Christmas Gifts for Ukulele Players: CDs

Beirut – Flying Club Cup

Beirut – Sunday Smile (mp3) via their website

Beirut are hugely popular with hipsters and college kids. Whichever record exec focus-grouped the idea and found out that brass band waltzes and ukuleles were what the youngsters wanted deserves a raise.

You can check out the songs at flyingclubcup.com where the all the songs are performed in various locations (in an abandoned house, on the river bank, on the street) to great advantage.

Beirut are responsible for turning loads of people on to the ukulele and my Beirut posts are some of the most popular on the blog. So if you buy this for your uke playing loved one, be sure to give them the url of this blog too.

Craig Robertson – That Dress

Higher Heels (mp3)
Leopard (mp3) via his website.

Whoever said, “They don’t write ‘em like the used to,” obviously hasn’t heard Craig Robertson. His songs have a classic, timeless feel to them and could have been written yesterday or ninety years ago. They’re full of dark and sinister ne’er-do-wells.

If you’re not drinking whiskey and smoking when you start listening to this album, you will be by the end of it.

Craig has a huge pile of mp3s available for free download. You can find cover versions here and demos of his originals here.

Buy Now

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – Precious Little

Theme from Shaft (clip)
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (clip)
God Gave Rock and Roll To You (clip) via their website.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain seem to be popular with just about everyone. They’re a viral YouTube smash; writer Howard Jacobson called them, “the best musical entertainment in the country”; George Harrison wanted to jam with them; they’ve appeared on kids TV a number of times and Brian Eno said that they, “may well turn out to be one of the turning points of 21st Century Art.” I think that’s a fair demographic reach.

Personally, I could happily go without the covers of Nirvana and the like that seem to have made them popular. I find them much more impressive when they’re being musical rather than ironic.

Buy Now.

More Christmas gifts for ukulele players

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5 Comments

  1. zym December 17th, 2007 5:49 pm

    Re: OUGB
    It might be a controversial view, but i prefer the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. They’re maybe not in the same league, but they always look like they are enjoying themselves:)

  2. moocher December 17th, 2007 7:26 pm

    Beirut were awesome on Later with Jules (as were Band of Horses). Any chance of more Beirut tabs, especially Sunday Smile.

  3. Woodshed December 17th, 2007 7:41 pm

    zym: I half agree with you. I think WIUO are more convincing on modern songs but UOGB are much more musically proficient.

    moocher: There’s every chance of more Beirut tabs next year.

  4. weelie December 18th, 2007 8:11 am

    I live in Finland, quite far away from Wellington, so I’ve never seen the WIUO, but I did see the UOOGB when they were here a couple of years ago, and the were a LOT of fun! Didn’t have an uke at the time, although was into them a bit already, but… you could say I am one of the people that they brought to the ukulele.

    I have none of their records, but to me (of the big names in ukedom) they are closest to what I’d like achieve if I played a gig myself. Although I would choose a different kind of a set of classic songs, of course.

  5. Woodshed December 18th, 2007 8:06 pm

    I think that’s definitely a worthy goal, weelie.

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