UKULELE MUSINGS 2020, No. 24–6 June 2020: “A Not So Nasty Pleasure or Vice”

During these weeks of sequestration and social distancing I’ve spent a bit of time in relative inactivity (tranquility?). Nonetheless, I find myself still able to muse on a wide range of ukulele- and music-related topics.  Alas, however, more than a few of these thoughts seem to touch on what some of you gentle readers (but certainly not all) may see as a few nasty (to some) habits that infuse our world. But, unsurprisingly, these have inspired much musical attention over the years—that is to say, the vices and pleasures of alcohol, tobacco, and–oh yes–bacon. 

Now, where else could my mind drift and still keep my musings relatively G-rated?  So, over my four morning newspapers, with my second large mug of coffee in hand and my thoughts roaming from potential topic to theme, there poured out the answer!  Coffee, Coffee, COFFEE! 

So, remember the anniversary of D-Day today, and pour another cup of something—coffee or whatever passes for coffee these days—

and set your uke aside between sips and follow along.

I grew up listening to my folks remember when hamburgers were five for a quarter, with a free cup of coffee. 

And, often I heard the oft-spoken opinion: “That and a nickel will buy you a cup of coffee.”  Those were the days, at least for coffee.  Can you get anything for a nickel at Starbucks today?

A so-called “teaching moment:”


Coffee songs of those days were pretty simple and spoke of the good things in life.

Here’s a ukulele version of this Depression Era “try-to-make-the-best-of-it” song. Click or tap on the next image to hear some strumming and singing.

Here’s a lively rendition of this tune with some great Art Deco graphics. Mmmm good! Tap or click on the next image to give it a go.

Here’s the quintessential version of this one by Frankie himself. Click or tap on the next image for a cuppa from Brazil.

Tap or click on the next image to hear the original version of this song by the King Sisters themselves–one of the original “Beautyshop Quartettes.”.

Here you go with Bill Haley and His Comets. If you don’t mind some 1950s rock, click or tap on the next image.

A torchy rendition of this old tune. Tap or click on the next image to listen in.

And, of course, many, many others.

And, we shouldn’t forget the ukuleles, some old . . .

And some new.

And, of course, the all important containers!

Now for a jazzy ukulele version of, appropriately named “Coffee Cup Rag” played on a vintage Martin Style “O” soprano. Tap or click on the next image to hear some nifty strumming!

So, stay safe, stay masked, stay distanced, stay well brewed, figure out a socially acceptable way to enjoy your coffee or whatever, and STAY TUNED!


Author: NohoBanjo of Northampton and, now, Easthampton, Mass.

Hi friends, neighbors, and fellow strummers. These “musings” are based on my interest and study of Banjo and Ukulele history, lore, and music. My goal is to both educate and enlighten by sharing what I have learned within a broad musical and historical context—with honesty and, at times, a bit of humor. Needless to say, your thoughts and comments are, as always, welcome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: