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 Parish in Mission, Kansas on November 12, 2018. Chuck Wood was the master of ceremonies. Chuck had everyone introduce themselves and reveal their favorite childhood song. There was quite a variety and no duplicates (A Ukester first!)
Chuck started things off with Harry Belafonte's Calypso masterpiece, THE BANANA BOAT SONG by Irving Burgie and William Attaway who provided lyrics for an old Jamaican folk melody. One of the most performed and parodied songs. The Ukesters hit the "day-os" with perfection.
Next up, Chuck led us in the Royal Guardsmen's continued saga of Snoopy's WWI heroics with RETURN OF THE RED BARON in which the beloved beagle challenges the Red Baron to a duel only to have the cowardly baron run off and eventually market a line of frozen pizzas!
Larry Herndon was up next with an interesting, rare version of THE WABASH CANNONBALL as performed by the Carter Family. The Wabash Cannon Ball was actually a train on the Wabash, St Louis and Pacific railroad. The song was initially titled THE GREAT ROCK ISLAND ROUTE but was re-written by William Kindt in 1904 and given the title we know it by today. The song is part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. It is the oldest song on the list.
Holly brought COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart and Wes Farrell. About a young, wet behind the ears fellow who falls for a Mexican beauty who is the girlfriend of the baddest dude south of the border. When the inevitable encounter comes between he and the menacing boyfriend, the young feller does the noble thing and runs for his life. A great hit for Jay and The Americans.
Steve hauled out I WISHT I WAS IN PEORIA by Rose, Dixon and Woods about folks who get themselves in situations so desperate they would rather be in a rather plain Midwestern city than go on. An early novelty song recorded by, among others, the amazing Frank Crumit.
David took us out to the old Wild West with Gene Autry's BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN. Originally performed by Ray Whitely in the movie "Border G Man". Autry liked the song so much he and Whitely re-wrote it in 1939 and the song became Gene Autry's signature song. A hit during the cowboy craze of the late 1930's and early 1940s.
Chuck led us in IS ANYBODY GOIN TO SAN ANTONE by Glenn Martin and Dave Kirby which tells the sad story of a love affair gone awry with the bitter guy walking down the highway in the rain regretting his relationship with the woman he's leaving behind.
Mike Kelly announced a possible workshop with Lil Rev in early April and a workshop with Danielle Ate The Sandwich and Victor and Penny called "Wonderstruck" to be announced.
Chuck got the music flowing after the break with LOOKING FOR THE TIME (WORKING GIRL) by Nanci Griffith. A rather dark song about a woman of the streets who is bitter and callous in rejecting a guy's pathetic come on. It seems the turning point in her life came when the only man she ever loved was sentenced to life in prison. Griffith is a talented song writer who writes "slice of life" ballads. She won a Grammy in 1994 for her album "Other voices, Other rooms".
Mark Muder provided our Classic Country moment of the evening with Hank Williams Jr's I'M FOR LOVE. Hank Jr lists all the terrible things happening in the world and places love above them. He asserts that he's for love (when he's not ready for some football!)
Holly was back with more love, leading the Bacharach/David song, WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE. A big hit for Jackie DeShannon in 1965. Bacharach said that he wrote the main melody in 1962 but it took Hal David another two years to come up with the lyrics. Once the lyrics were in place the song came together in a day or so.
Judy provided the only Thanksgiving related song for the evening, COLD TURKEY by the mysterious Bucky Habanero. It relays the joy of the Thanksgiving turkey followed by the monotony of leftover gobbler. Mr Habanero also penned I FOUGHT THE DOG AND THE DOG WON and PATCHES (THE BLOW_UP DOLL SONG) and that old Christmas favorite, SANTA SHAVED.
Rick provided us with our Beatlemania moment, EIGHT DAYS A WEEK by Lennon/McCartney. A Fab Four calendar crushing favorite! The Ukesters got into this song with fervor. So many great ballads! So many great arrangements!
Steve brought the dance tune of the evening, THE HALF FAST WALTZ by Al Trace. Trace was a bandleader from the 1920's to the 1950's. His most popular tunes were YOU CALL EVERYBODY DARLIN' and IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMING I'D HAVE BAKED A CAKE. You can imagine my surprise that his Wikipedia biography made no mention of THE HALF FAST WALTZ.
Holly brought the evening to a close with LOVE'S BEEN A LITTLE BIT HARD ON ME by Gary Burr and performed by Juice Newton a song about the non-glorious side of love. Burr is a prolific songwriter whose songs have been recorded by every contemporary country artist to include Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Reba McEntire and Faith Hill to name a few. This song was his first hit.
David Firman embellished the evening with his baaaaaad bass! Ken Kelly provided a few harmonica interludes with aplomb! Jim Donovan provides our monthly collection of songs! Thank you, gentlemen! Ruby Renee provided the laughs for the evening, thanks Ruby!
Chuck Wood did a splendid job of keeping the meeting moving right along. Thanks, Chuck!
There was $54.00 in the donation box for the good and hospitable people of St Pius X Parish. Thanks to the parishioners and contributors!
The next meeting will be December 10, 2018! Same time! Same Place! Mike Kelly (the unordained Kelly) will be the skipper! Yay, Mike!
REMEMBER: MUSIC SELF PLAYED IS HAPPINESS SELF MADE!
re-entrantly yours, Steve