Score(s)!

Speaking of musicals…I was lucky to be gifted this week with some great vintage sheet music (thanks Jesse!). This was the first one that caught my eye.

First of all, it’s Elvis! Second, this is a beautiful song. I first heard “A Fool Such as I” sung by my friend Colonel Tom who sings a lovely, traditional country interpretation of it. It was actually recorded by Hank Snow before Presley rockabillied it up. Third, it has ukulele chords! My vintage banjolele has been fixed and restrung, and is rarin’ to go.

Among the others I snagged:

  • “Unchained Melody” (1955): A beautiful tune…I didn’t know it came from a movie called Unchained. This also has ukulele chords (See? The Uke really was popular in the ‘50s.)
  • “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (1955): I don’t particularly like this song, but I’ve had a soft spot for it ever since one of my university classmates pointed out that every Emily Dickenson poem can be sung to it.
  • “Tiny Bubbles” (1966): Also, not a song I’m actually fond of, but it’s Don Ho! Right on the cover! I vaguely remember seeing Don Ho on TV, but I also have a childhood memory of seeing a drunk (or acting drunk) Dean Martin singing and hiccupping his way through this song. The sheet music that I have actually has Hawaiian lyrics as well as the English. It sounds way better as “Hua Li’l”. More ukulele!
  • “There Ought to be a Moonlight Saving Time” (1931): Fox Trot! 1930s style graphic of a mooney couple holding hands and sitting on the moon. Twoo Wuv. I really do love the music from the ‘30s, so I’m looking forward to hearing this one.
  • “Just a Cottage Small (By a Waterfall)” (1925). Never heard of it, but it’s also “with UKULELE accompaniment”. Big selling point in the ‘20s, as now. Plus, I love cottages.
  • “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1908; this version, 1936). I am likely never to perform this song, “the official baseball song”, I’m told, even though it—yes—has ukulele chords. But this version was marketed as being from “M.G.M.’s Gay Technicolor Musical!” And the cover is graced with the disembodied heads of Esther Williams, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. I heart Gene Kelly.
  • “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine”(1913). Again, never heard it before. This one is the only one without ukulele chords. But it has a great cover: A cowboy, with his horse; a waterfall (this might be a variation on the Cottage Small By a Waterfall); a lonely pining gal in a bonnet, gazing at the waterfall (thereby not noticing the handsome or creepy cowboy spying on her from afar). Plus, according to the cameo in the bottom corner, this song was made famous by a slightly crazed-looking woman named Edna Whistler, who has, sadly, fallen into obscurity. Some smart-ass has penciled in a couple of her teeth, to predictable effect. All I can find out about poor Edna is that she was a vaudeville performer, had a few minor roles on Broadway, and died in 1934…but she was apparently big enough in 1913 to be a selling feature on this sheet music.


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