Wagon wheel is composed of two different parts. The chorus and melody for the song comes from a demo recorded by Bob Dylan that was never officially released. The Dylan song was available on a bootleg, it was entitled "Rock me mamma". Although Dylan left the song an unfinished sketch, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote verses for the song around Dylan's original chorus. Secor's additional lyrics transformed "Rock Me, Mama" into "Wagon Wheel".
Back Home in Derry; Behind the Music
Like many other great folk songs this one came out of the prison system.
Bobby Sands, an IRA activist, was a political prisoner in an Irish Prison at the time he wrote this song. He was in for possession of a handgun
Ghost Riders in the Sky; Behind the Music
The song tells a folk tale of a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed, steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the spirits of damned cowboys. One warns him that if he does not change his ways, he will be doomed to join them, forever "trying to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies".
Jones said that he had been told the story when he was 12 years old by an old cowboy friend.
Here are some great FREE Ukulele Songbooks, lots of great songs here;
Excellent source of free sheet music, lot's of Jazz
This is an advanced lesson and for those that have completed the Play Ukulele NOW Method and Songbook or have a good understand of the basics. Feel free to post any questions you might have about it.
Why would you need to change the key?
Man of Constant Sorrow; Behind the music
Man of Constant Sorrow was originally recorded by the partially blind fiddler Dick Burnett in 1913. Burnett, interviewed late in life, couldn't remember whether he had written the tune, saying: "No, I think I got that ballad from somebody. I dunno. It may be my song." Wikipedia comments on the uncertainty around the song's origins:
According to the Country Music Annual, Burnett "probably tailored a pre-existing song to fit his blindness" and may have adapted a hymn. Charles Wolfe argues that "Burnett probably based his melody on an old Baptist hymn called 'Wandering Boy.'
Little Drummer Boy; Behind the music
The words and music to the Christmas song Little Drummer Boy were composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone in 1958. The lyrics of Little Drummer Boy consist of no less than 21 rum pum pum pum' - a major part of the song and therefore presenting an apparently easy task for the lyricist!
Little Drummer Boy has been a huge hit for several artists. The most notable rendition was created by the most unlikely combination of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. This version of Little Drummer Boy was a massive hit for the artists and was in fact Bing Crosby's most successful recording since the legendary White Christmas.
Erie Canal; Behind the Music
The popular song "Erie Canal" was written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen after Erie Canal barge traffic was converted from mule power to engine power, raising the speed of traffic. The sadly nostalgic song memorializes the years from 1825 to 1880 when the mule barges made boomtowns out of Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, and transformed New York into the Empire State.
Silent Night; Behind the music
Silent Night is a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr. On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Joseph Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody for Silent Night was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was originally intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass.
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Andrew Borst has been been teaching and writing instructional books and materials for almost 30 years now.