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Author Topic: Next patriotic solo?  (Read 3891 times)

Tom

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Next patriotic solo?
« on: June 08, 2013, 11:26:33 AM »
I'm currently away sans ukulele, but I'm going to try playing Lee Greenwood's God Bless The USA when I get home. I'm thinking this might be a future solo for me to sing with uke accompanyment.

I've never played it on any instrument it before, and I've only sung it once in public (probably accurate to say 'once, period'), several years ago. Coincidentally this was in a spontaneous duet with our current uke Music Director. He and I were about to attend a (small) Memorial Day ceremony when the thought occurred to me. I knew he'd have no trouble harmonizing if I sang the melody line, and he agreed, and proceeded to talk to the event organizer. We encouraged a singalong by anyone in the audience who knew the song.

Of course, there's no way I could come close to matching Lee Greenwood singing this song, especially having seen him perform live at a Monaco RV rally several years ago.
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 05:52:02 PM »
I couldn't get God Bless The USA (aka Proud To Be An American) out of my head while we were on vacation, and couldn't wait to play it on a ukulele when we arrived home. I found chords in two different keys:

www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.guitaretab.com/l/lee-greenwood/61619.html

www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.roughstock.com/cowpie/songs/l/lee-greenwood/god_bless_the_usa

I've only tried playing the first (easy on the uke) one, but my ear tells me there are some errors, so I'm going to rewrite it.

BTW the fingering diagrams are can be changed at the click of a mouse button to one of 9 instrument tuning.options. The song can also be transposed up by 5 semitones or down by 6 semitones.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 08:00:33 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2015, 08:15:42 PM »
Finally getting back to this ...

I've been wanting to sing Lee Greewood's 'God Bless The USA', but I can't "cleanly" hit some of those notes in his version. A couple of days ago I did some rearranging and transposing into a different key, and tried playing it on a baritone ukulele, and it brings things into my register. With a little practice, I hope to introduce it into the Delta Strummers portfolio, maybe in time for our Veterans Day performance.

Since the bari uke is tuned like the first 4 strings of a guitar, I might pick up the courage to play it on the guitar to accompany the band.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 08:17:59 PM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2015, 11:02:22 PM »
I saw Lee Greenwood play that song at The Grand Ol' Opry.  As we were going in I put a couple dozen lightning bugs in a solo cup (I had emptied it a couple of times, OK?). I released them in the theater.

Towards the end of the song they set off about 9,000 fireworks in the image of the flag.  Every one of 'my' bugs made a beeline for the stage.  Fried them all!  (Oh! The fiery carnage!)

Couldn't get the song out of my head for days.  And now it's back.  Thanks!  ;)

Shouldn't be hard to play but it is a heavily orchestrated production.  Hard to imagine it on a single uke.

Here's a link to the lyrics & chords.  I can't guarantee that they are correct.  http://www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.roughstock.com/cowpie/cowpie-songs/g/greenwood_lee/god_bless_the_usa.crd
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2015, 01:38:13 AM »
Thanks. There were links to a couple of Chordie versions in my earlier message.

We saw him sing it live at one of the large Monaco RV rallies and, as you say, it was hard to get the song out of my head for some time afterwards.

Quote
Hard to imagine it on a single uke.

I envision having the band (50+ ukes, a couple of guitars, and possibly a guest instrumentalist or two) joining in to sing and play the chorus. Maybe have the audience join in for a repeat of the second chorus. I'm vacillating between a (soft) thumb strum and a full (louder) strum on the solo parts.

Haven't yet experimented with playing it on my banjo or my banjo uke; They might be too loud or too harsh to accompany the solo parts, but would probably fit right in on the choruses. We have approx 6 banjo ukers, including me, in the band; On the "right" songs, they add nicely to the sound.

Our Music Director has a better ear for this stuff than I and greater musical creativity, and he'd have the final say on who plays/sings which bits.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 01:40:02 AM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2015, 10:05:34 AM »
I must have been emptying too many solo cups last night and missed the links. (Not true, I've had a splitting sinus headache for 3 days so far.  I don't drink much or often.)

Yeah, those music directors can be controlling and demanding at times.   :)

I'm currently working on a rock/jazz fusion version of Red Tailed Hawk and a more traditional 3 part harmony of Home.  They both get stuck in the gray matter media player trapped in my thick skull.  One of my band members though I might like them.  Actually she kind of dragged me into it kicking & screaming but they grew on me once I was able to cook the chords a bit. 
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2015, 11:04:14 AM »
Sorry about the sinus headache; They can be a bitch.

Quote
those music directors can be controlling and demanding at times.

Aye they can  ;D
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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2015, 08:33:30 PM »
The banjo ukulele is out, unless I do some vocal gymnastics. Guitar is (for me) marginal, and I still need to try playing on my plectrum banjo.
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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2015, 08:04:23 PM »
Yesterday the Maestro poo poo'd the solo on the phone (without hearing it), specifically because we "don't have enough time for the band to learn a new song" and "it requires too much vocal range to be able to sing". Methinks he forgot that he and I sang it as a duet some years ago.

We'll introduce it again next year. I'm still practicing and switching between the bari uke and the guitar. Haven't yet tried the plectrum banjo.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2015, 08:36:24 PM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2015, 08:57:52 PM »
Wow, that lands close to home with me because the same person who brought those two songs to me has a habit of bringing new ones THE SAME DAY we're playing a gig.
 ::) ::) ::)
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2015, 09:03:08 PM »
I understand, but 3 weeks is not exactly the same day.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2015, 09:19:25 PM »
When you're dealing with a large group and have the need to arrange parts like an orchestra it just might be. 
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2015, 09:24:24 PM »
Understood. In this case, 90+% of the band are playing the same instrument  ;)
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2015, 11:46:49 PM »
Aye, but are they playing the same exact notes/chords?

In guitar terms three of them playing the same song, one in D, another capo'd 2 frets playing in C, and the third capo'd 5 playing in A.  It sounds better than all three playing the same chord voicings.  (They are playing the same chords though.  Except for me 'cause I throw in weird chords often)
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2015, 05:16:06 AM »
Very few ukers in the band (maybe none) are playing up the neck, and I've seen only one or two guitarists use a capo; no capo on ukes, although I have a few I've played around with.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 06:29:18 AM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2015, 11:55:11 AM »
That puts you on the leading edge.  Partial capos, and even single string ones are all the rage now.  They make capos for banjos & mandolyns - bet one or the other will work on a uke.
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2015, 12:26:36 PM »
Well, I'd be leading edge if I knew how/when to use them  :-[ Every now and then I pull out one of my "how to use a capo" book(lets). Whenever I watch a guitarist put on a capo, my brain goes into gyrations. They OTOH are doing it instinctively (capo on the 3rd fret - play X chords; Capo on the 5th fret - play Y chords). Not only do they not have to think about it, they don't have to count the frets, and they're all set to go before I count to 2  :(

FWIW my uke capos were bought specifically as uke capos.
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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2015, 03:23:52 AM »
Sometimes it just takes a different approach. After sowing a seed and letting it be his idea, the Maestro decided we needed more patriotic songs and asked for a copy of my lead sheet. He made a couple of minor changes, and has added it to our playlist for Veterans Day. We have three practices before the performance for the band to learn to play/sing it (not memorize it). No commitment yet on a solo, but one step at a time. Maybe I can demo/audition it for the band  ???
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 07:26:56 AM by Tom »
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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2015, 07:41:49 AM »
Looks like this is 'in the program' for our Veterans Day show. The band picked up on the song quite well at Tuesday's practice.

Wednesday was another trip to the venue to finalize some details, setup, logistics, etc. They have little available parking at this facility, so folks have to drive to a nearby shopping center, and will be picked up by shuttle bus. Should be interesting to see if everyone makes it. A few years ago, when some band members either couldn't find a venue or turned up at the wrong one, I jokingly said I'd borrow/rent a bus to drive them, just so we could be sure everyone turned up at the right time and at the right place  ;D
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2015, 11:38:42 AM »
Like this.
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2015, 11:42:33 AM »
 ;D
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2015, 05:45:48 PM »
I wonder if this is real.
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2015, 06:15:11 PM »
You're the second person to send me that link today  ???
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 06:20:50 PM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2015, 07:17:31 PM »
I had a busy day.
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Tom

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2015, 07:30:48 PM »
FWIW my arrangement of Lee Greenwood's patriotic song was in the program for our last concert, and I can't get the tune and lyrics out of my mind.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Next patriotic solo?
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2015, 07:55:08 PM »
And as soon as I read this it started up in mine!

Could be worse, it could be Achy Breaky Heart.   Arrrggggh!  Now I've done it!  I'm doomed........
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