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:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Tiptoe Through the Tulips"

At last the world is beginning to discover that one can sing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” without imitating Tiny Tim. The song itself is quaint and charming, particularly in its original context. It was introduced in the 1929 film GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY, performed by the popular tenor Nick Lucas, “The Crooning Troubadour”. Another hit song he introduced in that film was “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine”.
Nick Lucas in GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZMHJX4b9bU&feature=related
In 1968, the song was permanently tainted by the novelty performance of Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) who managed to imprint the song with a whimsy and buffoonery it carries to this day. But with the renewed interest in the ukulele, the song is once again seeing the light of day--and indeed deserves to be enjoyed again. Tiny Tim was a fan of Nick Lucas, and in fact, had him perform this song on the occasion of his wedding to Miss Vicki on December 17, 1969 on THE TONIGHT SHOW. On the same show he also sang “I’m Looking at the World Through Rose-Colored Glasses”.
Songwriters Joseph Burke (1884-1950) and Al Dubin (1891-1945) collaborated on many other songs including “All I Want to Do Do Do”, “As Long as I Have You”, “Crosby, Columbo and Vallee”, “Darn Fool Woman Like Me”, “So is Your Old Lady” and “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine“. Separately, their collaborations included hits such as “Oh, How I Miss You Tonight”, “Rambling Rose”, “South American Way”. Al Dubin wrote dozens of songs with Harry Warren over many years, beginning in the 1930s, and included titles such as “We’re in the Money”, “Shuffle Off to Buffalo”, “I Only Have Eyes for You” and their 1935 Oscar winner “Lullaby of Broadway”.

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