PDA

View Full Version : Favorite Solo Ukulele albums?



PedalFreak
06-27-2016, 04:30 AM
Aloha! Haven't really been on the forums for awhile. Needed a break from forums, and the internet.

But I was wondering, just in case I missed any: What is everyone's favorite solo instrumental ukulele album?

My favorites are still Gordon Mark's albums, so amazing, just wish he'd record some more!

What are your's? Looking for some new music :D

lfoo6952
06-27-2016, 03:49 PM
I like anything from Herb Ohta Jr.

Jim Hanks
06-27-2016, 04:38 PM
Matt Dahlberg's recent Dragonfly is really good.

janeray1940
06-27-2016, 08:07 PM
John King's Bach album is my hands-down favorite. I don't actually listen to a whole lot of ukulele-specific music, but others I've listened to repeatedly are Greg Hawkes' Beatles and holiday albums, Matt Dahlberg's holiday EP from a couple years ago (still have to get his new one!), and Ohta-San's Bach album, and Ohta-San/Lyle Ritz live at McCabe's.

ukulelekarcsi
06-27-2016, 08:48 PM
Both of Ukulelezaza's CDs, alhough the second one (home recordings) has lots of other instruments on it as well (mandolin, tenor banjo, tenor guitar). The first one (painting the clouds) is pure ukulele, and a delight.

The instructional CDs included in John Kings Classical Ukulele and Famous Solos and Duets are actually enjoyable as music recordings. They're not intended for pure enjoyment, bu they do work that way.

The ones I put in the CD player most, are Lyle Ritz's 1950s albums, although they're not ukulele-only (bass, flute, drums).

PedalFreak
06-28-2016, 04:56 AM
The instructional CDs included in John Kings Classical Ukulele and Famous Solos and Duets are actually enjoyable as music recordings.

Love those two! Wish John got to record more, or if he did they'll eventually get released.

bonesoup
06-28-2016, 05:18 AM
Love those two! Wish John got to record more, or if he did they'll eventually get released.

100% agree! My favorite solo uke album is John King Plays Bach.

But more than albums nowadays, I watch youtube. Something like a Wilfried Welti playlist is enormously enjoyable.

Griffis
06-28-2016, 06:23 AM
John King's Bach album is my hands-down favorite.

I am with you on this. I need to try to scare up another copy of this in fact. Mine got destroyed.


I don't actually listen to a whole lot of ukulele-specific music...

I am with you on this as well. I do have a couple of compilation discs I've made of various ukulele recordings, but most are old tracks, 1920s-30s, which is about my favorite period for music anyway.

janeray1940
06-28-2016, 06:37 AM
I do have a couple of compilation discs I've made of various ukulele recordings, but most are old tracks, 1920s-30s, which is about my favorite period for music anyway.

In case you don't already know it - there's an interesting box set out there called With My Little Ukulele in My Hand (https://www.amazon.com/My-Little-Ukulele-Hand/dp/B0013FDEDG) that you might enjoy. It ranges from the 1920s through the 1950s or so, and while it's not solo ukulele and not just one artist, it's a good overview, with ukulele on every track.

drbekken
06-28-2016, 08:05 PM
'Ukulele Bach' by Herb Ohta Sr and the solo ukulele/vocal recordings of Cliff Edwards from the 1940s.

Croaky Keith
06-28-2016, 08:23 PM
I have 2 uke CDs, one by IZ, & one by Troy Fernandez, bought when I first started my ukeing journey.
I might get some more, thanks to this thread, but they seem few & far between. :)

Griffis
06-29-2016, 01:58 AM
...the solo ukulele/vocal recordings of Cliff Edwards from the 1940s.

The 1943 transcriptions with Cliff's uke, voice and someone on upright bass? Can't believe I didn't think of that. It's one of my favorite collections of recordings of any kind from any era.

Cliff Edwards is my favorite uke player and one of my favorite singers ever. His way of delivering a song is incredible.

JJFN
06-29-2016, 04:42 AM
John King's Bach album is my hands-down favorite. I don't actually listen to a whole lot of ukulele-specific music, but others I've listened to repeatedly are Greg Hawkes' Beatles and holiday albums, Matt Dahlberg's holiday EP from a couple years ago (still have to get his new one!), and Ohta-San's Bach album, and Ohta-San/Lyle Ritz live at McCabe's.

Just popped for the Ohta-Stan/Ritz download. It's really great, thanx for the information.

UkeInTW
06-29-2016, 06:20 AM
Surprised nobody has mentioned Daniel Ho's Polani. My favorite ukulele album and even better that he sells the book of sheet music for it, so you can try to learn the songs. It is nice to hear him play it, so you have an idea what it can/should sound like when played by a really skilled ukulele artist. Also, enjoy albums by Corey Fujimoto and Kalei Gamiao.

Griffis
06-29-2016, 06:33 AM
I think I miss out on a lot. I do admire the skills of so many wonderful current players. I have great respect for them. But as much as I love music, I do not keep up with much current stuff. I still have a lot of (non-uke-related) new wave, punk rock and other things from my younger days, I like some classical music (including modern/avant-garde sorts of things), some 50s-60s jazz and really a pretty wide variety of music, but the bulk of my listening is older music...for some time my listening/collecting habits concern pre-World War II recordings. Old rural blues, 1920s-30s country stringband and folk music, a lot of early recordings of ethnic or "world" music, vaudeville and British music hall type of things as well as early American popular music circa 1890-1920.

Again, while I admire and respect the skill and even enjoy watching such things on Youtube, etc. (and I try to learn from EVERYTHING) I am just not personally too interested in people who do, say, Beatles songs on the uke or do modern pop sorts of things. There's nothing wrong with it, and I understand the appeal. It just holds little interest for me as a listener or player. Although I try to remain open to everything. I don't automatically shut out anything.

In short, I might like to listen to some Nirvana or Radiohead now and then, but you won't find me trying to play Smells Like Teen Spirit or Creep on the ukulele. I leave that to others who could pull it off much better than I ever could. I think a lot of that stuff is fun to see and hear now and then, but because it's so much not "my thing" I am sure I miss out on a lot of great players who innovate and do great things, whereas I'd rather just do my little renditions of "Got A Date With An Angel" or "Ain't Misbehavin'" or whatever. All that may have been done scores of times, but it's what I like and where my heart lies.

Booli
06-29-2016, 06:40 AM
For me, it's still Jake Shimabukuro's "LIVE!" album.

There's something very special about that performance, it's just so raw and real. With his studio recordings, and a backing band, it seems to me that the essence is just smothered, and the ukulele becomes lost in the sound of the other instruments, which I do NOT like.

Conversely, James Hill's "Man With A Love Song", even though there are backing instruments AND vocals, the uke is WAY OUT FRONT, on TOP of the other sounds, and I prefer this sound balance. Not sure who did the studio mastering, but most other uke albums that I've heard that have accompaniment sound like elevator music to me, which means mostly 'uninteresting'.

Griffis
06-29-2016, 06:50 AM
I am going to go against the grain (or at least I think I might be) and come right out and say I am a Tiny Tim fan. He may not have been a great player, but I think his drive was to preserve great old songs. I feel he didn't consider himself a "ukuleleist" or uke player necessarily as much as a person who wanted to get across some great old, otherwise-forgotten songs and he just happened to use the uke as a vehicle to do that. And I think he did an excellent job of it in the sense he was so knowledgeable about old performers and songwriters.

Yes he was eccentric, yes some of his albums are overproduced to death, but for the most part I really enjoy his work and his attitude and his unique approach.

I feel as though many in the uke playing community roll their eyes at thoughts of Tiny Tim and may think "He was a terrible player!" or "He made us all look like jokes--most people don't take the ukulele seriously, and Tiny Tim is partly responsible for that!"

Meh, whatever. For me he was just a songster, the uke aspect of it was almost tangential. I certainly don't like or care to hear every scrap of everything he recorded (and some of what he recorded was abysmal, especially later in his career) but even his final album "Girl" (with brave Combo) has some stellar material on it.

I'm still rooting for him, 20 years after he departed this veil.

Soundbored
06-29-2016, 09:17 AM
Rendezvous in Hawaii, by Herb Ohta ("Ohta San")

Ukulele Eddie
06-29-2016, 09:51 AM
Daniel Ho's Polani.

Tootler
06-29-2016, 11:19 AM
I am not keen on the style of music most ukulele specialists seem to go for, so I don't have any ukulele specific CDs. I do enjoy listening to the songs that the seasons bring to the forum and there are some like Pabrizzer, Barbablanca, Linda Louden and many others whose music I really enjoy not forgetting the quirkiness of Wee_ginga_yin or the enthusiasm and driving uke of Birds Eye View of My Uke. In fact the seasons are great.

OhioBelle
06-29-2016, 01:37 PM
Fables by Corey Fujimoto is lovely.

And of course, IZ!

the flat tire
06-30-2016, 12:36 AM
been digging 'Redefined' by Kalei Gamiao

bonesoup
06-30-2016, 05:26 AM
The 1943 transcriptions with Cliff's uke, voice and someone on upright bass? Can't believe I didn't think of that. It's one of my favorite collections of recordings of any kind from any era.

Cliff Edwards is my favorite uke player and one of my favorite singers ever. His way of delivering a song is incredible.

Agree with you guys. Love his Singing in the Rain album - those 40s solo uke songs. Except the ones where he does mouth trumpet. Mouth trumpet turns me off in any context. Sorry, just had to put that out there!



Yes he was eccentric, yes some of his albums are overproduced to death, but for the most part I really enjoy his work and his attitude and his unique approach.


About being overproduced, yes thank you! That '68 first album doesn't work for me at all. But the box set of it, with its extra CDs of him in the studio demoing like 50 songs on uke and voice, is my favorite Tiny Tim. All Tin Pan Alley, half of them A-D-E, and all of them terrific!

I mean he's not my favorite singer or anything, but I've definitely grown to appreciate him.


Fables by Corey Fujimoto is lovely.

And of course, IZ!

Yeah Corey's album is great. Anything Iz is too. I love Hene Hene Ko... I'll stop there cause I can't spell it. On top of his magic voice, his great sense of humor comes out in that song.

Griffis
06-30-2016, 06:23 AM
Agree with you guys. Love his Singing in the Rain album - those 40s solo uke songs. Except the ones where he does mouth trumpet. Mouth trumpet turns me off in any context. Sorry, just had to put that out there!

Yeah, the "eefin'"...I understand. I think he's a master of it, but it's kind of like kazoo...a little goes a long way. Still have a deep abiding love for Cliff/Ike though!


About being overproduced, yes thank you! That '68 first album doesn't work for me at all. But the box set of it, with its extra CDs of him in the studio demoing like 50 songs on uke and voice, is my favorite Tiny Tim. All Tin Pan Alley, half of them A-D-E, and all of them terrific!

I mean he's not my favorite singer or anything, but I've definitely grown to appreciate him.

That's good to hear. I have gotten everything from rolling eyes to pure disgust from other uke players when I bring up Tiny Tim. I agree about "God Bless Tiny Tim" but when I got the Rhino box set, it was a revelation. I have found a lot of Tiny Tim recordings and have a pretty big pile of his work. It is inconsistent and some of it is just not my thing...for instance, I don't care as much for his renditions of (what were in the 60s and 70s) current pop hits. I am far more fascinated by his re-workings and preservation of very early popular music, but that's my main love anyway, even though I do listen to a bit of most everything.

Youtube has a 45 minute performance of Tiny Tim from Australian TV in 1970. He really shows such great range, moving from that unique falsetto (which admittedly is gimmicky) to his baritone, he covered all kinds of styles in the special including a medley of Aussie pop/folk songs during which he plays guitar:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xfAZ6y9zzM

His second album is also great. some of his later collaborative efforts and attempts to do comebacks, etc. were, IMO, a bit misguided. Wish he'd have stuck more to what was really in his heart, but I don't blame him for trying to remain relevant.

As I say, I think of him as an entertainer and song archivist more than a "ukulele player." The fact he played a uke was almost incidental to what I believe his true aims and interests were.

I think my favorite "official album release" of his is this:

https://www.amazon.com/Ive-Never-Seen-Straight-Banana/dp/B002MCI96G/ref=ntt_mus_dp_dpt_11

...though I have amassed a lot of bootleg recordings. There's one of him in his apartment being interviewed and he plays a bunch of great old songs on it. No fluff, just sincere, simple playing and singing. You can hear him shuffling through the songsheets...

dkp
06-30-2016, 07:05 AM
I like Bill Tapia's CD's not so much for his playing - at 100 years of age it wasn't that crisp, but his arrangements and jazz chords are educational. And he was a fun guy to know and could talk story for hours.

Joyful Uke
07-04-2016, 09:41 AM
Surprised nobody has mentioned Daniel Ho's Polani. My favorite ukulele album and even better that he sells the book of sheet music for it, so you can try to learn the songs. It is nice to hear him play it, so you have an idea what it can/should sound like when played by a really skilled ukulele artist. Also, enjoy albums by Corey Fujimoto and Kalei Gamiao.

I bought this as a download yesterday. Beautiful CD. I'll have to look into learning some of the songs, too. Thanks for mentioning this one.

Booksniffer
07-07-2016, 11:56 PM
Aaron Keim (The Quiet American), Ukulelezaza, Elof & Wamberg, Leftover Cuties, Danielle Ate the Sandwitch, tUnE-yArDs, and I'm not ashamed to admit I rather like Eddie Vedder's Ukulele Songs...

(Most of these have some other instrument/s as well, but are uke-heavy)

brimmer
07-08-2016, 12:50 PM
I like all of Gordon Mark's solo uke CDs. There's a guy who does almost nothing to promote himself, except play beautiful music. They are all on iTunes. He really make his Koahola ukes sing.

I also like the solo recordings by John King (Royal Hawaiian Music) and Ohta-san (Hawaiian Time, and few others that are almost solo). And their Bach CDs are both nice!

Mivo
07-11-2016, 09:58 AM
I quite like Kimo Hussey's Low "G" (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/low-g/id957020013) album. Purely instrumental, only ukulele (I think).

southcoastukes
07-15-2016, 12:51 PM
I always love these kind of threads because you find out about folks you weren’t aware of before – the case again here so thanks to all who posted. So in that spirit, here are a few I didn’t see mentioned – they may be new to you.

First, I got a few pals, Byron Yasui, Tor Bekken and Jon Duncan that haven’t put out “formal” recordings in a while. All have been distracted by one thing or another, but I’d love to hear them do it again sometime. Then here’s three more artists I’ve always enjoyed.

Papa Lemon – the standard Ukulele as it was once played here in New Orleans. This video has the majority of his published work, and as you’ll hear, folks in New Orleans are great storytellers as well as musicians.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8GQ8hjecxM&list=PLUSRfoOcUe4Z0gYTPcgV-GH2KFZ4hJ9oU

Don Baduria – the greatest Jazz instrumental Ukulele player of all time? Maybe – certainly deserves to be in the discussion. A contemporary of Lyle Ritz, and like Cliff Edwards in his later career (and Byron Yasui, for that matter), he plays a B flat reentrant Tenor. He was every bit the player Ritz was, but with more Island flavor. “Ukulele Magic”, his last album, is still available. It’s a bit more traditional in its approach than his first album, “Ukulele in Orbit”. And while “Magic” is a great album, if anyone has a copy of “Orbit”, please (please) let me know. I’ve only heard a few cuts here and there and would love (love) to hear the whole thing.

And then there is the inimitable Victrola LagŁe Debushwick (maybe no longer Debushwick?). When was the last time you heard a contemporary recording of someone with serious chops on a Soprano? And yet you almost don’t notice the playing as the other elements of the album are so unique. Her material is as traditional as it gets, but the best way I can describe what you’ll hear is to imagine that George Harrison is out and about in the Yellow Submarine. He decides to record an Ukulele album and invites Marlene Dietrich to come on board and do the vocals.

Her only album, “One Woman Band” is unfortunately out of print. But do a search; on her old “My Space” page the whole thing has been put up there. As far as pure relaxing entertainment, this may be the most enjoyable Ukulele album I know (until some of you’all post something else I haven’t heard of).

Have a great weekend!

manfromtexas
07-15-2016, 02:17 PM
I agree Southcoast - I appreciate all the suggestions - I've been looking them all up. I love all the biggies that everybody already knows about - I was trying to think of one that maybe people don't know about and I thought of this one

I came across the album "Songs For Ukulele" by Christian Lisi and I've played it silly - it's a really good one!

the whole record is a keeper - here's a live clip of one of the tunes


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1-f5dnte2-Q

(I tried to do the embedding thing it didn't work out for me)

southcoastukes
07-16-2016, 05:52 AM
Thas what I'm talkin' bout!

Had heard of Christian Lisi before and should have paid more attention. Never knew he had an album. Been listening to it all morning - it's on Spotify, so he must be doing well, as well he should.

Here's your video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-f5dnte2-Q

Thanks, tex!


and as an aside to the tejano, check out Harmonouche from here in Nola. No ukulele played in their recorings, but Tim Paco, the bass player has roots in Hawaii - and Texas - and is an excellent player. If you're ever in town and they're playing, I can put in a word for you if you want to sit in.)