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Thread: Published books of complete vintage songs?

  1. #1
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    Default Published books of complete vintage songs?

    I've a particular fondness for Tin Pan Alley, Ragtime and similar songs from the Edwardian era through to the start of WWII, often considered to include many of the tunes most associated with the ukulele. These are songs you'll have heard covered by all manner of artists, including Cliff Edwards, Tiny Tim and Leon Redbone, the sheet music for which often includes ukulele chords.

    Ian Chadwick's excellent digital collection formed a solid backbone for my own, after which I've bought numerous copies of sheet music, both physical and digital, downloaded from archives such as the Levy Collection and picked things up from various ukulele groups. What I'm looking for now are published (or curated) books/collections of music from roughly the above period (I was mortified to find that a search for "vintage music" brought back 1970s tunes…), thinking that a good collection is likely to contain songs I don't know or haven't thought of searching for individually.

    One frequent problem is something common to fake books and publications like The Daily Ukulele: severely shortened versions. It's been normal to make changes to the tunes right back from their first publication (listen to a few Cliff Edwards numbers and compare the recordings to the sheet) but fake books and ukulele group collections almost always cut the intro section, admittedly often with good reason, and ideally I'd like to find the songs presented as originally written. Chords would be massively helpful as I don't read music (although I'm looking to change that).

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by BigJackBrass; 12-10-2019 at 02:48 AM.
    ‘If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.’ - Samuel Johnson

  2. #2
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    Great question, as I have had much the same interest. I did purchase "The Songs of Tin Pan Alley for Ukulele" by Dick Sheridan hoping for just what you are searching for, but was disappointed to find the songs are again shortened. Take "I Want a Girl" for example, as all it contained was the well known chorus. Looking elsewhere I was able to find the rather less well known first verse.

    [C] When I was a boy, my Mother [G7] often said to me
    Get married boy and see how [C] happy [C#dim7] you will [G7] be
    [C] I have looked all over, but no [G] girlie can I find
    Who [D7] seems to be just like the little girl I have in [G] mind
    C6 C#6 D6 D#6 E6 F6 F#6 G7
    I will have to look a-round un-til the right one I have found

    ....then we get to the part we all know.

    [C] I want a girl [F] just like the girl that [C] married [G7] dear old [C] Dad
    [F] She was a pearl [C] and the [A7] only girl that [D7] Daddy ever [G7] had
    A [C] good old fashioned girl with [E7] heart so true
    [Am] One who loves nobody [E7] else but [G7] you
    [C] I want a girl [F] just like the girl that [C] married [G7] dear old [C] Dad


    Then the second verse.....

    [C] By the old mill stream there sit a [G7] couple old and grey
    Though years have rolled away, their [C] hearts are [C#dim7] young to [G7] -day
    [C] Mother dear looks up at Dad with [G] love light in her eye
    He [D7] steals a kiss, a fond embrace, while evening breezes [G] sigh
    C6 C#6 D6 D#6 E6 F6 F#6 G7
    They're as happy as can be, so that's the kind of love for me

    Anyway, I'd too love to find a more complete source of the full songs.
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  3. #3
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    I bought the very same book.
    ‘If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.’ - Samuel Johnson

  4. #4
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    In the day before records music was published through songbooks and there were many publishers. I assume you are looking for book the reflects a "best of" or "greatest hits" and it is likely they many of these types of books focus on choruses and simplified chords. You might be more successful if you look up specific songs, composers, or publishers. Some of these are available for free from library collections, others from sites like Ian Chadwick's collection. Judy Muldawer has an excellent facebook group and also a site with some resources to help with searches like that: http://www.banjojudy.com/tin-pan-alley-songs/

    This site, has fairly complete songs, for example the I want a Girl song is:
    http://www.banjojudy.com/2014/11/i-w...-dear-old-dad/
    Last edited by merlin666; 12-10-2019 at 04:54 AM.

  5. #5
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    Good resource for original sheet music to many songs

    http://vintageukemusic.com/index.htm

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    Good resource for original sheet music to many songs

    http://vintageukemusic.com/index.htm
    That is Ian Chadwick's site that the OP already referred to.

  7. #7
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    I don't often stumble across a published book of original songs. My richest sources of old sheet music have been junk shops and charity shops. In particular my local Oxfam shop often have interesting sheet music from any part of the last century. Oxfam used to have a huge selection of sheet music in their online shop too, but I see that has dwindled a bit now. I suspect that Oxfam move their stock to whichever store they think it will sell well in. My richest pickings I found in their Durham store near the Cathedral.

    I cynically suspect that publishers rarely print books of original sheet music because they know it will go out of copyright relatively soon, whereas if they publish an 'arrangement' then the copyright goes on for ages. If any music publishers are on here, I will be delighted if you could tell me otherwise.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    That is Ian Chadwick's site that the OP already referred to.
    Oh yeah, thanks for that

  9. #9
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    Could try archive.org.........it's a bit cumbersome and yea gotta work your way through a bit but one can find interesting material there......

  10. #10
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    There is/was a series of books from "International Music Publications" called "70 Years of Popular Music", with each ten years from the '20's to the '80's in a separate book. The layout is the usual three staff lines, melody and piano arrangement, with chord names and words. I only have the '60's edition (40 tunes, ISBN 0 86359.266.X), so not much use to the OP, but maybe worth a look for others in the series.
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
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