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:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"The Girl in the Little Green Hat"

One of the many British period films in recent years was the engaging 2005 musical MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, set in the London of the World War II years. The film stars Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins and presents the story of a performance hall run by Mrs. Henderson which embarks on a series of all-nude reviews in an attempt to stay in business during hard times. One of the stand-out numbers, for me, was this jaunty, up-tempo tune from 1933, performed by pop star Will Young. Of all the songs I've ever attempted to learn by memory, this one takes the prize as the most difficult. The nonsensical lyrics are the biggest challenge with their many repetitive but slightly altered phrases. On top of that, one must learn exactly where to breathe in order to finish without gasping for breath. After a year or so of trying, I've yet to make it through from start to finish without some hitch or stumble. Perhaps that's why it's fun to keep trying.
Songwriter Jack Scholl wrote songs for Warner Bros. from the mid-'30s to the mid-'40s, the best known being CASABLANCA (1942). His best-known songs include "Throw Another Log on the Fire", "My Little Buckaroo" and "It Had to Be You." Co-writer Max Rich's best known songs include "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile" and "One For All - All For One". As for the third contributor, Bradford Browne, I have yet to find any details about his career.

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