Mathews’ Monthly Musing
July 2018

All the songs from this meeting can be downloaded on the Songs & Music page. (Thanks Jim Donovan)


The Ukesters assembled in Ken Kelly Hall at St Pius X Church in Mission, Kansas on July 9, 2018. Holly Soptick and Nancy Howell led the meeting. The theme was dance songs.

Holly started things with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit from the early 1970’s DOWN ON THE CORNER by band front man, J C Fogerty. The song celebrates a skiffle band named Willie and the Poorboys and their enthusiasm. It started the meeting off in high energy.

Nancy was next with DO YOU WANT TO DANCE by Bobby Freeman who made it to number 5 in the 1958 charts. Later on the Beach Boys did a surfing version and in the early 1970’s Bette Midler did a slow dance version on her debut album. Nancy had us do the wild and woolly Bobbie Freeman.

At this point, the ladies had us introduce ourselves and name our favorite dance tune. The Ukesters were all over the board with bluegrass, rock, classical, country and waltz to name a few.

Chuck Wood brought TIME ENOUGH FOR ROCKING WHEN WE’RE OLD which refers to the rocking chair as opposed to the musical style. It was written by Stephin Merritt a singer songwriter who is an eccentric who only wears brown clothes he also fronts several bands to include, The Magnetic Fields. The song uses the reverse advice of waiting until you’re old to do things as opposed of doing things while you’re young..

Holly and Nancy were up with SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. The song was first recorded by Ben E King and the Drifters in 1960. The singer warns his girl that she might be walking home if he doesn’t get the last dance of the evening. Pomus and Shuman also penned: THIS MAGIC MOMENT, TEENAGER IN LOVE, CAN’T GET USED TO LOSING YOU and VIVA LAS VEGAS.

David Firman led SHAKE IT UP by Ric Ocasek, front man for The Cars. The song was written well before The Cars came into existence and it references dancing, hair styles and having fun.

Holly and Nancy brought ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK written by Max Freedman and James Myers in 1952 and recorded by Bill Haley and The Comets in 1954.

Although it was not the first successful rock and roll number appearing after

Haley’s CRAZY, MAN, CRAZY and Big Joe Turner’s SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL but is considered to be THE song that brought rock and roll into the mainstream.

Mike Walker was up next with AT THE HOP by Artie Singer, John Medora and David White which became a smash hit for Danny and The Juniors in January 1958. A smashing performance was rendered at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 by the group Sha Na Na. It also appears in the movie, American Graffiti.

Nancy and Holly were back with DO YOU LOVE ME NOW THAT I CAN DANCE written by Motown Mogul, Berry Gordy and a big hit for The Contours and later The Tremeloes. Sung by a fellow who believes he can win his girl’s heart with the dancing lessons he’s taken.
THE UKESTERS TOOK A BREAK!!!!!

Coming off break, Jim Dickison led us in THE LOCOMOTION by Carole King and Gerry Goffin from 1961.  It was a hit for Little Eva who recorded it first in 1961, Grand Funk Railroad recorded it in 1974, Carole King recorded it in 1980 and Kylie Minogue in 1987. This duo wrote so many great songs.

There were some announcements:

Nancy thanked all who played at the Old Shawnee Town’s “Jammin’ on the Green” on June 27, 2018 in Shawnee, Kansas. Great audience and a great time! Thanks to David Firman and Nancy Howell for setting it up.

Chuck Wilson announced that the 5th Annual Ukulele Slam would be held October 13, 2018 from 11am to 3pm at H J’s Youth and Community Center located at 6425 Wornall in KCMO. Chuck has done a great job building this event and people literally come from all over the state and some from out of state to participate. Open mike, jamming and vendors. It’s a great time!

Speaking of Chuck Wilson, he also demonstrated his new toy, a harp ukulele, he played a portion of the Journey song FAITHFULLY. It’s a beautiful instrument both in appearance and sound. Chuck made it sing!

Linda Tilton will be conducting a Short Session in ukulele performance skills this weekend.  Check the e-mail for specifics.

Back to the music with Steve leading HILO HATTIE DOES THE HILO HOP by McDiarmid and Noble. The song was supposed to be performed by a beautiful Hawaiian girl at a 1936 performance but the girl became sick and a middle age Hawaiian woman named Clarissa Haili stepped forward and performed a comical hula dance. It was a big hit and Miss Haili actually changed her name to Hilo Hattie and the song was hers. She made a career out of it. She died in1979.

Judy White brought COULD I HAVE THIS DANCE by Wayland Holyfield and Bob House. A very nice and mellow song about a special dance between a couple and the memory of it that stays with them.
Mark Muder provided the Beatlemania moment with Lennon/McCartney’s I’M HAPPY JUST TO DANCE WITH YOU. The song was written for the movie A Hard Day’s Night for George Harrison to perform. Harrison was insecure about his own songs and the fellows were trying to give him some confidence.

Chuck Wood was back with a nice David Bowie number, LET’S DANCE (not to be confused with Chris Montez’s song from 1962) Bowie’s song has a darkness to it and interesting chording. It’s almost the exact opposite of the Montez song. As always with David Bowie it’s an interesting song and arrangement.

The next song was  geographically related. Holly and Nancy led us in the  TENNESSEE WALTZ written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King in 1946 and made a hit by Patti Page in 1950. It became the fifth state song of Tennessee in 1965.

Steve came next with WANNA GO BACK AGAIN BLUES BY Roy Turk and Lou Handman a song about nostalgically remembering the past, a hit for Ruth Etting in 1926. Recorded by Leon Redbone on his last studio album.

And last but not least, in the hope of accelerating Ken Kelly’s recovery from surgery, Nancy had us perform BUFFALO GALS with kazoos, Dr Pat’s whistle, and scatting. We sorely missed your harmonica, Ken. Get well soon!

David Firman provided his impeccable bass licks, Thanks, David!  Jim Donovan continues to provide the songsheets from each meeting. Thanks, Jim!
Holly and Nancy did a great job running the meeting, navigating through the plethora of songs. Great job!
There was $73.00 in the donation box. Thanks to the contributors and the wonderful parish of St Pius X, our gracious host!

The next meeting will be on August 13, 2018. Same time and place. Linda “The Belle of Barcelona” Tilton will lead. Hooray, Linda! The theme will be all things Hawaiian.

REMEMBER: MUSIC SELF-PLAYED IS HAPPINESS SELF-MADE!

Until August, I remain, yours re-entrantly,
                Steve