Monday, 31 December 2018

It's Over

Yes it really is.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported and donated. The grand total of £1816 will send 454 solar lamps out to families in Africa. Replacing their old kerosene lamps will save them around £72,000 over the lifetime of the lamps, and give their children 456,000 hours of clean lighting for study. The environment wins too - getting rid of the kerosene lamps will save 480 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
And now, breaking the golden rule which says never do a Roy Orbison song...

Update: ...and now the total has gone over £2200

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Tide Is High

Originally a minor hit for The Paragons in 1966, it was revived by Blondie in 1980, and again by Atomic Kitten in 2002. Almost certainly the only Atomic Kitten song I am doing.

Friday, 28 December 2018


A post-Christmas song if ever there was one, by the master of less-is-more songwriting, John Prine.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Walk Right In

Originally written in 1929, this song made a bit of a comeback in the 60s, when the verse about letting your hair hang down seemed appropriate.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Top Of The Pops

I can remember sitting in a pub c.1978, feeding quite a lot of coins into a jukebox, to hear this song over and over. Hurray for The Rezillos.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

Presents have been opened. Sprouts are being prepared. Even the dog is wearing her Christmas jumper. There's only one song that fits...

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

Sorry to put the Christmas joviality on hold for a day, but the weekly Ukulele Underground challenge decrees that I do a song from the 1930s today, and this is the only one left in the pile.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Friday, 21 December 2018

Love Me Do

Well, I never knew that...The Beatles recorded three versions of this, each with a different drummer, before it was released, and all three have appeared at various times. Me, I've just done it once, but slowed it down a bit.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Your Cheatin' Heart

I could have sworn that I did this one months ago, but there it was, still in the pile to be done. Can't leave out an old favourite like this...

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

While Shepherds Watched (Cranbrook)

Some people will say that's "On Ilkley Moor bah’t ‘at", and indeed, that song is sung to this same tune. But the tune existed for many years before that song came along. The tune was written by Thomas Clark in 1805, and named after the village he lived in, Cranbrook, in Kent. He wrote it for While Shepherds Watched to be sung to, and it was popular across much of the country within a few years. The tune that most people sing these words to now, "Winchester Old", only took its place when it was published in Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861, becoming the official church-approved melody.
So here's how it used to be...

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Blue Christmas

This song had been around for a few years, and had been a hit for three different acts in 1949, before Elvis came along and made it his.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Although I have tried to pick a variety of songs from across the decades, there does seem to be a golden age of three minute pop songs that I return to a lot, and one of the great songwriting teams from that era was Gerry Goffin & Carole King. This is one of theirs, originally a hit in 1960.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Silver Bells

How come Christmas songs sound more Christmassy when you add bells? Even if they are just tied to your foot.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Dancing In The Dark

Nobody was available to dance with me in the middle bit. Probably just as well.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Every home should have one. I had to pat him very gently, in case he fell to pieces (again).

Thursday, 13 December 2018


The choices are getting tougher, but how could I not give this a go?

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Let It Snow

It's looking like seasonal songs every other day for the next week and a bit, including some that you don't hear on the radio every hour.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Always The Last To Know

Having to help with a Christmas singalong at a Women's Institute seemed to scare my voice back to near normality, so on we go with the efforts to squeeze in some non-seasonal songs before the end of the year.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Sweet Bells (2)

Here's another of those alternative versions of While Shepherds Watched. Today's performance is sponsored by Lockets.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Frosty The Snowman

I can't put today's song off any longer - I was hoping my voice might re-appear, but apparently not. So here's a slightly croaky version of a Christmas favourite.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Step Inside Love

The year began with a cold, and it feels as if it is ending with one. But on we go...

When people list the great songs of Paul McCartney, this one tends to get forgotten. Maybe because Cilla Black's hit version was a bit, er...(sorry Cilla fans) shouty. There is a demo recording of Paul on acoustic guitar and Cilla singing it in a lower key, which reveals what a classy song it is. Just right for a bloke with a cold.


Friday, 7 December 2018

Christmas Time In The City

Here's a recent-ish Christmas song, written by Jarrod Dickenson. Performed under the watchful eye of a dog (just out of shot) trying to work out how to get downstairs.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Disco 2000

So many songs still to fit in, and so little time. I definitely have to do one more from Pulp.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

A quick Christmas singalong number, but as our real tree isn't up yet, I have given a starring role to the very un-traditional pink one which normally lives in my daughter's bedroom.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Rock 'n Roll Winter

Strictly speaking, not a Christmas song, but it feels like the right time to do it. Pity that the people at Warner Brothers, Wizzard's record company, didn't see it that way - they released it at the end of April, and wondered why it didn't do as well as expected.

Monday, 3 December 2018

All Tomorrow's Parties

You can't have Christmas songs every day - there are still a heap of others to fit in. But it is party season, and I don't have a thing to wear...

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Tread Softly To The Stable

The Christmas decorations have been retrieved from the loft, and this little nativity scene was in there, so today seems a good day to do a song which I think deserves to be heard. Lesley Fowkes, a fellow ukulele player, has written quite a few magical songs. This is one which she wrote a few years ago for a Christmas song competition. It won, and a few of us have been singing it ever since.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Sweet Bells

So Christmas starts here...
Everybody knows "While shepherds watched...", but I can remember singing something similar to this at school, and it is one of the Yorkshire carols still sung in pubs today. There may be another version of this along later, maybe two...

Friday, 30 November 2018

Always Remember Us This Way

The new version of "A Star Is Born" is a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, but heck, there are some good songs in there.

Thursday, 29 November 2018


Little known fact time - the co-writer of this song, keyboards player Max Crook, played the solo on a Musitron, an early synthesiser, which he invented. Me, I just whistle.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Rave On

I hear that they have made one of those orchestral albums of Buddy Holly songs, featuring his original vocals. Hologram tour to follow soon, no doubt. Here's one of those songs, no orchestra, and no Buddy.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Pay Me My Money Down

I think this one is based on an old sea shanty, but I have to confess I heard it via Bruce Springsteen.

Monday, 26 November 2018

I Put A Spell On You

This was actually a Halloween request, from Alex at SolarAid, but due to circumstances beyond our control, the request only reached me a couple of days ago...

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Sweet Black Magic

I thought about playing this around Halloween, but then decided the words weren't about witches at all. So here it is, with the usual warning - just say "no".

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Like The Weather

Just over thirty years ago a band called 10,000 Maniacs released an album called "In My Tribe". Glorious vocals and jangly guitars - it was played constantly in my house, and it still sounds as good today. I shake my head every time it fails to appear in Top 100 Album lists. This song is on there, but if you haven't heard it, go and find the original.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Why Can't I Touch It?

Today, in case you didn't know, is Band T-Shirt Day. So to celebrate that fine occasion, I have put this one on (again) and picked a Buzzcocks b-side.

Thursday, 22 November 2018


This was a hit for Paul Simon all over the world, except for the UK. The BBC refused to play it, because they saw it as an advert for Kodak film. Happy days.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Seventeen Summers

I saw a band called Skinny Lister at a festival this summer, and they are quite likely to be the best thing I have seen all year. They can go from sea shanties to wild dancing, to singalong & swayalong numbers like this one.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Guns Of Brixton

Forgive me for not recording a song from scratch today, but I think it's worth tweaking the rules on this occasion.
Brian Fergus, aka UkeFoote, has a studio in Portland, Oregon, where he regularly conjures up magic on ukuleles, keyboards and vocals. Way back at the start of the year, he offered to help with a song. Knowing my love of The Clash, he even suggested which one. But it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally got around to recording my part, and sent it off to him. What I didn't know was that he was about to go into hospital for a hip replacement. So, from his sick bed, he has added bass, organ, vocals, and made a proper video out of it. Thanks Brian!

Monday, 19 November 2018

I Don't Want To Talk About It

I always preferred Everything But The Girl's version to Rod's, but now I have heard the original, by Crazy Horse, and that's pretty fine too.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Dirty Old Town

How times change. The dirty old town in question was Salford, now home to Media City, a smart theatre, designer shops, and rather expensive quayside flats. I'm sure Ewan MacColl would have something else to say about it now.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Close Shave

Back in June I did "New York Girls", the sad tale of a sailor losing his clothes and money to a lady of the night. Here is something similar, but with a couple of twists, and sailors replaced by gold miners.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Ever Fallen In Love (with someone you shouldn't've?)

Lots of bonus points if you get the title of this one correct, especially the bit in brackets.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

House Where Nobody Lives

Highly chuffed that Jarrod Dickenson has indicated his approval of my version of his song yesterday. If Tom Waits does the same today, I may decide that this is all a weird dream.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

No Work For A Working Man

Jarrod Dickenson is one of the best musical discoveries I have made in the last few years. A modern day troubadour, playing songs that tell stories. Here's one of them.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A Groovy Kind Of Love

Sorry about the paint-splashed clothes (and probably hair too) - this song comes inbetween coats of emulsion on the kitchen walls. Phil Collins always used to have a pot of paint on his piano when he was on Top Of The Pops, so this seems like a good time to do one he had a hit with.

Monday, 12 November 2018

When Will I Be Loved

Thanks to the person who made a donation a few days ago - you know who you are. The target has been reached, but every extra bit will pay for more lamps.
As well as singing perfect versions of songs by other people, Phil Everly wrote a few gems himself. Here's one of them.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Where The Soul Of Man Never Dies

This weekend it seems appropriate to do a song written in 1914. It started life in hymn books, and has since been covered by many, including Johnny Cash, Iris DeMent, & Hank Williams.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Leave Them Alone

Getting on for 40 years ago, there was a one-man band called Johnny G, playing the pubs & clubs around London, and occasionally further afield. Once seen, never forgotten. He did this strange version of Blue Suede Shoes, which I have done my best to remember.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Bare Necessities

So hard to sing this without throwing in the bits that Mowgli did. I finally caved in after the tongue-twister verse.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018


Not to be confused with the Slade song of the same name. Yes, I've tried it. No, only Noddy Holder can sing it. But here's the Buddy Holly one.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Devil Gate Drive

I would never pick this as a favourite, but I can clearly remember where I was the first time I heard it - at a friend's house when his parents came back from a shopping trip with this new single, as requested. We played it over and over, probably until his parents cried "enough!"

Monday, 5 November 2018


Another one in the occasional series of songs that clearly weren't meant to be sung by a man. But what the heck, a good song is a good song.

Sunday, 4 November 2018


This is one of those songs where the words had passed me by...nice tune, something about a river...until I sat down and read them. So, did he do it?

Saturday, 3 November 2018

She's Always A Woman To Me

Not quite two months to go, and there are still a few songs in the "it's a pig to play" pile. This is one of them. No wonder Billy Joel doesn't perform very often if he has to do this one every time.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Whiskey In My Whiskey

A plain and simple drinking yourself into misery song - happy Friday!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Pinball Prison Blues

I don't know who first put these two songs together, but I'm glad they did. It makes one playable, and the other bearable, at least for a bit longer.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Bad Tattoo (on the elbow of a junkie's arm)

Here's a song I heard yesterday, and has been lodged in my head ever since. Written by Krabbers, a writer, performer, podcaster, open-mic organiser, and generally all round good guy.

Monday, 29 October 2018


It's bloomin' freezing out there this morning, but for some reason this song says "summer" to me.

Sunday, 28 October 2018


Today's song is one which will be new to most people. It was written earlier this year by Berni Armstrong, an Englishman living in Catalonia, who frequently produces songs which make you sit up and listen. Here's his take on the macho goings on that often lead to trouble.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

May You Never

And that's 300 done. It's all downhill from here.
I watched a DVD compilation of songs from the Old Grey Whistle Test a few nights ago, and John Martyn was on, doing this. I wish I had seen him more when he was around.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Love Of The Common People

Here's a song which has been covered by acts as diverse as The Everly Brothers, Stiff Little Fingers, Bruce Springsteen, and (the one you'll probably know) Paul Young. The t-shirt was bought from the nice SolarAid people in 2008, at the Glastonbury Festival, and re-surfaced last week. Meeting them back then is the reason I am doing all of this.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

House For Sale

I thought I had used up all of my Nick Lowe songs, and then this one came along. Andy in California has been a great supporter of this 365 songs thing, and seeing him do a lovely version of this song spurred me on to give it a try.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

(What A) Wonderful World

"How do you chose the song each day?"

Well, sometimes it's right next to the one I did yesterday.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Wonderful Life

No, nothing to do with that James Stewart film we all watch at Christmas. This is the song by Colin Vearncombe a.k.a. Black.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Bad Moon Rising

I get the feeling that every ukulele session in the land includes this one in their songbook, and the one I go to is no exception, so it had to crop up at some point.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Dance Yourself Dizzy

The donations have passed the £1500 mark, which means that these 365 songs will pay for 365 lamps to go out to families in Africa. So how to celebrate? Loud shirt & 80s disco classic seems in order.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Space Oddity

This one has been in the pile for 293 days, daring me to give it a go. Oh alright then...but you'll have to do the countdown yourselves.

Friday, 19 October 2018


The fifth and (possibly) final one in this run of Friday show tunes. From Mary Poppins, and one that, for some reason, doesn't get sung a lot.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

This Ole House

When Shakin' Stevens did this, it sounded bouncy & almost jolly. Other versions seem to have a similar feel to them. But the words actually paint a sadder picture. Hardly party time.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Billy The Conqueror

Restoring order after yesterday's smut, here's one written by a ukulele playing friend of mine, John. A story all too familiar to many parents.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Pin In Your Cushion

Yesterday's song was cheeky humour. Today's is thinly disguised filth, from 1931, written by the great Bo Carter, who specialised in this sort of thing.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Isabel Makes Love Upon National Monuments

Jake Thackray used to be a regular fixture on the BBC, but I don't remember this one ever being played. One of his racier numbers.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Stand By Your Man

The next few songs could be controversial, or maybe not, depending on your standpoint. This one upset the feminist movement when it came out in the late 60s, and possibly still does. Tammy Wynette spent the rest of her career defending it. And if a man sings it, well, that's another kettle of fish...

Saturday, 13 October 2018

I Got Stripes

Back home again, and a quick Johnny Cash song before the unpacking has to be done. Although he was credited as the writer, it is very much based on an older song, sung by Lead Belly and others.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Love Changes Everything

Show Tunes Friday, episode 4, and something from Aspects Of Love. And no, I'm not going to go for the Michael Ball big finish.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

True Love Ways

I suppose the songs from the van are the equivalent of campfire songs, and for some reason, The Everlys and Buddy Holly always seem a good fit. Here's another Buddy.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018


I can recommend Antje Duvekot, a superb songwriter. This one grabbed me the first time I heard it.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Without Love

Get ready for another few days of songs from the van. Today we have the added noise of cooking. If only you could smell it too - delicious...And it's another Nick Lowe song.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Stranger In The House

Elvis Costello wrote this for George Jones, and they recorded it as a duet. I think his own version ended up on a B-side, but it has always been a favourite of mine.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

You're A Lady

This is one from the "how did this get in?" pile. A song I remember stopping to listen to in 1972, because it sounded so different - there weren't too many brass bands in the charts then, or now.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Take It Out Back

A song by Chuck Brodsky, very under-rated, very entertaining, and well worth discovering. This one is for everyone who has their recycling collected today.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Withered And Died

A bit like Leonard Cohen (see last Sunday), Richard Thompson can be sad and reflective, positively gloomy even, and then the next moment as funny as they come. This comes from the slightly gloomy collection.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Short People

Back to just me today. A Randy Newman song which caused a lot of bother when it came out - a politician in Maryland tried to make it illegal to play it on the radio.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Goodnight Irene

Something a bit special today. For one day only, I have a band.
They are some of the ukulele players from all over the world who take part in a weekly online challenge called The Seasons Of The Ukulele. Each week one person sets a theme, and everyone else chips in with songs which fit the theme.
When I opened this song up to allcomers, they piled in with ukes of all sizes, harmonies, a mandolin, and a technical headache for me!
But after a lot of fiddling & mixing, here they are. On the left we have Ylle (Finland), and John (West Yorkshire, UK). Over on the right, Linda (Arizona, USA), Alan (Texas, USA), Mikkel (Denmark), and, popping up in the chorus, Brian (NSW, Australia).
I proudly present The Fabulous Seasonistas!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Got A Little Secret

For anyone who thinks that Leonard Cohen was a bit of a misery - there was often humour too.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Together In Electric Dreams

From a 1985 film of the same name, and a hit for Phil Oakey & Giogio Moroder.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Easy Terms

It's Show Tunes Friday again, and one from "Blood Brothers", the emotional rollercoaster that wins the prize for the musical I have seen most times - five I think. This is from the bit where Mrs Johnstone has to give away one of her twins, sob, sob...

Thursday, 27 September 2018

This World

This is one I only heard recently, written by Malvina Reynolds, who also wrote "Little Boxes" and "Morningtown Ride".

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Air That I Breathe

Albert Hammond appeared on the big Radio 2 concert in Hyde Park the other week, and was given a grand total of two songs. Criminal. The man has written dozens of hits, and could have done an hour. Here's one of them.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Spider's Nest Blues

This week's additional challenge, courtesy of the Ukulele Underground forum, is to do a song about spiders. This one is mostly based on something the Memphis Jug Band recorded back in the 1930s. The thought of a spider landing in my tea would certainly cause me pain.

Monday, 24 September 2018

My Hometown

This is the one I had intended to play yesterday - Bruce's 69th birthday. Anyone who has seen his three and a half hour shows will find that hard to believe. Long may he keep going.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

There Ain't No Pleasing You

This one has jumped to the front of the queue after yesterday's sad news. What a bloke. What a song.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Nobody Does It Better

Whoever it was that asked for a James Bond song, I hope they are still around, because it was ages ago. This one has finally emerged from the pile of possibles.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Oh What A Circus

I hereby declare that the next few Fridays will be Show Tune Days. Because I have a few possibly lined up, and it makes me do them, rather than wimp out and go for another Buddy Holly song. So, we will start with something from Evita.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

No Expectations

This is a Rolling Stones song which has been covered by many. The Johnny Cash version is worth a listen - how to up-tempo a down-tempo song. And here's mine.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Who Knows Where The Time Goes

This Sandy Denny song has been a favourite of mine for many years. Versions by Sandy, Judy Collins, and Kate Rusby, often fight for top spot in my affections. But until today I had never tried to play it. So thank you to Rusty, a uke player from Australia, who gave me a clue to how it can be done, and to Storm Ali for giving me a day at home to play around with the chords.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

I think this one probably puts Nick Lowe at the top of the #365ukesongs songwriter appearances leader board. And rightly so. When I saw him do this one at a solo gig, just him and his guitar, it seemed like a perfect lesson in songwriting.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Sally MacLennane

Shane MacGowan can certainly squeeze a lot of words into a song. I could really do with someone behind me, hitting themselves on the head with a tin tray and yelling "Far Away!", but no, it's just me again.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

We Are Going To Be Friends

I'm probably a couple of weeks late with this one, a simple tale of going back to school, courtesy of The White Stripes.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Rock Around The Clock

Not the first rock 'n roll song, but the one which sent youths all over into a cinema wrecking frenzy. I cannot be held responsible for any damage caused when listening to this one.

Friday, 14 September 2018


Joe Strummer was rather fond of the ukulele, so here's one from The Clash, given the plastic uke treatment.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Indoor Fireworks

I heard a discussion on the radio recently about the most inappropriate songs for the first dance at a wedding. This one would be pretty high on the list, one of Elvis Costello's finest.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

My Land Is A Good Land

Eric Andersen was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 60s, and is still performing today. This caught my ear when I heard one of his early albums recently.

Monday, 10 September 2018

The Ugly Duckling

After yesterday's Good & Bad, here comes the Ugly, and many happy memories of Ed Stewart & Junior Choice.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Just How Bad Do You Wanna Be Good

This is one of those songs that I look at and think "where on earth did I hear this?" I really can't remember, but having been challenged to do songs about the good, the bad, and the ugly, this kills two birds with one stone.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Friday, 7 September 2018

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Hands up if you can sing along to the first verse of this song. Keep your hand up if you know the other verses...thought not. Best known as the theme song from Cheers, the whole song was released by Gary Portnoy in 1983.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Be My Baby

Another of those 60s classics that I get drawn to. Somewhere in my loft I have a box of Phil Spector singles. Hope that doesn't make me a bad person.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness

It's another wi-fi hotspot challenge. Hang around near a cafe long enough, and the upload is done. This one is by John Prine, another master of telling a story with three chords.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Those Were The Days

A bit too breezy outside, so it's another one from the van, a bit of an oldie (yes, fifty years) which was a hit for Mary Hopkin.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

They Don't Know

The hazards of recording outside. You get to the end of the second verse and a huge caravan rumbles past. Carry on regardless...

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Learning The Game

It's time for more Songs From A Van. So, as darkness approaches, somewhere in Norfolk, some gentle Buddy Holly.

Friday, 31 August 2018

You've Got A Friend In Me

Randy Newman writes some of the best film music, and some of the best songs full stop. This is the one that everyone under the age of 25, and their parents, knows.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Just Can't Get Enough

If I appear to have more wrinkles today, blame the camera on the new phone. Damn you, high definition.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Brown Eyed Girl

A song by Van The Man, one of those people who are anything but predictable when you go and see them. I once saw him walk off stage after an hour, when his hat fell off. Not even a "thankyou and goodnight".

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Monday, 27 August 2018

Man With The Blues

A Willie Nelson song from as long ago as 1959. Short of money, having just spent a year selling bibles, vacuum cleaners, and encyclopedias door-to-door, he gave half of the publishing rights to this song to his booking agent, to pay for the recording session.

Sunday, 26 August 2018


There are a few songs which bring back vivid memories from my very early days, playing at home, with my mother doing housework, listening to the radio. This is one of them.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

There Stands The Glass

A song I first heard sung by the late great Ted Hawkins, a Venice Beach busker who ended up touring the UK and living in Bridlington.

Friday, 24 August 2018


Somebody on Twitter said that this was the best opening line to a song, ever. So I have given it a try, and do you know what? He could be right.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

You Never Can Tell

Way back in April, I did Memphis Tennessee, and here's another of Chuck Berry's great story songs.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Take Care Of All Of My Children

I think that this ought to be up there in the list of favourite funeral songs. It may already be - I just don't go to enough funerals of Tom Waits fans to be sure.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Summertime Blues

Back from the festival, washing machine on, and time for a bit of Eddie Cochran, not done the way he did it.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down

A Merle Haggard song, recorded just past midnight,and lit by two SolarAid lamps, which is what this whole thing is about.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Blue Badge Abuser

A little moral tale from those fine purveyors of everyday observations,Half Man Half Biscuit.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

At The Indie Disco

Why haven't I done any Divine Comedy songs yet? Time to put that right. You can almost feel the sticky carpet in this one.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Who Loves The Sun

So here I am, at the Beautiful Days festival in Devon. Looking forward to plenty of good music over the next few days. And some sun too.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

I'm So Bored With The USA

Coming from a wet motorway services, a little bit of Clash to get me in a festival mood.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Sugar Baby Love

This is a bit of a "what-if" story. When they wrote it, Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington were going to enter it for the contest to find the UK entry for Eurovision, 1974. Then they changed their mind, and Olivia Newton-John sang "Long Live Love". Would this song by the Rubettes have beaten Abba?
Anyway, if you are expecting piercing falsetto vocals, prepare for disappointment - this is the mellow version.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Whistle For The Choir

I heard this on the radio yesterday, first time for years, and was humming it all day. Sorry if this does the same for you.

Monday, 13 August 2018

You're So Vain

Debate has raged for years about the identity of the person that this song is aimed at. Carly Simon has said that it is actually about three people, but that verse two is Warren Beatty. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift is in on the secret, but isn't saying...

Sunday, 12 August 2018


I think Paul Weller said this was the one song he wishes he had written. Can't really argue with that - it is definitely one to treasure. Written by Declan O'Rourke - seek him out.

Saturday, 11 August 2018


I do like a song that tells a story. Here's one that is so full of detail, it could be a film script - the colour of the van, what they ate and drank, even where her mother works. But did they get away with it?

Friday, 10 August 2018

Roy Rogers

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was an album that was with me through my teenage years, and this was one of my favourite tracks, even though I don't think I ever watched Roy & Trigger.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

A Kind Of Hush

I usually have to do a bit of digging to check up on the history of the songs I am doing, and today I am pleased to find that Peter Noone is still alive & kicking, and (possibly) doing a radio show in the USA. This one was a hit for him & Herman's Hermits, and again for The Carpenters.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

I'm A Believer

Before he hit the big time himself, Neil Diamond did OK writing songs for other people, including The Monkees.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Sad Songs And Waltzes

Willie Nelson has the simple song down to a fine art. This one was recorded by him in 1973, but in fact he wrote it nearly ten years before, when it was recorded by Hank Cochran. And of course, it is a sad song and a waltz.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shands

Home again, and something for those old enough to remember taking records to parties. I used to, and as a result I ended up with a Who LP inside a Golden Earring sleeve. I never did find out who got the other side of that deal.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

My Old Friend The Blues

Day 2 of the short song / slow upload challenge. Leave out the repeats and this one might be there after the first pint...

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Well Alright

This weekend is a challenge. Away in the van, in the middle of nowhere. No phone signal, no WiFi, except a very slow connection at the pub. So...a short song (Buddy Holly is always a good bet), and stay in the pub for as long as the upload takes. I like a plan.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Down The Dustpipe

Something from the early Status Quo years, but written by Carl Groszmann, who also had songs recorded by Ringo Starr and a very young Bee Gees.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

I'm Not In Love

Strip away the layers of voices and loops, and there's still a pretty song underneath.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Sittin' On Top Of The World

The Mississippi Sheiks were around in the 1930s, recording a type of primitive country blues, with the occasional slightly smutty verse (verse 4 in this example), probably because their line-up included Bo Carter (see May 28th). This one has been covered many times since.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018


Kate Bush is 60? Really? I couldn't let the occasion pass without trying this one...

Monday, 30 July 2018

This Year's Girl

The (almost) title track from one of my all time favourite albums, This Year's Model.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

White Horses

So, who grew up watching this? It was something about a girl and a horse, dubbed into English from the original German, and I was amazed to find that there were only thirteen episodes. It seemed to be on for years.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

I Had Someone Else Before I Had You

A little ditty from 1924 about infidelity. Dedicated to everyone who has been watching Love Island. Not that I've been guilty of that, but some people under my roof seem to base their evenings around it. And if you live somewhere that Love Island hasn't reached yet, you're very lucky.

Friday, 27 July 2018

See My Baby Jive

If "Angel Fingers" was the first single I bought with my own money, then this was probably the second. Managed to get through it without the thunderstorm taking over.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song

O.K., so I'm a big softy at heart. In amongst the daft ones, the punk classics, the unlikely electro-disco hits, and everything else I strum, there are sometimes classic love songs. And yes, I do tune in to Steve Wright on a Sunday morning...

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The Day Before You Came

With all this talk of Mama Mia 2 (it's great - go and see it) I have to do an Abba song. This one is so good - you can imagine all sorts of stories before and after. Will we ever find out what has happened?

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A New England

A little later than planned, after having a house full of plumbers all day. In my case, I'm not looking for a new England, just a central heating system that works once this heatwave is over.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Ain't She Sweet

This week's extra challenge, courtesy of the Ukulele Underground forum, is to record something which is less than 60 seconds long. So, clocking in at about 54...

Sunday, 22 July 2018

World Without Love

Here's one of those songs that The Beatles gave to somebody else, in this case Peter & Gordon. Paul McCartney wrote most (possibly all) of it when he was sixteen, and John Lennon thought it was a bit daft, as the second line could have been "O.K...."(end of song).

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Killermont Street

Surely the best song ever written about a bus station. Roddy Frame has a habit of using impossible chords, but this one is just about do-able.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Crocodile Rock

Take me to a beach where there are stones to be skimmed, and I will be singing this to myself for the rest of the day. Anyone else, or is that just me?

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Mickey's Son And Daughter

For today's entertainment, I bring a comedy quickstep with vocal chorus. Or at least, that's what it says on the 1935 78 by Henry Hall & The BBC Concert Orchestra.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Little Boxes

Pete Seeger's recording of this song was one of the few 45rpm records that were in our house when I was a child. So it got played a lot. And I still sing it to myself when I see new houses of a certain style being built. I'm sure they are lovely inside.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Last Train To Clarkesville

Ah, the Monkees...happy days, watching their antics on a small television. And apparently this song appeared in more episodes than any other - seven in total. You've learned something new today.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Da Doo Ron Ron

I did take a pencil and alter this to "met HER on a Monday..." and "her name was Jill", but found myself singing the original words anyway. So here it is, unchanged...

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Sunday Morning

This whole thing started on Jan 1st with a Velvet Underground song, so I reckon it's time we had another one.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

California Dreamin'

The heatwave continues, so it's time for another one about winter. Who plans this stuff?

Friday, 13 July 2018


Today's song was written by Lesley Fowkes (see Sunday 8th July for her story), and in my humble opinion is a bit of a gem.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

God Only Knows

Paul McCartney said that this is the greatest song ever written. He could be right - all I know is that it's a pig to play.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Modern Love

I have been listening to a lot of David Bowie recently, partly because they have just released a live album, recorded the night I saw him in 1978. I still have the ticket - £4, what a bargain. Anyway, here's one from a few years later, when he went a bit dance-y

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Is She Really Going Out With Him?

I had to run off to Google to check that Joe Jackson is still around - he is, but not releasing much of late. Here's the big hit that got him started.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Sunday, 8 July 2018

I Can See Clearly Now

This one is for Lesley, a ukulele-playing friend of mine, who needs some positive vibes sending her way. You can read her story here -

Saturday, 7 July 2018

C'mon Everybody

Eddie Cochran had everything - the looks, the songs, the guitar, the voice - but he didn't even make it to 22. Here's one that he left us.

Friday, 6 July 2018

I Get A Kick Out Of You

From back in the days when it was OK to write a popular song about sniffing cocaine. Although, to be fair, Cole Porter's second verse was changed to "Some like the perfume in Spain" when it was used in the film version of Anything Goes. I have gone for the edgy original.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

You're The One That I Want

Probably one of the best selling duets ever, but there's only one of me. So, a few words tweaked here and there, and away we go...

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Why Does It Always Rain On Me

As the weather continues to amaze us, here's another heatwave-inappropriate number.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A Good Year For The Roses

Elvis Costello had a hit with this, but it was written by Jerry Chesnut, along with quite a few other goodies.

Monday, 2 July 2018

I Hear You Knockin'

Half Way! That's 183 songs done, and just 182 to go. All downhill from here.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Hey Good Looking

Anyone noticed a pattern this week? The weekly challenge from the Ukulele Underground forum was to do a series of songs in alphabetical order. Some people got to Z. Some even started a second lap. I will bow out at H, ready for next week.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Goodbye My Love

I do feel a bit sorry for The Glitter Band. Forever tainted by their association with Gary himself, they produced a few good songs of their own. This one reached No2 in 1975.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Forever Autumn

As the UK heatwave continues, I thought I would try to cool things down a bit.

Thursday, 28 June 2018


179 days into this thing and I realise that I know a song about solar electricity. Better late than never.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Don't Dream It's Over

Time to unleash one of my favourite songs ever, of all time, full stop. Crowded House made some of the best clever pop records of the 80s, which still sound as good thirty years later. My humble effort...

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Can't Buy Me Love

I should have kept records, but this must be the shortest song so far, even though I slowed it down.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Baby I Love You

As well as rushing out to buy everything that T.Rex and David Bowie released, this teenager also collected old 45s produced by Phil Spector. I just loved the huge sound he had, and those voices...I finally got to see Ronnie Spector a few years ago, and wasn't disappointed - she still sounds as good, 50+ years on.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

A13 Trunk Road To The Sea

Something a bit light-hearted from Billy Bragg today, a fine guide to the joys of driving to Southend.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

I Walk The Line

I'll be honest, a bit of a rush job today - back from the Gary Barlow trip (and he was fab, just in case you doubted it), straight into an afternoon talking to people about the evils of fracking. So, one from the tried and tested three chord song box. Written by Johnny Cash a mind boggling 62 years ago...

Friday, 22 June 2018

A Million Love Songs

Did Gary Barlow really write this when he was fifteen? The clever little.... Anyway, I thought I would give it a go, as I am going to see him tonight. Yes, really.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Swimming Song

Donation news - the total has gone through the £1200 mark, so a big thank you to all of you. And slightly more than half the year still to go. That's quite a few more songs. Here's a summer-ish one from Loudon Wainwright.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Teenage Kicks

What's today? Hey, it's only my bloomin' birthday. So I can play whatever I want. This was quite possibly the first song I tried when I started playing the uke.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How Will I Ever Be Simple Again

It's time for another Richard Thompson song. So many to pick from, but this one is a pretty little thing.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Endless Grey Ribbon

After a second day largely spent driving along motorways, this one seemed the logical choice. Another one from the pen of Nick Lowe.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Before You Call

Half way home after a glorious two weeks touring around Devon & Cornwall. Shame about the two and a half hour jam on the M5. This seemed a good day to play this little gem, written by a song machine from Australia who goes by the name of Pabrizzer. Thanks for all the support Brian.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Goodbye Girl

Squeeze produced a run of great hit singles too many years ago. I'm surprised to find that this one was before the real hits began - it feels like it should have been up there too.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Sit Down

Another vaguely football related song, especially if you were a Man Utd fan c.1990/91. Happy memories of a 36 hour round trip to Rotterdam.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Three Lions

Yes, it's football time, and there's really only one song I can do today. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

How Long Will I Love You

It's the Waterboys song that Ellie Goulding had the big hit with. Plus a visual gag for all Reggie Perrin fans.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

I was hoping for a sea view in the background, but all I managed to get was tanned knees in the foreground. Also, apologies for the breeze blowing into the microphone. But worth it for the chance to capture one out of doors.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me

Songs from a van - the series continues. As we can see the sea from our back window, I thought this was appropriate. Of all the vintage blues players, Mississippi John Hurt is my favourite, for his range of songs and his warm gentle vocals. The words for this were written by William Myer, a lawyer and label owner. John Hurt pinched the melody from Jimmie Rodgers' Waitin' for a train.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Step It Up And Go

An extra challenge this week, courtesy of the Ukulele Underground forum, is a song with furniture in it. So, featuring a table, some doors, and a blind, this one from Blind Boy Fuller and many others.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

3rd Dead Cat

Chuck Brodsky is a songwriter I only found last year, and I am glad I did. His songs tell stories. OK, this one is a bit quirky, but it definitely takes you on a journey.