After a few weeks of heavy duty rock riffs, I’m having a change this week and going with some old school stuff.
Blues Skies has been recorded by hundreds of people including Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Willie Nelson. But this tab is based heavily, very heavily, on Brian Hefferan‘s version because whenever I hear one of his arrangements, I can never think of a better way to play it.
The chords are fairly simple. Even when they get a bit jazzy in the ‘Blue skies…‘ section, all you’re doing is moving one string down a fret each time (although I’ve probably chosen completely the wrong chord names). There’s a nice variation on the B7 chord (2320) which replaces the B with a second seventh note – it makes for a very easy change from the G chord.
A slight change in naming policy might throw you though. I used to refer to major 7 chords as maj7, but from now on it’ll be 7M with a capital ‘M’ to distinguish it from a minor chord.
The intro is, obviously, a little trickier. I’ve tabbed it out quite sparsely with just the chords and melody notes so you’ll need to fill in with some supporting strums to keep things moving along.
How long have you been making music? What got you interested in making music?
Since music was in some way everpresent in my life and especially in my teenage years I started to build up an intense relationship with the songs I listened to, it came naturally for me that at some point I wanted to try this myself.
I had a sparse but present musical education as a child, including recorder lessons and a children’s choir membership so I was not entirely unfamiliar with the aspect of not only consuming but also playing music, but it was only when in I picked up a borrowed guitar to teach myself a bit that I actually started the attempt to make my own humble songs. That was a first tentative step I made about four years ago.
What made you pick up the ukulele? What appeals to you about it?
Picking up the ukulele was a surprisingly spontaneous decision, mainly inspired by some travelling plans for summer and the urge to take a light, portable instrument with me. Later the travelling plans were abandoned anyway but getting to know the ukulele was an epiphany to me. It should remain an important point in my musical development. The ukulele conveyed the feeling of immediate familiarity, which is something I had never experienced on the guitar. It was utterly inspiring!
But also apart from the mere playability and direct relationship to the instrument as such, I also like the ukulele as an overall concept. It manages the balancing act between being unobtrusive, modest yet still extraordinary. A ukulele player may attract attention with this unusual choice of an instrument, but doesn’t necessarily claim to be taken seriously. The more surprising it seems to be for the audience to experience that this somewhat toy-like thing can in fact be a serious instrument. Besides, it also appears to have an interesting influence on social behaviour among fellow ukulele players – there’s a kindness within the community of ukulele players that I rarely have experienced elsewhere so far.
How did the name Entertainment for the Braindead come about?
I am really bad in coming up with names for anything. When I started this music thing and had to find a name for it, this expression, that I had heard a while ago, came to my mind. I already had the web domain anyway and it struck me that in a way it would also fit the music project – at least it might keep the audience’s expectations low. And I’d rather go for a slight hint of sarcasm than choose something that sounds too pathetic…
Do you start with a theme in mind for your albums or does it emerge as you went along?
Maybe it’s a mixture of both, to some extent. But there are times when my life circles around a certain theme or idea or I keep some sort of leitmotif in mind that helps me verbalize the experiences I made over a certain period of time. So basically it just happens, at least it’s not artificially constructed.
What’s in the future for Entertainment for the Braindead?
That’s a good question. I don’t know, I will see where this leads me. It’s funny because this development is turning into a recursive process… Up to now it was just my personal development influencing the musical one.. now it starts to work the other way as well, which is quite exciting for me. And since this has just begun, I have no idea where it might end.
One of my questions in the batch that never made it to you was, “Hypersomnia feels like a lonely album. How does that fit with the theme of sleep?” Unless I’ve got it wrong, Hydrophobia feels a lot less lonely. It’s not really a question anymore, just an observation.
But this is a good observation, yes.. Hypersomnia is in fact a an extremely self-centered, introverted album. The notion of sleep as it is dealt with in these songs is mainly a means of isolation. The sleeper avoids confrontation with the world, the sleeping body is the shell into which he withdraws. It’s mostly about resignment and escapism and thus, loneliness.
Now while Hypersomnia focuses on the Self, Hydrophobia is about the others. It’s basically the next step, going out and giving up fortresses and facing the world in all its ambivalence.
As great as Mahna Mahna is, I’ve never been able to forgive it for resulting in the worst record of all time: Vanilla No Way, No Way (but watching that on YouTube led me to remembering that Shapoo were bloody fantastic – so good truly can come from evil).
Still it’s a whole sack full of fun and great for lacing together lots of random songs. In my version, I played a bit of a solo that died a la the Muppet version and from there threw in any bit of music that took my fancy. I was just having fun with the track, so it’s jam packed full of mistakes.
A million cool points to anyone who can name all the tunes I quote.
Plenty of interesting and unusal ukuleles this week. And whenever the phrase ‘interesting and unusal ukuleles’ crops up, the word ‘Swagerty‘ isn’t going to be far behind. According to the description this Swagerty Sum Fun is a one of a kind made by and bought from Swagerty himself. That has to make it a serious collector’s item.
This Akulele was apparently made by Bolivian charango luthiers and it certainly looks like it. The uke back, sides and neck are all made out of one piece of wood like a charango (or at least those that aren’t made of armadillo shells).
Kala have added to their ‘arch tops with unusual sound holes’ range with slotted sound hole design.
The electricMahalo Les Pauls and Telecasters have arrived on eBay UK (I should probably call them electro-acoustic to be exact). You can find them, and their acoustic brethren, here.
My favourite ukulele photo of the week is astonishingly unusual in that it features a girl playing the ukulele whilst wearing a top.
Former indie rockers, Electrelane are another one of those bands you wouldn’t have expected to come out with a ukulele track. But Cut and Run cropped up on their final album No Shouts, No Calls.
It’s a straight forward song with the same chord progression throughout. The only slight issue is that the F chord is played at the fifth fret (with the open C chord shape). If you’re not comfortable playing that far up the neck and not happy with the big jump, you can substitute it for the usual open F chord shape.