UKULELE MUSINGS 2020–14 November 2020, No. 48: “Making Changes While Bidin’ Our Time”

Well, at last the waiting is over and, according to most, we have a President Elect and a Vice-President Elect.  It’s about time the counting, suits, and counter suits are ended and we can all get back to work! 

Speaking of work, I’ve been racking my brain (and checking out my songbook collection)  .  .  . 

.  .  .  to come up with some aptly titled tunes to celebrate this historic event.  Stretching my imagination, here are a couple apropos songs plus another that is “sorta.”  First let’s take a look at that great old tune right there in our Blue Book, “There’ll be Some Changes Made!”

 While the song doesn’t exactly outline an administrative program for the next four years, and its message is more personal than political, the title says it all!

Changes” was composed by Benton Overstreet with lyrics by Billie Higgins.  First published in 1921, it has become a jazz standard.  In keeping with the revolutionary nature of the recent election with Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris being the first Black woman (to say nothing off the daughter of immigrants) to be elect elected to the second highest office in the country, the songwriters, publisher, and first vocalist and musicians to record “Changes” were all Black—ninety-nine years ago!

Click or tap on the next image or link to hear the original recording.

The popularity of the song outside the jazz world took off with the 1941 movie “Play Girl” that featured our song “Changes.” 

It was then picked up by Benny Goodman and his orchestra and, over the years, has been recorded by just about every vocalist of note in every style from Swing to Western Swing—including a ukulele version or two. 

For Goodman’s big band interpretation, click or tap on the next image or link.

Now for a ukulele take on this musical chestnut.  Click or tap on the next image for a peek and listen. Yes, it’s a Flea!

Moving on  .  .  .

A second appropriately titled song is really is a “life metaphor” for President-Elect Joe Biden.  “Bidin’ My Time,” was composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by his brother Ira.  It was introduced in the 1930 Broadway musical review “Girl Crazy.” 

This, too, has become a jazz standard over the years and recorded by many, many singers.  Click or tap on the next image or link to hear the original recording.

During the past election season the title of this song—to say nothing of the simple melody—gave a lot of witty songsters some low-hanging fruit for parody.  With no offence to any of you blue, red, or purple voters this past week–and simply for the sake of a good chuckle–here are a couple of musical takes on this song.  Tap or click on the next image or link to see how our 1930 song melds with some nifty 2020 visuals.

This next one was too good to pass up. Click or tap on the next image or link to listen to a piano playing (sadly not ukulele playing) guy having some fun at the old upright.

Alas, this is the only ukulele version of this tune I could fine on that vast storehouse of YouTube!  Most of us could do a better job.  A challenge?  Anyway, click or tap on the next image or link to give a polite listen.

Let’s end this musing with a third song that might seem appropriate for the latest presidential race. It might have been the ballot box motivation for more than half the voters out there, but I’ll only hint at the title of this one: “I’ll Be Glad When You’re **** ,You Rascal You!”  But, for the sake of civility and comity—to say nothing of avoiding accusations of criminal intent—I’ll let you, my gentle readers, search YouTube on your own for one of the twenty or thirty recordings of this 1929 tune that was among Louis Armstrong’s, as well as Betty Boop’s, greatest hits.  Nuff said?  Report back.                              

 So, we made it through another election season.  We did the best we could and now—here come the mid-terms in 2022!  No time to stop for breath  .  .  .

But, here’s a simple little ditty we should all take to heart.  Click or tap on the next image or link for a bit of inspiration.

So, stay safe, stay sequestered, stay masked  .  .  . 

.  .  .  keep that sense of humor .  .  .

.  .  .  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.

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