Thursday, 25 September 2014

Yes Sir, That's My Baby on Ukulele

"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" is one of those Tin Pan Alley songs that lends itself naturally to the ukulele. It's been recorded numerous times and in the year it was published, 1925, was a hit for Blossom Seeley, Ace Brigode and his 14 Virginians, Ben Bernie, The Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra, and Gene Austin who, according to the notes on this video, made the very first recording of the song. Billy Carpenter plays the ukulele here:


A few weeks ago, this video appeared, also recorded in 1925. It was made at the Case Research Lab, then in the process of developing the Movietone sound-on-film system:



These virtuosic arrangements notwithstanding, it has a fairly simple song structure and can be strummed with just a few chords. Ukester Brown's version in G includes the introduction, also heard in the recordings above. Doctor Uke simplifies the song down to its more familiar refrain. His arrangement is in C and quite close to that in this final video, a clip from the 1965 movie A Thousand Clowns. Jason Robards plays tenor ukulele and Barry Gordon is on soprano.


Many thanks to my teacher Robert Armstrong for introducing me to this song, the Case Research Lab video, and many other bits of history and music lore that led down this particular rabbit hole.

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