Monday, August 7, 2017

Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out for Ukulele

Putting together a ukulele or guitar version of a song students would like to learn is an exciting part of the job. The process goes something like this. First of all, I have a good listen to lots of different versions of the song for inspiration. Then I do a quick assessment of the students standard against the songs various interpretations.  Finally, I go back to the original or as close as possible to the original version of the song and have a listen. 

With all that musical information bouncing about, I get on the ukulele (or guitar) and work out a friendly version lots of people can play. It must be simple enough for you newer students but with some twiddly bits thrown in for more advanced students to keep you interested. 

Jimmy Cox's song 1923 song, "Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out" was chosen by, Jenny, one of my guitar students. I thought is was also a ripper song for students of the ukulele who may have been playing for a little while. It has quite a few chords. They're all simple enough but when you put them together they move quite quickly after each other. To keep it simple, down strums on each chord is the order of the day. That way, you can enjoy the chord changes. 

You can play along with me and my ukulele or better still, once you've got it, play with Bessie Smith. Word of warning, the solo's don't quite match up in her version and mine.  Check out some other versions and see if you can come up with your own solo bit based on your choices.

Here's me playing the ukulele version for you. Ignore the singing. I was pretending to be a blues singer without the liquor. Enjoy playing along. 

Here's a link to the recording of me and my ukulele:

By Jimmy Cox. Sung by Bessie Smith

Strum: Two strums per chord

(C)Once I lived the (E7)life of a (A)millionaire (A7)
(Dm)Spent all my (A7)money, didn't (Dm)have any (Dm)cares
(F)Took all my (B7)friends out for a (C)mighty good (A7)time
(D7)We bought bootleg liquor, (G7)champagne and wine
(C)Then I be(E7)gan to (A)fall so (A7)low
(Dm)Lost all my good (A7)friends had (Dm)nowhere (Dm)to go
(F)If I get my (B7)hands on a (C)dollar a(A7)gain
(D7)I'm gonna hold (D7)onto it 'till those (G7)eagles (G7)grin

(C)No(E7)body (A)knows you (A7)
(Dm)When you're (A7)down and (Dm)out (Dm)
(F)In your (B7)pocket, (C)not one (A7)penny
(D7)And my friends, well, (G7)I  haven’t any
(C)If I ever get (E7)on my (A)feet again(A7)
(Dm)And I’ll (A7)meet my (Dm)long lost friend
(F)It’s mighty (B7)strange with(C)out any (A7)doubt
(D7)Nobody knows (D7)you when you're (G7)down and out(G7)

C   E7  |  A/C  A7  |  Dm   A7 | Dm   c-1-  |  
ΠΠΠΠ  |  ΠVΠΠΠ |   ΠΠΠΠ   |  ΠΠΠ        |
♩♩♩♩|   🎵 ♩♩♩|    ♩♩♩♩  |  ♩♩♩  ♩   |

F  a-3--  B7   |   C  a-2-1- A7  |  D7 e-3--4 a-0- | G7 F#o C#o G7       | (repeat)
Π            ΠΠ  |   Π            ΠΠ |   Π                    |  Π V    Π V  Π  Π |
♩   ♩   ♩♩ |   ♩     🎵 ♩♩|   ♩   ♩ ♩  ♩  |  🎵      🎵   ♩♩ |

(C)No(E7)body (A)knows you (A7)
(Dm)When you're (A7)down and (Dm)out (Dm)
(F)In your (B7)pocket, (C)not one (A7)penny
(D7)And as for friends, well, (G7)you aint got any
(C)When you get (E7)back on your (A)feet again(A7)
(Dm)Everybody (A7)wants to be your (Dm)long lost friend
(F)I Said it (B7)straight with(C)out any (A7)doubt
(D7)Nobody Knows You When You're (G7)Down And Out (C)
C.png     E7.png     A.png   Dm.png   A7.png    D7.png     F.png    G7.png             

Ukulele Chords Nobody knows you when you're down and out.jpg
End of song:

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Friday, July 21, 2017

BECAUSE THE NIGHT by Patti Smith & Bruce Springsteen (Ukulele and Guitar Chords)

When I was a young teenager, I didn't sound like other girls when I sang. In fact, I couldn't sound like other girls. My voice was too low, a bit wonky, and a little impure.  As an already self conscious teen who loved singing and playing guitar, this was hard to accept. I really wanted to sound like those girls with clean, sweet high voices like Debbie Harry.

Luckily, Patti Smith intervened. The first time I heard  "Because The Night" from her album, Easter, it stopped me in my tracks. Here was another "girl" with a low, impure, wonky voice on the radio. Brilliant! The song was amazing. I couldn't stop singing the chorus, it was so catchy. Every time the song was played, I would wait for that chorus, my ear bolted to the radio. When it finally came, I would join Patti and we would sing at the top of our low, wonky voices.

In the last year I have revisited Patti Smith. I happened across her book, "Just Kids", a memoir of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, on a visit to local book shop, Readings. It was as engrossing as the song. I liked it so much I have passed it on as birthday gifts to friends who are also Patti Smith fans. I also borrowed her book, "M Train" from my mate, Allie. Another stunning offering. Reading them, I felt like I was sitting across from Ms Smith at her usual table at the New York cafe which she went for coffee each morning. Or, paying a visit to her studio in the 1970's to look at her new picture or poem while she shared anecdotes and gossip about the New York village scene. All the while, I marveled at her uncompromising commitment to follow her art.

Last Sunday, I revisited "Because the night". I rediscovered Smith's version and added some new favourites including a duet by Garbage and Screaming Females and a version by Choir Choir Choir:


The song is still so good. So, I decided to share it with my ukulele and guitar students. We had a great time learning it this week. Here is our version so that you can enjoy it too.  I have included a guitar and ukulele recording so you can play along. Maybe if you're passing through Melbourne sometime, you might like to come and play it with us. We can sing it together at the top of our low, wonky voices.



Patti Smith's version is in Bminor. If you wanna play along with her, place your capo on the 2nd Fret

             Π      Π                 Π        Π             Π      Π              Π         Π
             Am    F                G       Am          Am    F               G       Am
[Intro] A: 2 3 0 3 2 3 0 3 |  2 3 0 3 2 3 5 3 | 2 3 0 3 2 3 0 3 |  2 3 0 3 2 3 7 3 |  (Ukulele tab only)     
(Play intro over this verse)
(Am)Take me (F)now, baby, (G)here as I (Am)am,
(Am)Pull me (F)close, try and (G)under(Am)stand--------,
De -(Am) sire is (F)hunger, is the (G)fire I (Am)breathe,
(Am)Love is a (F)banquet on (G)which we (Am)feed-------!
(Strum 1)
(Fmaj7)Come on (G)now, try and (C)under - (G)stand,
The (Am)way I (Fmaj7)feel when I'm (F)in your (G)hands,
(C)Take my (Fmaj7)hand, (F)come under (G)- cover,
               Π             Π          Π         Π             Π         Π
They (Bb)can't hurt you now,  (Am)can't hurt you now,
         Π Π Π Π Π Π Π Π Π | Π Π Π Π Π Π Π Π Π
     (E)Can't hurt you now------!
CHORUS - Strum 2
Be(Am)cause the (F)night be(G)longs to lovers,
Be(Am)cause the (F)night be(F)longs (G)to (Am)lust,
Be(Am)cause the (F)night be(G)longs to lovers,
Be(Am)cause the (F)night be(F)longs(G)to (Am)us!
( Play intro over this verse)
(Am)Have I (F)doubt, when (G)I'm a -(Am)lone?
(Am)Love is a (F)ring, the (G)tele(Am)phone------,
(Am)Love is an (F)angel dis - (G)guised as (Am)lust,
(Am)Here in our (F)bed until the (G)morning (Am)comes-----!
(Strum 1)
(Fmaj7)Come on (G)now, try and (C)under - (G)stand,
The (Am)way I (Fmaj7)feel under (F)your com - (G)mand,
(C)Take my (Fmaj7)hand as the (F)sun des - (G)cends,
They (Bb)can't touch you now, (Am)can't touch you now,          
(E)Can't touch you now-------!

[Chorus - Strum 2]
[Break - Strum 1]
Fmaj7  G       C         G       
Am    Fmaj7   F         G        
C       Fmaj7   F         G    
F                     F

[Strum 3]And,(C)Love, we're (G)filled with (C)doubt,
The (G)vicious circle (Am)turns and (G)burns,
With - (C)out you,(G)oh, I cannot (Am)live,
For - (G)give the (C)yearning, (G)burning,
I be - (F)lieve it's (C)time, too (F)real to feel,
             Π            Π        Π            Π             Π       Π       
So (Am)touch me now---------, (F)touch me now-------,
    Π             Π        Π        ΠΠΠΠΠΠΠΠ
(F)Touch me now-------(E)--!

[Chorus 1]
[Chorus 2 - Strum 2]
Be(Am)cause to -(F) night there (G)are two lovers,
(Am)'Cause we be - (F)lieve in the night, (G)we (Am)trust,
Be(Am)cause the (F)night be(G)longs to lovers,
Be(Am)cause the (F) night be(G)longs to (Am)love!  
To Chorus 1 then repeat last 2 lines of Chorus.


STRUM 1: Break and Verse

1 & 2  & 3 & 4 & | 1    2    3   4
Π V Π V Π V Π V| Π   Π   Π   Π
Fmaj7 G             | C         G       
Am     Fmaj7      | F         G        
C       Fmaj7      | F         G     

1 &  2 & 3  & 4 &    1 &  2 & 3  & 4 &
Π Π Π Π Π Π Π Π  | Π Π Π Π Π Π Π Π
F                           | F

STRUM 2: Chorus
Am         F                 G
||:Π V  X V Π V X V | Π V  X V Π V X V |
||:1 &  2 & 3  & 4 & | 1  & 2  & 3 &  4 & |
 Am      F                 F     G     Am
|Π V  X V Π V X V | Π     Π     Π V  X V |
|1 &  2 & 3 & 4  & | 1      2      3 &  4 & :||

 STRUM 3: Verse and  Bridge

4  1 & 2  & 3 & 4 & | 1 & 2 & 3  & 4 & |
4  Π        V Π       V | Π       V Π V Π V
    C        G          C            G
   Am      G          C            G
   Am      G          C            G
    F         C          F            F

Π - Down Strum
V - Up Strum
X - Palm mute or Chuck 

I have placed links to Patti Smith's books and music in case you want to purchase your own copy. I belong to affiliate programs including Amazon and may, at times, receive a commission on sales.