New Year, New Songs!

Last night was the first Snug Ukulele Group meetup of 2015 and it was a fun one! I hope everybody had a great Christmas and New Year, and that their New Years Resolutions are going well!

First please allow me to apologise for the wrong chord and chord chart in Valerie, I’ll bring updated and correct copies of that to the next meetup (and thanks to Sara for showing me the right chord when my addled brain couldn’t figure it out). If you want to download a correct copy of Valerie, it’s in the 2015 songbook which can be found on the Songs page.

Talking about The Songs page, I’ve updated it, with the 2015 songbook (which just contains the songs from the January meetup for now), Carnforth Station Blues, and the 2014 songbook is still there to download, but I’ve also added links in the list of the songs in our songbooks to YouTube videos of the songs in case people are unfamiliar with any songs. I can’t guarantee they are in the same key as the versions in the songbooks, but it will help if you don’t know the structure of the song.

Back to last night, the songs were:

  • Abracadabra – The Steve Miller Band
  • Alright – Supergrass
  • Valerie – The Zutons/Amy Winehouse
  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World *does* have a lot of chord changes, and it’s definitely the hardest song I’ve brought to the group since we started, but I think that with enough practice we can do it, it’s definitely within the group’s skill level! We’re good enough! It’s a long term goal, and not one that I expected us to nail in one go, but will need practice! Think of it as homework 😉

The next meetup will be Monday the 9th of February at 6.30pm, and I’m already working on songs for it! I’ll set up a Facebook event page as soon as I have done so!


The Snug Beer Festival and The Next Meetup!

The Snug Ukulele Group made our debut performance at The Snug Beer Festival last night, and didn’t we do well? I was so proud of everyone involved in the group for doing such a great job. Glenn Bennett took some brilliant photos which can be found “here

In case you weren’t there to join in with us, or catch us, our setlist was:

Teenage Kicks
500 Miles
Sloop John B
Drunken Sailor
Stand By Me
Whiskey In The Jar
Rockin’ All Over The World
Carnforth Station Blues

And then to top it off, the crowd wanted more, so we finished with an encore of Common People!

My favourite photo is of Mike Rowbottom, which I think just shows how much fun he, and everyone else, was having last night!


Much ale and cider was consumed at the festival, and I like to think that we just topped it off with our performances. Also, after the ukulele group’s performance on the platform, Michael Dillon, myself (Kris) and Joe, and Chris and Ann Marie Smith entertained people with a few songs in the foyer which also went down well.

Onto the next meetup. We’re having a month off over December as
Gregg and Jules won’t be around to open up The Snug so the next meetup will be on the 12th of January, there will be brand spanking new songs and new chords, though I do plan on giving you all a heads up on new chords and songs so you can get a bit of practice in before the next meetup!

I’m sure I’ll see many of you in the meantime when down at The Snug and via chat online. Thanks once again for being bloody awesome last night, and thanks for attending the uke club, it’s a great group and I’m sure we all have loads of fun!

Best start thinking about the setlist for the beer festival next year! 😉


September Second Meetup

Hey everyone! We had a second meetup this month to discuss things like the beer festival, how to progress as players etc. this evening, so I’m writing this post before I go to bed whilst information is fresh in my mind…

  • Extra meetups: It’s been decided that to help us prepare for the beer festival we’re going to meet up every two weeks, so the next meetup is on October 13th, and after that will be October 27th.
  • Structure of meetups: We’re going to focus on using the first half hour – forty five minutes of a meetup to focus on where people are struggling, more of a workshop style session before we get thrashing our ukes.
  • Beer festival: We’ve decided on a shortlist of 11 songs to consider performing at the beer festival and we’ve agreed that we want to have about half an hour of a set list, so that’s about 6 or 7 songs.
  • Strumming patterns: To help people with their strumming I have gone through songs in the songbook and figured out strumming patterns for most of them, and I’m going to try and include them in future songs next year. The strumming patterns can be found in this image below. If you weren’t here for this session, don’t worry if these don’t make much sense yet, I’ll explain again in October.Strumming Patterns

The shortlist of songs is:

  • Sloop John B (strumming pattern 2)
  • Common People (strumming pattern 3)
  • Teenage Kicks (strumming pattern 3)
  • Whiskey In The Jar (strumming pattern 3)
  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (strumming pattern 1)
  • Rockin’ All Over The World (strumming pattern 3)
  • Stand By Me (strumming pattern 3)
  • Drunken Sailor (strumming pattern 1)
  • Ring of Fire (strumming pattern 2)
  • Bring Me Sunshine (strumming pattern 3)
  • Carnforth Station Blues (strumming pattern 2)

Those in bold we went through this evening and agreed that they were all definite possibilities, with the exception of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” as some struggle with the D chord shape, but we will revisit these and the other songs in October before making a final decision of which songs to perform.

If there’s anything I’ve missed, please do say so in the comments below.



September Double Meetup!

Sorry it’s been ages since the September meetup and me posting this, just with A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival I’d been preoccupied!

The September meetup was fantastic, GREAT numbers again, seriously, it makes me so happy to have a room full of people thrashing ukes and enjoying themselves!

We just ran through the songbook, and added in Michael Dillon’s version of Folsom Prison Blues, Carnforth Station Blues to the songbook. It was also agreed that we’d have a second meetup this month for anybody wanting an extra session to get to grips with songs, which is this coming Monday, the 29th of September.

All are welcome, and I’m bringing my dad along, too, as he keeps talking about getting into the ukulele, and he’s had a uke gathering dust for a good year now, so this will be a great opportunity for me to get to talk to everyone and give advice where needed, rather than shouting “WE’LL NOW PLAY SLOOP JOHN B” over 30 people (not that I’m complaining, our group is just so BLOODY fun!!)

Also, it was great to see Gregg, Jules, Ann-Marie, Vicky and Michael at A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival on the Sunday for The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. If you weren’t there, ask anybody who attended what they thought! It’ll be great if we get a good SnUG at The Snug contingent down for next years. I’ll be bothering you all to buy tickets in person, but for more information visit (early bird tickets are still remaining)

Right, so I’ll see some of you on Monday, and if not, October 13th!


August’s Mega Meetup and more!

Massive apologies for not posting a blog about August’s meetup sooner, life has just been a bit hectic recently and I’ve just been reminded by Sara to put up a blog post!

Wasn’t August brilliant? It was great to see so many new faces amongst the regulars! I think there were about 30 of us there! Thanks to the Mike Gradwell for bringing some of the Morecambe lot down, and it was also great to have some of the Warton group join us too! Hopefully September will be just as busy and super fun!

On the topic of September, the September meetup will be on the 8th of September, as always, at The Snug, 6.30pm.

September is a busy month for me, because the weekend following next month’s meetup, I’ll be in Huddersfield for A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, along with other uke club regulars! It’s going to be a great weekend, as we have the formidable Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain as our massive super mega awesome headline act on the Sunday evening, and the amazingly talented Del Ray, Seattle based blues songstress extraordinaire headlining the Saturday concert. Tickets ARE still available, so it’s not too late! We have day and weekend tickets too! The more the merrier!

The other important event in September is my birthday (okay, not THAT important, but still exciting for me), on September 3rd, so if anybody fancies it, I’ll be at The Snug with friends and would love for you all to join me, bring ukes, it’ll be fun!

See you all in a fortnight’s time (ish!)


July Meetup, New Song for November and Reminder about Lancaster Ukulele Malarkey

Hey Gang! It was another quiet one on Monday, but with the combination of it being summer, and a rainy evening, and along with people having prior commitments, that’s understandable, and a fun night was still had by all.

Things we learned on Monday:

  • Marble Summer is a delicious beer and I got the last half, sorry
  • We can make a heck of a noise even when there’s only 10 of us or so
  • We’re getting good at finishing at the same time!

In the list of songs for November we currently have Ben E. King’s Stand By Me, which was probably the one we sounded the most ropey on, I think I tend to sing it a bit different to others because that’s been a song I have played for years now, and I have developed my own style of it, and for that I’m sorry, feel free to tell me off, it’s probably off putting for  you all.

However, a new song for Monday was Bring Me Sunshine, which I have listed in the songbook as “Various Artists” because for me the definitive version is kind of Morecambe and Wise, but it wasn’t them singing it (was it? I’m not sure) but so many performers have sung it, I just put various artists. Anyway, this felt like a great song to add to the list of songs for November, and feels like a good set closer, a singalong everybody knows, and with local connections, what with Morecambe only being down the road!

Also, I forgot to put G7 into the chord chart for Bring Me Sunshine, I’ve fixed that now, so if you want to download it and print it off, click here.

On the topic of fixing songs, I have posted a new updated songbook to The Songs page. I’ve fixed typos and missing chords (typos such as in Folsom Prison Blues “don’t ever lay with guns” now reads “don’t ever play with guns”, neither are safe… though), and I have also changed the format of the table of contents page, which now just features songs and page number, not the month in which we did it. I’m doing it like this because between now and November, it’s been agreed we should concentrate on the existing songs in the songbook, so I’m probably only going to bring one new song to each meetup between now and then, and focus on getting us sounding awesome.

Next month I’ll be bringing Michael Dillon’s take on Folsom Prison Blues, entitled “Carnforth Station Blues” and probably another brand new song.

So, songs for November are now looking like

  • Rockin’ All Over The World
  • Whiskey In The Jar
  • Stand By Me
  • Teenage Kicks
  • What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor
  • I Have A Dream
  • Female Badger
  • Sloop John B
  • Folsom Prison Blues
  • Bring Me Sunshine

In the meantime, keep strumming at home! Hopefully I’ll see a few of you at the Lancaster Ukulele Malarkey on Saturday, I know that Michael and myself will be doing a turn on the open mic so it’ll be great if there are some familiar faces about!

As a final reminder, the next meetup will be on the 11th of August, so I’ll see you all then!


Lancaster Ukulele Malarkey

There’s a few ukulele clubs across the LA* postcode areas, there’s the Morecambe Group, us at The Snug and the Lancaster club at The Robert Gillow pub. The latter is run by jazz singer and musician, Sue Parish.

Recently Sue popped in at The Snug, and happened to mention that the Lancaster uke club is putting on an event next month across a few venues in the city… Lancaster Ukulele Malarkey.

There’s a few events happening, so I’ve lifted the details of these, verbatim, from the event website.

12.30pm  in St John’s Church
Curious about the uke but don’t know where to start? Start with us! It’s an easy fun instrument and you’ll be amazed how fast you can be strumming along to favourite songs.

Come along to our beginners workshop in St John’s Church at 12.30pm and have a go. Bring a uke if you’ve got one, or we can let you have a try on ours if you haven’t.
Free, but numbers limited. Advance booking advisable.

If you can’t make it to the workshop but want to learn the uke you can also come along to the Beginner sessions at the Robert Gillow Pub, which take place on most Fridays.  Use the contact form to find out more.

2pm – 5pm.
A chance for participating clubs to perform a short set of their favourite songs, and teach one of them to the audience.   Please choose 15 minutes worth of songs to perform, including a final number you’d like everyone to join in on, and which will form part of our downloadable songbook.
Spots will be limited, so groups need to register in advance, ideally with a proposed set list to ensure we don’t have too many renditions of Sloop John B or Hi Ho Silver Lining!

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available for a modest charge throughout the day.  Or you can slope off to the pub nearby for a pint and come back later if you prefer!

6pm to 8pm
Soloist?  Heres your (small scale) chance of stardom.  The mic is yours to perform a couple of favourite songs or instrumentals.  If you want to team up with a friend, or maybe two that’s fine as well.  Spots will be limited, so please sign up in advance, using the contact form.

2pm onwards
If you prefer your ukulele playing a bit less structured, come to the pub and join other ukers for an open session.  We’ve got a couple of pubs lined up as potential venues, and we’ll confirm locations when we know how many strummers we’ve got.  Watch this space!


Lou (voice/ukulele/guitar) and Alice (violin) perform a set of bluesy/folky/jazzy songs from their eclectic and original repertoire.  A quirky and heartwarming conclusion to what we hope will have been a lovely day.  More information about singer and ukulele enthusiast Lou and her musical colleagues  can be found on her website

I plan on being there, and having a shot at the open mic session, and joining in with strumming at the church. Anybody else fancy a day out with ukes and beer?



June Meetup, Songs for November, The Snug’s 2nd Birthday and more

Happy day after SnUG at The Snug!

Last night was a quiet one, but that’s okay, I think possibly a combination of the glorious sunshine and this month’s meet being pushed back a week could have contributed towards that, but I’m hoping we will be back to normal numbers next month! The July meetup will be 14th July. Songs from this months meetup can be found on the songs page, last night’s songs were:

  • What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor
  • You Shook Me All Night Long
  • Blowin’ In The Wind
  • I Have A Dream

We started choosing songs for our performance at The Snug’s beer festival in November, so far we have chosen on a preliminary basis (just in case we find some of them don’t particularly work) are:

  • Rockin’ All Over The World
  • Whiskey In The Jar
  • Stand By Me
  • Teenage Kicks
  • What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor
  • I Have A Dream
  • Female Badger
  • Sloop John B
  • Folsom Prison Blues

I’m going to put a bit more work into arrangements for these, and perhaps at the August meetup, we shall start on adding bits and bobs to these songs, and Michael is working on some Snug specific lyrics for Folsom Prison Blues… “I hear that Pendolino…”

Talking about August, The Snug turns 2 on Friday August 1st, so it’s been suggested that we all pop down to The Snug with ukes and songbooks in hand, and have a bit of a knees up to celebrate!

There was talk last night of a few more SnUG at The Snug faces coming down to the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, that I am involved with, in September. If you were still umming about it, last night (whilst we were at The Snug) it was announced that The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are doing a workshop, on how they arrange songs for the group, and about the roles within the UOGB.

Righto, I’ll see you all again on July 14th, the second Monday of the month!



May Meetup, Rail Ale Trail and June Meetup!

First of all, I have a couple of apologies. Sorry for the radio silence on the blog for the past week, I should have posted earlier about the May meetup! Secondly, I’m sorry I couldn’t lead us last Monday.

On the Saturday before the May meetup, I had an asthmatic coughing fit, and managed to pull a muscle in the small of my back, just from coughing. From Sunday to Tuesday I could barely stand up, and then on Wednesday I progressed to a hobble, and then promptly fell flat on my arse whilst making dinner in the kitchen, it was like my feet had been kicked out from underneath me, and I was back to being hardly able to stand up for another day.

Thankfully that’s all behind me, and I am now up and about again (just, I still ache a fair bit and can’t bend over!) so I will be back to lead us in the June meetup! More on the June meetup at the bottom of this post!

A massive thanks to Julie who stepped in, saved the day and led the group through our songbook and even brought some new ones, Barbara Ann by The Beach Boys, classic rock tune, Status Quo’s Rocking All Over The World, Stand By Me by Ben E. King, and a favourite of mine, T Rex’s Children Of The Revolution, and apparently Gregg does a stellar Marc Bolan! I’ll get Julie to send me the chords she used, and I will add them to the song book as soon as possible!

It was great to spend time with many of the SnUG at The Snug’gers on The Snug’s May trip to the East Lancashire Heritage Railway, and drinking a fair share of the North West’s alcohol between us all! And who can believe it, none of us brought our ukes, so we couldn’t play Folsom Prison Blues on the platform!

“…I hear that train a’comin’…”

So yeah, a brilliant day and on behalf of all of us who went I’d like to say a massive thanks to Gregg and Julie for organising it!

Onto next month! Gregg and Julie are away for the second week of June, so next month’s meetup is going to be on the 3rd Monday of June! So adjust your diaries, and pass on the word.

The next meetup will be on the 16th June, same place, same time, same lovely people!

Hopefully I’ll see a lot of you before then!


Get thinking before the next meetup

Hey guys,  as it’s been talked about at the meetups, in November we will be performing as a group at The Snug’s beer festival, and we need to think about a set list, so we need to think about what songs we need to concentrate on. I’m still going to be bringing new songs each month, as I feel that’s the best way to advance as players, but at the beginning of the sessions, it would be wise to be a bit more structured, and think about what songs we would most like to play. So, here is a list of the songs we have so far, please think about which are your three favourites and post them as a comment, or let me know at the next meetup on the 12th of May.

  • He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands – Traditional
  • Iko Iko – The Dixie Cups
  • You Are My Sunshine – Traditional
  • Sloop John B – The Beach Boys
  • Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
  • Anyone Else But You – The Moldy Peaches
  • Common People – Pulp
  • Female Badger – This Is Jinsy
  • Marry You – Bruno Mars
  • Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
  • Jolene – Dolly Parton
  • Heartbeat – Buddy Holly
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
  • Three Little Birds – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • Whiskey In The Jar – Traditional
  • Downtown – Petula Clark
  • The Bucket – Kings Of Leon
  • Dance The Night Away – The Mavericks
  • Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  • (I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

At the next meeting, I will also be collecting email addresses, so I can send out emails to everybody, so everyone is always up to date with what is going on.