Tag Archives: Richard G’s Songbook

Southbank Chorus Festival 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2014 – Part 2

Victoria Embankment Gardens Buskers 140405

Victoria Embankment Gardens  - Uke-Wielding Buskers

Off again without my uke for a day of vocal workouts at the Southbank Chorus Festival, as I bought some lunch for later on, I was delighted to spot a group of lively buskers by Victoria Embankment Gardens, with the lead singer wielding a ukulele & dancing around.

As with last year, there were events all over the Southbank complex – on the Riverside Terrace, Front Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, up in the St Paul’s Roof Pavilion, down in the Spirit level basement (very echoey – great acoustics) & dotted around various bar areas.

I’d decided to try out four of the free workshops & listen to whatever choirs I could catch in the gaps.

The song-sharing session by FUNdamentally Gospel split us into our singing range groupings & began with some vocal warm-up exercises. We then learnt the Jackie Wilson number (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher. For one of the choruses, we were singing a syllable each, which certainly kept us on our toes.

Trade Winds Choir Performing On The Riverside Terrace At Chorus 140405

Trade Winds Choir Performing On The Riverside Terrace At Chorus, Southbank

Glee Club Ascot were another jolly group. We warmed -up by singing Let It Be, then – again in groups for our vocal ranges – launched into the Motown classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. In addition to the grand piano, we has a full orchestral accompaniment recording, including a segue into another number for the middle eight & dance moves!

Next, I joined Irish composer John Browne, who was showcasing his new musical play The Events that evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sparked by the awful killings in Oslo in 2011, the play moves these incidents to happen within a choir rehearsal. The play has 250 singers in it, mostly new each night as they are from the local community where it’s being performed, but a couple of Dublin choirs were there to help us all out. We sang the haunting finale song We’re All Here.

Finally, I went into the Purcell Room for Pitch Bach to be part of an instant choir singing a Bach Chorale accompanied by pedal organ. Chorale 55 from the St Matthew Passion was very pretty but by then I think I was too tired to spend an hour reading a music score (especially as the workshop leader decided to only have us singing ‘la-la’ instead of the actual lyrics, which I’d have found easier to follow). But it did sound great being in the middle of the group.

On my way out, I caught a Latin American performance, with some fine flamenco guitar work from Camilo Menjura, which perked me up before heading home. Not bad for a completely free day out!


Here are Glee Club performing Perfect Day out on the Riverside Terrace:


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PLUC Member’s Choice – Beatrice

My favourite for 2013 is After Hours by Velvet Underground, because it is so good to rediscover music from the past. It also holds a bit of mystery for me: it is familiar and yet I can’t pinpoint when I heard it.


This is Cheryl Tofsrud performing the song:


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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Bob

For my favourite ukulele tunes, some that I like are:

Love Her Madly – The Doors – Great rhythm to this song but with a tricky section
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue – good chord changes
Dream A Little Dream - Mamas & Papas
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
The Locomotion – Little Eva
Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals
Venus – Shocking Blue
The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie
She’s Not There – The Zombies

In the classics I enjoy:

I Got A Woman – Ray Charles
Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino
Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra etc
Music To Watch Girls By – Andy Williams
Summertime – Porgy & Bess
Close To You - Carpenters
My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone


Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Brian Hyland
Monster Mash – Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & his Cryptkickers – (Halloween special)

For Christmas:

Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Rockin’ Robin – Jackson 5

Another I like is Rasputin - Boney M.

I also have Wooden Heart in D with the melody notes, which I think works better than in G.

Most have clever chord changes & a good tune.

I‘ll stop there but I have more. They’re all nicked from over the interweb – if you’d like  any of these please let me know on club nights.

I have watched quite a lot on YouTube & most things by Sophie Madeline are really good, in particular is Wolf, a song originally by First Aid Kit, but it’s not really a strummer as such. But I did find a good one-man band version of Love Her Madly by logophile.



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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Colin

I’d like to nominate the Eugene Ukulele website.

Great site, old songs that are not the normal run of the mill, a nice singing voice and an awesome collection of ukuleles. Plus he will tab a song if you ask him.



Here’s Butterfly Bandito playing the 1930′s number, My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes:


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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Anthony

My vote is for...It Must Be Love.

Born in ’74, the version of this song I remember is by Madness.  When you first approach the song, the A chord variants are a little confusing but when you play it, it really bounces along.  You can go for the relaxed reggae feel or put more energy in for the ska/Madness feel.

I’m still a little confused about how to get the most outta the ‘nothing more, nothing less, love is the best’ section. But I’ll make sure I check what other people are doing when it’s played next time at PLUC.

Really great song, people love singing along with you too.


Here’s Mark Strings’ uke cover version:


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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Wee Kheng & Steph

Next up, two votes for a well-known Dolly Parton number,

Wee Kheng explained:

I like to nominate Jolene because it is a catchy tune. Not keen on the lyrics though (one woman begging another not to take away her man – arrgh!)…Though I am not keen on the meaning of the lyrics, the overall effect is lost if it is an instrumental version, so I’d like to submit it as it is.

Steph tells us:

My favourite is still Jolene! I’ve always loved the song and was delighted that the arrangement only has a few basic chords so, as a relative beginner, I could sing and play one of my favourite popular songs straight away.

Here’s a perfromance of Jolene by Adzuki & Smokey Stubbs:


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Happy Halloween – Trick Or Uke Treat

Enjoy this fun version of Blue Öyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Gus & Fin (GUGUG). More cowbell!

1 Comment

Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Uke History & Trivia


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PLUC Tales – The First Rule Of Uke Club…

Anthony Checking Out Tip 3a

Anthony Checking Out Tip 3a

I’m a recent convert to the world of ukulele. I’ve been playing around about 10 weeks and am really enjoying it. I’ve managed to learn the basics and am managing to play many more full songs than I thought I’d be able to play at this stage when I first picked the thing up.

Anyway… I was asked to put together a few words on what I’m enjoying and not enjoying about ukulele.  I’ve tried to do this below, its a little rambling (like myself), its personal to me and hopefully you’ll take these comments in the way that they were meant.

What I like… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Members' Items


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Top Of The Ukes

UK number one on this date in 1965 was the Sonny & Cher hit I Got You Babe. Exactly twenty years later, the UB40 & Chrissie Hynde cover version also topped the charts. Here’s Sergio Algozzino’s (& his sister’s) uke version. It’s like there’s a mirror between them!


Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uke History & Trivia


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Uke-o-vision Song Contest

Tonight sees the Eurovision Song Contest. Be prepared for plenty of cheesy numbers; sarcastic commentary & the usual regional block voting! Here is Jeff Meechai’s cover of the UK’s 1967 winning entry from Sandie Shaw, Puppet On A String:


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