Christmas Carols for Ukulele by John King: Review

Christmas is coming fast and it’s time to start practicing a few tunes to entertain the family. With John King’s Classical Ukulele and Famous Solos and Duets for ‘Ukulele being the two best ukulele tab books around and his arrangements of Carol of the Bells and What Child Is This? being great, I felt pretty safe picking up a copy of his Christmas Carols for Ukulele.

Lowdown

Melody in standard notation only and ukulele chord diagrams (NO TAB) for:

Angels We Have Heard On High
Away In A Manger
Coventry Carol
Deck The Hall
The First Noel
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Here We Come A-Wassailing
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring
Jingle Bells
Joy To The World
O Christmas Tree
O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
O Come, O Come Immanuel
O Holy Night
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Silent Night
Toyland
Up On The Housetop
We Three Kings Of Orient Are
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
What Child Is This?

The Good Stuff

Erm…: I’m assuming this book is aimed at people who just want chords to some traditional Christmas songs. It fulfills that purpose.

It’s cheap: £5 on Amazon and $8 on Elderly.

The Not So Good Stuff

No tab: That makes it either useless or a huge chore to use to at least 90% of ukulele players.

Boring arrangements: If you could call them that at all. There are so many ways to play the same notes on a ukulele that standard notation doesn’t cut it. If you’re expecting anything like his other books, you’ll be very disappointed.

No audio: It doesn’t give you any idea of how it’s supposed to sound.

No performance notes: John King’s writing is as good as his arranging. None of it here.

Overall

The information on this book online is very scant. I was expecting something completely different given John King’s other books. I was very disappointed with it (a shame to say that about somethig that John King has put his name to). Definitely one to avoid. It seems to have been thrown together to make a few quid at Christmas. If you’re looking for chords and melody for these public domain Christmas tunes you can find them all over the net.

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3 Comments

  1. Tamster December 3rd, 2009 2:40 am

    Ya I was disappointed too when I saw it in the store and realized it wasn’t like his other books.

  2. Jim Abbott December 3rd, 2009 3:55 pm

    What did you expect for a $7.95 Hal Leonard book? I’d say your bad, not John’s.

  3. Woodshed December 3rd, 2009 4:53 pm

    Tamster: I wish I’d seen it a shop first as well.

    Jim: Yup, my bad for thinking John King wouldn’t put his name to something that’s a bit crap.

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