player's look at jazz and popular songs of the early 20th Century



One of the joys of learning the ukulele is discovering the wonderful songs of long ago--the beautiful melodies and lyrics that deserve to be remembered and revived. Thankfully, vintage sheet music abounds on the internet, and so I've had a great time tracking down lots of the old songs, transcribing them to chord/lyric sheets--in a good key for my voice--and then learning them on the uke. If you would like to receive my chord/lyric sheet for any of the songs featured here, email me and I will be happy to share them.


Have a listen to Van and Schenk, a popular Vaudeville duo:

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Cryin' For the Carolines"

One of the most popular and prolific songwriters of the first half of the last century was the amazing Harry Warren (1893-1981), a personal favorite of mine. His long string of #1 hits include: "I Found a Million Dollar Baby", "Forty-Second Street", "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", "Jeepers Creepers", "Chattanooga Choo-Choo", "At Last" and "I Only Have Eyes for You". He wrote more than 400 songs for close to 90 movies from 1928 through 1981. His Oscar winning compositions include "Lullaby of Broadway", "You'll Never Know" and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe".
Songwriter Sam Lewis (1885-1959) also contributed many well-known songs to the American songbook, including "Dinah", "For All We Know", "Rockaby Your Baby With a Dixie Melody", "Five-Foot-Two, Eyes of Blue" and "My Mammy".
Joe Young (1889-1939) did not have the output of Warren or Lewis, but his well-known works include "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" (with Fats Waller), "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "Was That the Human Thing to Do".
Warren, Lewis and Young joined forces to create the haunting "Cryin' for the Carolines" of 1930. I first heard it a few years ago on one of my LPs, and finally managed this year to get my hands on the chords. I performed it at the Lone Star Uke Fest's open mic, but the video wasn't decent enough to share. Hence, I recorded this home-on-the-sofa version to post.


  1. Ahhh - another one of my favorites. This is beautifully done, wonderful strums!

    Impeccable taste, Tim! ;)

  2. Thanks, John! I'd love to hear any song recommendations you may have, particularly songs from the thirties, of course.