Rabbit Muse

Rabbit Muse ukulele

Rabbit Muse – Sixty Minute Man (mp3)

Rabbit Muse – Rocking Chair Blues (mp3) via Digital Library of Appalachia

The blues isn’t a genre you immediately associate with the ukulele but the popularity of the blues and the ukulele coincided in the 1930′s and a few, most notably Papa Charlie Jackson and Geeshie Wiley, picked up the instrument. Probably the foremost blues ukulele player was Lewis “Rabbit” Muse.

However, Muse’s music goes far beyond the blues incorporating folk, jazz and pure entertainment (including playing kazoo and tap-dancing) which came from his early inspiration of minstrelsy.

Muse, born 1908, learnt soprano ukulele from a childhood friend before transferring to baritone and setting out on a career that spanned seven decades. Despite this long career he recorded only two albums: Muse Blues in 1976 and Sixty Minute Man in ’77. Both these albums are, sadly, out of print and have never been released on CD. A couple of his earlier recordings appear on the compilation Western Piedmont Blues which also appears to be unavailable

Until the record industry comes to its senses we will have to content ourselves by downloading a few poorly recorded performances on the Digital Library of Appalachia. Unless anyone knows how to get hold of his recordings.

Read more on Rabbit here.

Download chords for Darkness on the Delta (along with a track) on Mike’s Ukulele Page.

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19 Comments

  1. indigo_jones July 23rd, 2007 8:35 pm

    The uke world gets a bit smaller … I found out about Rabbit Muse through Mike’s uke page, as I live about an hour away from Durham, NC, where Mike used to play.

  2. Woodshed July 24th, 2007 8:06 am

    …and smaller still. I think Lighnin’ Wells (whose version of 12th Street Rag I posted last week) is from your neck of the woods too.

  3. indigo_jones July 24th, 2007 3:23 pm

    Meanwhile, Mike’s from NZ, and I got into the uke because of the Wellington (NZ) International Ukulele Orchestra.

  4. Woodshed July 24th, 2007 8:24 pm

    And Bret McKenzie of WIUO is in Flight of the Conchords which I’m annoyed isn’t being shown in this country yet.

  5. indigo_jones July 24th, 2007 8:46 pm

    And it’s because of my interest in FotC (and Bret’s side music projects) that I got into the NZ music scene in the first place! I gather the episodes are making their way onto YouTube and various bit torrents. I particularly enjoyed the latest episode, titled “Bowie”. In fact, the episode features a photo of some of the members of WIUO.

  6. Madame Pamita July 24th, 2007 10:39 pm

    this is right up my alley! I love this!!! I play old rural blues and such on the baritone uke (among other things) and it’s great to hear a real master… okay… back to practicing! clearly!! :)

  7. Mike July 25th, 2007 2:16 am

    Well, here in New Zealand nobody’s seen the new Flight of the Conchords show, except for on the Web. There’s no ukulele scene in Christchurch, but my old prof from undergrad biology, whom I’m visiting in Wellington in a few weeks, now wants to get a ukulele after reading my page. The internet does its crazy thing once again.

  8. Mike July 25th, 2007 2:19 am

    Oh, yes, Rabbit Muse. He does a nice percussive thing with his finger against the ukulele in Darkness on the Delta (which originally has more racially-offensive lyrics I understand). When we played it in the ukulele ensemble I would do a kazoo solo over one verse and chorus, which I heartily recommend. But then I recommend kazoo solos with everything.

  9. Woodshed July 25th, 2007 7:00 pm

    Mme Pamita:You’re sounding damn good yourself.

    Mike: Get yourself one of these.

  10. maduke July 25th, 2007 11:56 pm

    thanks for bringing me Darkness on the Delta, mike, woodshed!
    been playing it all night (or trying to).

  11. Woodshed July 26th, 2007 6:05 pm

    I was doing exactly the same thing, maduke. It’s a fun song to play.

  12. maduke July 27th, 2007 12:28 am

    …kazoo solo??? did’nt know what it was but after googling about it i bought one today. exellent.
    so much bang for so little buck. plus you can play it while driving or whatever.even WHILE PLAYING THE UKE! and fits especially good on this song. thanks again for the hint.

  13. rabbit_muser November 4th, 2009 12:57 pm

    does rabbit use steel strings?
    it sounds a lot like it!

    any ideas?

  14. Allan January 15th, 2011 3:21 am

    I am looking for people to play uke with in christchurch. intermediate to advanced level.
    allan
    0212610662

  15. Phyllis Fleming March 18th, 2012 6:32 pm

    I have a vinyl record of his….SIXTY MINUTe MAN.

  16. Bobby Ashe EL August 30th, 2012 2:37 pm

    I’m Rabbit Muses grandson anyone looking for copies of his two albums can reah out to me I’ll see how I can assist m.

  17. Woodshed September 1st, 2012 10:41 am

    Bobby Ashe EL: That’s great. How come his records aren’t more widely available? They really deserve to be.

  18. Hms January 19th, 2013 5:13 pm

    Woodshed,
    Did you get any feedback from Bobby Ashe El?
    I’ m trying to get darkness on the delta as an mp3 to use with For Score. I have found another singer doing it but she seems to use the ‘bad’ lyrics, although I must admit I have nott listed to it, just quickly scanned nher lyrics.
    Check For Score out, brilliant app, holds all my music tabs and allows you to associate an mp3 with the tab and play it at the same time. (Thats what I want the mp3 for)
    H

  19. Woodshed January 20th, 2013 8:46 am

    Hms: No, nothing. Thanks for the tipoff about For Score. I’ll check it out.

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