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Thread: I'm a Ukulele instigator!

  1. #1

    Default I'm a Ukulele instigator!

    This story is 100% true! My wife asked/begged me a week ago to go to her best friends house and show her friends kids a little on ukulele, and to entertain her friends father. Last summer I was there to show her kids a little on guitar, and was lied to and told they had been practicing, and they had not, at all. But last summer the friends father, who is 78 was there, and he asked me to play a few old songs, and I did half baked versions of the ones I had heard, and he had a great time, so he was really looking forward to hearing my play ukulele this past Saturday I was told.....Well.......On Saturday as my wife was driving me there, she suddenly informs me that the father will not be there because her friends sister, who I don't know at all, got insanely jealous at the idea of her sister showing the father a good time instead of her, and this sister took it upon herself to pick the father up, and take him to her house, so he couldn't attend, and he was said to be majorly bummed out about it, but didn't want to cause a scene. This sister supposedly went so far as to say she'd hire her dad a musician to entertain him if need be. LOL! And she couldn't figure out why I would be coming there for free. I was like WHATTTT??? And to be told this only after we were only heading over there....Cause my wife knows what a loner I am and had I known all that silly sibling drama I would not have gone...I mean the one guy who actually wanted to hear me wasn't even going to be there.

    But wait there's more!

    So I was playing there, showing the kids a little bit, the little girl, who is like 11, has taken ukulele lessons in school. Towards the end of this dealio my wife suddenly blurts out, "hey, do a murder ballad!" My wife does sometimes have some sense, I just wanna say that. The murder ballad thing is a joke between her and I cause a while back we innocently got on the topic of discussing murder ballads one time, and she didn't believe me they even existed, and then her reactions when I sang one for her entertained me so much I decided to learn some more. Sometimes she won't even let me finish them she gets so freaked out. So I said uhhhhh....I don't think I wanna do murder ballads for kids....So my wife said sing "Don't take your guns to town", by Johnny Cash, which she doesn't even like that song, and I don't really know it, but I did a 3/4's baked version of it, and this little girl was mesmerized by this. I'm talking wide eyed, visibly moved. I get done, the little girl excitedly says do another murder ballad! Now I'm looking at her mom becoming noticeably uncomfortable, and I said nah, but I did another really sad story song, and again, this kid was memorized, hanging on every word. Then later my wife tells me the little girl sent a text to tell me how much she enjoyed the ukulele playing, and the story songs.

    So I may not be a ukulele ambassador, but I sure feel like a ukulele instigator now, albeit an innocent one! Well, mostly innocent anyhow...

  2. #2
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    Nice story.
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  3. #3
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    I recently introduced "Mack the Knife" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" to our local uke group. There was a comment about how those songs would not go into the rotation for retirement home performances. And I'm afraid one of the ladies may have had nightmares afterward. I then promised myself I'd bring songs of unicorns and rainbows to the next meeting.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recovering Bassist View Post
    she suddenly informs me that the father will not be there because her friends sister, who I don't know at all, got insanely jealous at the idea of her sister showing the father a good time instead of her...
    Wow, me and my brothers and sisters just became a lot more normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Recovering Bassist View Post

    ...this kid was memorized, hanging on every word. Then later my wife tells me the little girl sent a text to tell me how much she enjoyed the ukulele playing, and the story songs.

    So I may not be a ukulele ambassador, but I sure feel like a ukulele instigator now, albeit an innocent one! Well, mostly innocent anyhow...
    Bring the kid a uke next time.
    I am the best ukulele player on my block!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubulele View Post
    So I shouldn't sing "Streams of Crimson Blood" at the children's hospital? Bummer.
    At the hospital, probably not. Blood could be a touchy subject. But I think most kids would love Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad." It's supposed to be a funny song so the parents might not complain. Much.

    Or how about those genuine ancient ballads where somebody builds a harp from a murder victim's collarbone? Kids love those and who would dare complain about preserving our rich cultural history?

    To the OP: Teach the kids "Tom Dooley." Two chords. Then they can play it for grandpa!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemech View Post
    I recently introduced "Mack the Knife" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" to our local uke group. There was a comment about how those songs would not go into the rotation for retirement home performances. And I'm afraid one of the ladies may have had nightmares afterward. I then promised myself I'd bring songs of unicorns and rainbows to the next meeting.
    Now that I've Googled the lyrics to "Mack the Knife" the MacDonald's ad campaign of the 80's is even more horrifying. I never knew the original had such a dark narrative.

    I had no idea "Murder Ballads" were a thing, but there's a whole list of them on Wikipedia and naturally I have to go rooting around on YT. " Songs about serial killers and teenage tragedies also have their own Wikipedia pages. I learn something new everyday…
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WifeOnFourStrings View Post
    Now that I've Googled the lyrics to "Mack the Knife" the MacDonald's ad campaign of the 80's is even more horrifying. I never knew the original had such a dark narrative.

    I had no idea "Murder Ballads" were a thing, but there's a whole list of them on Wikipedia and naturally I have to go rooting around on YT. " Songs about serial killers and teenage tragedies also have their own Wikipedia pages. I learn something new everyday…
    That does seem pretty creepy when you consider the original lyrics.
    I can only imagine the reaction from the folks at the uke group had I brought the music for Helter Skelter.

    The lyrics to Heler Skelter are not overtly violent, I just associate the song with Charles Manson. I wouldn't want to explain that to sensitive, elderly ukers.
    Last edited by bikemech; 04-17-2017 at 10:01 AM. Reason: clarification

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug W View Post
    Wow, me and my brothers and sisters just became a lot more normal.



    Bring the kid a uke next time.
    It was one of the weirdest things I'd ever heard in my life! I was actually kinda mad my wife put me in the middle of it, unbeknownst to me.

    I did bring the kid a uke! I brought ukes with me. Like I said this particular kid has taken ukulele lessons at her school, and her mom bought her a 3/4 scale guitar last yeah, and Taylor Swift is her hero, but she's not putting any work into actually learning an instrument.


    I had no idea "Murder Ballads" were a thing

    Murder ballads are definitely a thing. They can knock an audience member dead in fact......There's also just something about doing really macabre, morbid songs on the always happy sounding ukulele. It's a stark contrast, but it works somehow.

  9. #9
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    Great job. Don't let the nasty people wear you down, the joy of a ukulele and music will persevere.

    As far as "murder ballads", it's surprising how many folks sing them and don't really know what they're singing.

    Let's all do 3 part harmony to Banks of the Ohio!
    Last edited by vanflynn; 04-17-2017 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Sp

  10. #10
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    Ok......this is one of the weirder but more entertaining threads I have read in a while. An old man being kidnapped by a rival sibling and
    a sweet little girl that loves murder ballads. Think I'll go play Over the Rainbow and try to get all this macabre stuff outta my head
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

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