UKULELE MUSINGS, 13 August 2021: THE HIATUS IS OVER! SORTA . . .

Hi Fellow Strummers.  The hiatus is over!  Sorta  .  .  .

Alison and I have settled (more or less) into our new home in the Lathrop Community here in Easthampton, Massachusetts. 

It’s just a couple of miles from our old place in Northampton that many of you fellow ukers have visited over the years. So, while we have let the old house go, we are happily hanging on to our Happy Valley community!  Remember the sweet old, maskless days?

Although the distance between the two houses is short, the effort to sell, pack, move, and nestle has taken an inordinate amount of time, will, and energy—particularly when relocating the infamous banjo and ukulele collection.  Never fear, however; it’s all here!   

Our email addresses stay the same.  The “Ukulele Musings” blog address hasn’t changed.  And, as long as my musical muse continues to prod me to ponder, research, strum, write, and post,  I’m “Back in the Saddle Again!” 

This is kind of a hokey tune to home in on, but the title says it all; and, after all, it is in our Yellow Book. Anyway, here’s a fun ukulele version of this Gene Autry musical chestnut from 1939. Click or tap on the next link or image for a bit of a practice session singing along with the singing cowboy himself!

Moving on (ahem), I did a quick search for any songs about moving days, packing and unpacking boxes, arranging and rearranging furniture but found few that touched those basic bases. Here might be a good idea though . . . 

Perhaps not!

Anyway, the themes of “houses and homes” pervades American popular music so it’s pretty low-hanging fruit to pick through. And, needless to say, more than a few of the tunes do, in one way or another, home in on domiciles or dwellings–albeit in a variety of quite inapplicable genres relative to our present circumstances!  Anyway, it’s fun to take a peek at a few of these “house” songs.

Just to set the mood, here’s a modern string band version of this music hall song written way, way back in 1901. It’s a bit maudlin and doesn’t have a thing to do with our move, but it is about a house! Tap or click on the next image or link, grab a hankie, and listen to this tale of a little boy, his house, and–alas– his too busy mother.

Although our new place was spotless and vermin free on move-in day, here’s another not quite appropriate “house” tune with great cover graphics!

And still another–this one more descriptive of the moving process rather than our new house!

You ragtime fans might want to listen to a syncopated piano version of this oldie that, once again, doesn’t have much to do with our move. But it’s another “house” song, again with great graphics on the cover. Click or tap on the next image or link to follow the chart and give a listen.

Anyway, here we are, Alison and I are home at last–sorta!

Moving on again (ahem, ahem), while this next tune certainly does NOT describe the quality of the house (or neighborhood) we have moved to, here is one of my favorite “house” songs, this one from 1932: “In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town.”  

Click or tap on the next image or link to listen to the original Ted “Is everybody happy?” Lewis recording of this oldie!

Needless to say, this tune has become a great jazz standard and has many ukulele covers on YouTube.  Here’s one  to have some fun with. Click or tap on the next image or link for a listen to some nice strumming.

If you want to try it yourself, you can get a chart from our good friend from “south of the border” (Connecticut/Massachusetts, that is), Dr. Uke.  For a thousand or so other great (and free) uke charts, just Google his website and be impressed! https://www.doctoruke.com/songs.html

And, of course, here is the ultimate ukulele “house” song, this time in the so-called “hapa haole” style!

Click or tap on the next image or link for a real ukulele (and hula) homemade Hawaiian treat! Almost as good as Spam and eggs!

Moving on (ahem, ahem, ahem), the same thing is true with songs about packing—“Pistol Packin’ Mama” just doesn’t strike quite the right chord here and probably is not PC these days. But a ukulele cover of this oldie from the 1950s is just too good to pass up. Click or tap on the next image or link just for fun!

I won’t even go near any of the hundreds of “Truck” songs out there.  Oh well, maybe “On the Road Again.”  After all, it is one of our favorites from our Yellow Book. Click or tap on the next link or image for this fun one.   

Enough for tunes; now for ukuleles!  I did a posting a couple of years ago on cigar box ukuleles. Not moving boxes but close, sorta!

But what I did run across in my internet wanderings are a number of ukuleles (and uke cases) made—of all things—cardboard moving boxes!  I can’t vouch for how they compare soundwise to my solid Koa Snowshoe but, here they are!

I think my Snowshoe wins! But, I guess this might be the silver lining of the cloud-filled moving process for some ukers. But, What would we do without boxes and, for that matter, our kitties and ukuleles?  

Settling in now, be aware that these musical musings of mine will continue as long as my will and wit are willing to work together, but probably not on a weekly basis as for the past four or five years.  After all, we did move to a retirement community!

You can always check out some of my musings from the past, however, by going to nohobanjoandukulele.blog and scrolling amongst the offerings. Here stacked up in my new studio/shop/office space are most of them–saved on paper in three-ring binders the old-fashioned way!   

Oh yes, while our new home is in what is described as a “retirement community,” Alison and I are getting to know a lot of quite lively, certainly not “retiring” new neighbors.  And, yes! There is music!

So good friends—new and old—give me some slack but, nonetheless, stay safe, stay strumming, and STAY TUNED!  And alas, once again as they say we must, stay masked and, of course, keep moving on! 

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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