I have no idea, but I’m glad Eleanor manages to put up with him because this song is a little gem. The uke part is lovely. It reminds me of Romanza and is entertaining enough to be played just by itself.
Bobby McGee’s – When Father Died Ferrets Licked Away the Tears (Tab)
Another Bobby McGee’s song with two titles. The longer, less obvious one comes from a headline in The Brighton Argus. What the story was about, I have no idea.
Jimmy’s take on the more obvious title and the song itself: “FOREVER & A DAY: was a phrase whose first “recorded” utterance was in the Shakespere play “As You Like It” (or possibly “Taming Of The Shrew”)…..queue many bad Shakespere jokes during the live performance….The solo…well, you really have to see it performed live to appreciate it…I used to ALWAYS get a cheer when I managed to get to the end without screwing it up!….El said it was more to do with the look on my face than the technical virtuosity of the piece.”
The song got picked up by Film 4 for an ad. Resulting in enough royalties to keep them in face paint and retro dresses for a long time to come.
Probably my favourite bit of uke playing on the album. You can see most of what’s going on in the video with Eleanor’s fingerpicking and Jimmy’s much loved triplet strums. I tabbed up the bit Eleanor plays in the video as it’s a bit fancier than the part on the album.
The Bobby McGee’s – Billy & Tracey (Tab and Chords)
A fairly good representation of The Bobby McGee’s ukulele style with Jimmy dishing out some rapid strumming and Eleanor with the single note runs.
One interesting thing is that the two parts seem to be in conflict with each other. In the A chord Jimmy’s playing a major third (C#) and Eleanor is playing the minor third (C). When I asked Jimmy about it he said, “The major over a minor third was something I first heard in the work of Shostakovich…or was it Buddy Holly????” And he also notes that the A chord is played with a rock and roll hammer-on from A7 to A.
This week sees the long await release of The Bobby McGee’s debut album L’Appropriation Bourgoisie de la Bobby McGee’s. And what better way to celebrate than with a week packed with McGee-goodness. Starting with a interview with Jimmy.
The Bobby McGee’s have been together for about 7 years. How come you’ve only just got round to releasing an album?
A few reasons, firstly, I was never going to pay to have an album recorded or put one out myself. I reckoned if someone else wouldn’t put out our music it was because it wasn’t good enough to be released. I also wanted to work with good people infact I would rather work with good people than make money from working with dodgy people (though some money would be nice!). Secondly we built our own studio, or rather Graeme our bass player did! Converted an old garage, built floors, walls & roofs, equipped it & set it all up…like all building projects it took longer than first thought!
What can we expect from the album?
Some beautiful songs, some wise words, some mad rants and the best use of a ukulele since George Formby invented the split stroke!
It seems like everyone loves the Bobby McGee’s. Are you the first twee band to receive plaudits from Kerrang?
I think so, that was ace…
“Pure Fucking Genius!” was the phrase they used.
I was standing in the middle of a video shoot when I heard about it, I was a biker extra in a porn remake of “From Dusk Till Dawn” (don’t ask…but Dawn was a lovely girl!) I had a naked dancer in front of me, a man with a snake in his arms on my left and a bottle of jack Daniels in my hand when I got a text from my friend Jon, “Congratulations on the Kerrang review!”…for 15min I was Axl Rose!
You and Eleanor have very different styles of uke playing. How do you get them to gel together?
L.O.V.E! Girls do seem to just play differently from boys…Boys are all GEORGE FORMBY, fast strums and flashy technique…Girls are more HAWAII, beautiful mellody & gentle picking…but to make something truly great you need a wee bit of both.
Our songs have always been a mixture of my songs, Eleanor’s songs and songs we write together. I like them all!
My technique, I struggle with a rhythm or technique for hours, storm off in a huff shouting “I can’t do this…it’s stupid!”..Eleanor works it out in 2min and teaches me….then Graeme shouts at me until I can play it in time.
You’ve been active on the ukulele scene for quite a while. What’s your view of the ukulele scene at the moment?
If I walked onstage at a comedy club and did a Billy Connolly routine I’d be laughed out the place…That sums it up perfectly I think!
You’re a big advocate of people writing their own music. What advice can you give those who, like me, have no songwriting ability whatsoever?
Book yourself a gig today…or find an open mic’and go play…some real good songs came to me on the way to gigs! Rip interesting sentences from books or newspapers, play G then C then D…add the words…bingo, a song! It’s a start. Writing and performing your own songs is a totally different skill from playing covers and I’m still not sure about the crossover…I had it described best by a man I know only as J Boy Shine he talked about Artists & Artisans and the importance of both…I have a video I made about my 21 tips for songwriting and performance.
What can we expect from the Bobby McGee’s in the future?
Well, I have 2 solo albums recorded: 68 Love Songs(& a poem about shagging) & LOVE SONG 101…(thats a total of 170 new songs! I gave a copy of the 1st album to Billy Childish…I said to him “69 songs Mr Childish, but if I’m honest, only 67 of them are brilliant.” He laughed, but he hasn’t gotten back yet!).
I have ideas for another dozen, some recorded with no lyrics and some drunkenly hummed into my phone. I want to hear dance remixes of my songs…I’d love that! I saw the Japanese band MELT BANANA about a month ago and was hugely inspired, I’ve been experimenting with effects pedals ever since! My playings getting technically better which actually makes it harder to write songs as I always want to throw in a triplet, a split stroke or a 13th Chord instead of just writing a song!
L’Appropriation Bourgoisie de la Bobby McGee’s is released today on Cherryade Records.