Ukulele Heroes – The Golden Age

Ukulele Heroes – The Golden Age
Ian Whitcomb
Published by Hal Leonard
Softcover – 166 Pages
Audience – All levels
Rating – fiveukerating
Ukulele pictured – Unknown Maker (Harmony?) – circ. 1950 – Strung with vintage gut strings.

Ian Whitcomb has spent his life in the music industry.  Growing up in Great Britain, he encountered the ukulele early in his life.  And ‘ukie’ has been traveling with him for much of it.  His Martin joined him onstage with Johnny Carson and has been used in his performances across the country.  In the process he encountered the stories and music of his ukulele heroes, which he shares with us in his book.  He has also issued a terrific 2 CD set of Tin Pan Alley songs on the ukulele (review in the future).

Profusely illustrated with vintage sheet music and photographs many provided by Flea Market Music (Jim and Liz Beloff), a wave of nostalgia hits just flipping through the pages.  Chapter 1 is a short background on the author and his work with the ukulele.  Chapter 2 focuses on the history of the instrument.  The next four chapters are filled with memories of so many of the ukulele greats, including Ukulele Ike, Roy Smeck, Arthur Godfrey, Tessie O’Shay, and dozens of others.  The last chapter talks about the key figures in the recent revival of our favorite instrument.

Properly indexed so you can refresh your memory when one of the names comes up.  The book also includes a discography, a filmography and listing of hit songs by the Ukulele Heroes.  A great reference and a fun read.

I enjoyed reading this all the way through and it is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  You won’t even feel guilty about not practicing!

Next up -> Midwest Uke Camp 2017 Review

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