Category Archives: Ukelele

Day 7 of the uke challenge: postponed until tomorrow

I have no idea what the upstairs neighbors are doing to make so much noise, but it’s a five-person flat and the possibilities are endless. Rather than ask them to be still so I can entertain my public, I’ll record tomorrow’s final entry while those clodhoppers are at their day obs.

Thanks for your indulgence.


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Day 6: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”

Put on “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) and fast-forward about 78 minutes in; by this point, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are singing “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” in a failed effort to coax a leopard down from a roof. With music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, it’s a song that lends itself to a number of situations.

Here’s my version, but it’s not nearly as funny:

In “Born Yesterday,” Judy Holliday hums the song annoyingly after her abusive boyfriend forbids her from speaking. All the while, she’s kicking his ass at cards.

(Note to self: choose tomorrow’s song tonight so you don’t have to scramble again tomorrow.)

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“My Favorite Things,” day 5 of the week-long uke challenge

I had no idea that there was an updated version of The Sound of Music on TV last night. I’ve seen the original film so many times it’s etched into memory. It’s a little kitschy for me, but any movie in which people are fleeing Nazis can’t be all bad. Besides, you get moments like these where everything just works out perfectly and your heart swells.

Here’s mine:

The version of this song I truly appreciate is John Coltrane’s cover, but it shares nothing in common with my version other than a basic melody and the fact that they were both recorded by black men in their 40s. I won’t pretend to know his motivation for transforming this treacly show tune into a jazz standard, but it’s an act of American genius, if I may wax jingoistic.

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