Best Things from 2011 to Spend Money On

I’ve only bought one ukulele this year (my aNueNue harp ukulele) and I haven’t entirely formed my opinion on that yet. But there’s other stuff I’ve bought this year (or wangled for free) that has been well worth the money.


The ukulele albums I’ve listened to most this year are:

Givers – In Light
Leftover Cuties – Places to Go
Emily Scott – i write letters i never send
Tune-Yards – W H O K I L L

But there are plenty more great ukulele songs released this year. I’ve made a Spotify playlist of some of them I could find on there.

And I’ve put together a Spotify playlist of my favourite non-ukulele songs of the year.

Both are a random assortment of tracks that happened to pop into my head. I’m sure I’ve left out plenty of stuff (and quite a few great uke albums aren’t on Spotify).


I am, of course, going to be completely biased and suggest you buy a copy of Ukulele for Dummies.

On less self-interested note, I’d highly recommend Lil’ Rev’s 101 Ukulele Licks for anyone looking to do some ukulele soloing.

My copy of Ralph Shaw’s The Ukulele Entertainer has yet to wing its way across the ocean but – since it’s based on his blog posts – I feel confident that’ll be well worth the money.

On a non-ukulele front, and after some initial skepticism, I took the plunge and bought a Kindle. It’s part of my drive to get rid of as much junk from my life as possible. I’ve tackled the biggest problem (CDs) and books are next on the list (ukuleles are third – don’t know what I’m going to do about that). Best thing about it: you can hook it up to Instapaper and make it a whole lot easier to read long articles on the net.

If you’re worried about me being easily bought (a very fair position to hold) the stuff I got free was: Leftover Cuties, Emily Scott and 101 Ukulele Licks. I would have gladly paid full whack for all of them.

View Comments


  1. Dom December 16th, 2011 11:43 pm

    Thanks for putting the Spotify link! Saves me a little bit of time ^_^

  2. Christiane December 17th, 2011 12:51 pm

    … no “spotify” in Germany available … what a pity. Could you give a playlist with just the titles and band-names?! Because: I like the songs you choose and would like to see what you’ve been listening to in 2011 …
    (Thanks, by the way, for introducing The Keston Cobblers Club to me!)

  3. pepamahina December 17th, 2011 2:21 pm

    I couldn’t use spotify either, maybe because I’m using an ancient Mac.
    I really liked the book “From Lute to Uke” this year. It’s a must have if you like Medieval ditties.
    UK link:
    US link:

  4. ritchie December 17th, 2011 6:48 pm

    Hey Al, what an inspired song list …. not a duff one amongst them, well done ;-)

  5. Woodshed December 17th, 2011 11:27 pm

    Dom: Thanks. I thought I’d test it out.

    Christine and pepamahina: Sorry. It’s a bit of an experiment to see if it’s worth doing more of that sort of thing.

    ritchie: Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. J-Hob December 18th, 2011 11:38 am

    Cheers for the playlists, I shall take a listen to them tomorrow.

    With you on the decluttering. We got rid of loads of CDs earlier this year, down to a very tight selection now. Still some that we can’t part with though. Have you got rid of all CDs?

    I also had a uke clearout earlier this year. Down to 5 now.

    I have reason to believe that the 101 uke licks book may be coming my way this Christmas!

  7. Woodshed December 20th, 2011 8:32 pm

    J-Hob: No, not completely. There are some with sentimental value. And still some knocking around. Have fun with the 101 book! (Assuming you’ve been a good boy this year)

  8. liuhui December 27th, 2011 8:17 am

    I’m in China,I can’t use Spotify,could you make a song list for me as “Christiane” said?

    There aren’t any songs played with ukulele in our country, so i really need the list as a learner,i love ukulele very much ,and i bought a wonderful Kala last mounth…

    Thank you and have a nice day!

  9. Woodshed December 27th, 2011 11:19 am

    Christine and liuhui: Here’s the list:

    Eddie Vedder – Can’t Keep
    Tune-Yards – You Yes You
    Leftover Cuties – Places To Go
    Sophie Madeleine – The Rhythm You Started
    Givers – Meantime
    James Hill – Hand Over My Heart
    Shiny And The Spoon – Black Nag
    Seryn – River Song
    The Young Punx – Map of Tasmania – Original
    Beirut – Port of Call
    Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer – How Many Brilliant Minds Are Lost To Work?
    Lisa Hannigan – Knots

  10. liuhui December 31st, 2011 6:57 am

    I’ve received the mail,thank you and happy new year!

  11. Claude January 15th, 2012 4:45 am

    I should probably get the Uke for Dummies book, since you were kind enough to mention me in the title so I knew it was for me.
    I might mention that Rob MacKillop has a few ukulele titles this year from Mel Bay. 20 Spanish Baroque Pieces by Gaspar Sanz, 20 Progressive Fingerstyle Studies and 20 Pieces from the Briggs Banjo Instructor.
    He seems to like the number 20 on his Ukulele books.

  12. Woodshed January 15th, 2012 10:10 pm

    Claude: Thanks! Hope you enjoy the Dummies book.

  13. Alaskaukegirl January 16th, 2012 1:06 am

    Hi Woodshed, I’ve been a frequent visitor to your site for a few years. I picked up my first uke on a trip to Hawaii about two years ago. Not to sure why I picked it up possibly I thought it was cute and I always had an urge to play a stringed instrument, but had a distain for the guitar player around the fire pit trying to pick any girl up cause he was sensitive. Anyway I am in love!! I have picked up a few books, but I just bought your dummies book yesterday. Which I have to say I am not even very far into it, but it is very well laid out and whitty. I have giggled a few times. Especially about the UAS, I own four ukuleles already only after two years and I am always eyeballing more. Ha I have a problem. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for writing dummies I am excited to dive into it.

  14. Woodshed January 16th, 2012 10:37 am

    Alaskaukegirl: Thanks very much for the kind words. Glad you’re enjoying your uke.

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