GUGUG – Ruby

GUGUG – Ruby (Chords)

Whenever I spot Gus and Fin in my YouTube Subscriptions I get as excited as a sack full of hyperactive puppies. They are certainly the most punk ukulele players around. As well as the fantastic sound they make, the editing of the videos adds another dimension. So much so that it’s not surprising that Angus McIntyre (the one without a beard) is a TV producer in his civilian life. Given that he produces for the BBC, you have to wonder if he even owns a ukulele or if it’s all cleverly edited scam.

The story of this song has spread itself over many wars. Mel Tillis was inspired to write the song by a true-life paralysed World War II veteran and his frustrated wife. The setting was updated to the Korean War for the song. It became a hit for Kenny Rodgers during the Vietnam War.

The song uses chords straight out of Baby’s First Uke Chords. Don’t be panicked by the Fmaj7; on the uke it has exactly the same shape as an Am. The only thing that might confuse you is that in the GUGUG version the ukes are tuned up a semitone to g#C#FA#. So if you want to play along you’ll have to do likewise or use a capo. I’ve written the chords as they would be in standard C-tuning to avoid confusion.

Buy the Kenny Rogers version
Kenny Rogers - All the Hits and All New Love Songs - Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town

View Comments


  1. wheels July 24th, 2007 7:32 pm

    I always thought the one line was, “And I won’t stand the needs of a woman your age,” which makes it not only a complete sentence, but fits in with the paralysis.

    The online lyrics sites I’ve checked don’t agree, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because many of them just copy what shows up elsewhere. I wrote a post once (on my previous blog) about trying to track down a definitive attribution for a particular quote.

  2. Woodshed July 24th, 2007 8:21 pm

    I have to admit I usually copy lyrics from the web and give them a quick look over. They’re definitely singing, “the wants and the needs,” in this version. It’s a fairly clear, “the wants and the needs,” in this video too.

  3. wheels July 25th, 2007 6:44 pm

    Still doesn’t mean it’s correct. A few years ago, I did a Google search on the phrase, “One man with courage is a majority.” It was said by Andrew Jackson, and I was hoping for information about when and where he said it (speech, letter, etc.).

    At the time, a Google search showed many more sites attributing it to Thomas Jefferson than Andrew Jackson, and, although that situation has changed, Jefferson is still pretty prominent in the references. I also ran across attributions to Andrew Johnson, Stonewall Jackson, and others.

    It was obvious, though, that many of the quote sites had copied other quote sites for their information, so the bad attribution that started in one place had become widespread. Personally, I think that’s what’s happened with these lyrics.

    I’m going off my memories of the Kenny Rodgers version, which could also be mistaken. I’m pretty sure I’ve got it in iTunes, though, so I’ll try to listen tonight. Maybe I’ve got the lyrics in one of my music books. I’ll have to check.

  4. gugug July 27th, 2007 3:05 pm

    “and the wants and the needs of a woman your age, Ruby, I realise” – all the way! Oh by the way – i do own a ukulele. Im not that clever. cheers

  5. wheels July 27th, 2007 6:19 pm

    I went back and listened to it (several times) and realized that I had been mishearing it. Part of the trouble was my preference for complete sentences, the rest was Kenny’s enunciation. The “th” sound in “the wants,” added to his gravelly delivery, makes the initial “the” come out more like “uh,” which I took to be “I.” After that, it wasn’t unlikely that I’d mistake “wants and” for “won’t stand.”

    Ah, well.

  6. Woodshed July 28th, 2007 10:09 am

    Gus: I’ve become horribly cynical since I found out Bear Grylls stays in hotels.

    wheels: I’m glad you’ve got it sorted out.

  7. Gugugfan January 16th, 2012 3:16 am

    You want ukulele? Check out “Walk off the Earth” on Youtube. Holy moly!

  8. Frankie Nuke September 23rd, 2012 11:34 am

    Woodshed – I’m really loving this site!!
    Started uking 5 weeks ago and really having so much fun with it now. Loving too Gus and Fin with their Ramones & Kenny Rogers tracks – inspiring stuff.

    Wanted to check that you guys had heard about the Dun Laoghaire International Uke festival here in Dublin – would love if you could come next year – worth a luke?

  9. Woodshed September 26th, 2012 10:21 am

    Frankie: Thanks but I’m not really a festival person.

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