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flacoclef
06-05-2011, 08:55 AM
I know you have heard this a dozen times but i would like to know names of artists/albums of ukulele from '20s-50's? I dunno the years exactly. But Im looking those classic tunes one associates with with the ukulele.

janeray1940
06-05-2011, 09:28 AM
A few places for you to start:
http://ukulelehunt.com/ukulele-songs
http://www.ukesterbrown.com/song-sheets.html
http://www.funuke.net/vintage.html
http://www.vintageukemusic.com

Lori
06-05-2011, 09:33 AM
Welcome to UU flacoclef!
Off the top of my head I would say:
Roy Smeck
George Formby (British)
Ukulele Ike –Cliff Edwards
Arthur Godfrey
You might look at this website:
Ukulele Hall of Fame
http://www.ukulele.org/?Home

Ian Chadwick has some vintage sheet music on his website.
http://www.ianchadwick.com/ukuleles/uke_music.htm

–Lori

bazmaz
06-05-2011, 10:50 AM
Lots of old tunes and chords here - http://www.gotaukulele.com/p/ukulele-song-sheets.html

ichadwick
06-06-2011, 01:13 AM
I recently started a new site (and Facebook page) dedicated to vintage ukulele music, and have been adding content about performers and recordings as I research. I also offer a DVD full of PDFs of songsheets from that era.

Problem with that era is there are literally thousands of composers and performers, but few of them actually played the ukulele in recordings. Cliff Edwards, George Formby Jr are well-known exceptions. Thousands of song sheets have uke arrangements, many of them poorly done. May Singhi Breen is one of the few capable arrangers for the uke.

The popularity of the uke did not translate into recordings, it seems. There are many photos of the stars of the era with ukes, but no recordings of them actually playing them or, as far as I've discovered, of them playing them on stage. The uke was a populist instrument played solo or with friends, but outside Hawaii it doesn't seem to have encouraged small orchestras to perform or record together. The recording techniques of the day did not encourage ukes with other instruments either.

See www.vintageukemusic.com for my comments.

The uke highwater is in the mid-1930s. After 1936, you start to see an increasing number of arrangements for guitar, which had become the hot instrument a few years before. Uke arrangements for music continued until at least 1961, but considerably fewer than guitar arrangements after 1940.

janeray1940
06-06-2011, 04:56 AM
Problem with that era is there are literally thousands of composers and performers, but few of them actually played the ukulele in recordings. Cliff Edwards, George Formby Jr are well-known exceptions.

Ian, thanks for mentioning that. When I first responded to this question, I had that exact thought - Cliff Edwards, Formby, Roy Smeck, Johnny Marvin, maybe some Hawaiian guys like Benny Nawahi - but to me it was the songs themselves that were so well-suited to the ukulele, and not the instrument they were originally played on.

Another suggestion to the OP: check out Ian Whitcomb's podcasts (http://icode.se/errorfm/podcast.php?http://s273998253.onlinehome.us/bfunk/pod/index.php?dir=IanWhitcomb).