Lil' Rev's Top 10 List for Listening

Many of my fans often ask me," Lil Rev what are your favorite ukulele recordings to listen to?" or, "what should i be listening to as i am developing as a player?"
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First off let me say, one should be regularly surfing You Tube for great ukulele music. There is nothing like seeing and hearing a stellar performance. With that said, there are a lot of vintage & new Ukulele Recordings that i would highly recommend to every budding ukulele player.
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Here is Lil' Rev's top 10 Ukulele Album (or tune) list:
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1) James Hill & Anne Davison: True Love Don't Weep (2009 Borealis) This is a stellar collection of traditional flavored music from choice covers like Oh Susannah on slide ukulele to Rocking Instrumentals like Richards Reel and Ode to A Frozen Boot. James has one foot firmly planted in the past and three feet in the future! I love this guy!
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2) Lyle Ritz: How About Uke? (Verve 2004) This is a classic reissue of a 1957 recording that set the world on fire! Lyle is a legend, one of the original Wrecking Crew members (Lyle is a killer bass player) and this particular recording so far as I know was the first album of its kind to feature Jazz Tunes like Don't Get Around Much Anymore and Lulu's Back in Town. Everyone should listen to this album. This is the way it is supposed to be, straight ahead, tasteful, understated, masterful soloing and never over done. In an era where blazing, peel the skin off your forehead ukulele playing is all the go... i am summoned to point out that what moves me most, are the notes that an artist chooses not to play.
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3) Brian Hefferan: Music Box Rag (Heftone CD02) Rags, Cakewalks and Marches from the dawn of the 20th Century arranged for ukulele! Need i say more!
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4) Pops Bayless: American Novelty Hailing from Austin, Texas, Pops Bayless (one of the founding members of the Asylum Street Spankers), is rare breath of fresh air. Steeped in Vaudeville Traditions, Pops is a writer of timeless tunes, Double Entendre Delights and Blues Ballads.
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5) The Double Decker String-band: The Rest is Yet To Come (5 String Productions 2006). One of America's greatest old timey bands! Bruce Hutton plays solid old time Banjo-Ukulele like the old hillbilly players of the 20's and 30's. Rock Solid! Classic!
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6) Jake Shimabukuro: Crazy G - This is a little gem of chord harmony and arranging, it is also a tip of the hat to the Ragtime era and great practice for every ukulele player in developing finesse and speed. Yes, this is a simple tune, but, aren't the best melodies the simple...think camp-town races, grandfathers clock, dixie, there is a reason why certian melodies linger and others do not, Jake got it right on this one!
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7) Ukulele Ike: Sings Again The Disney Sessions produced some great takes of Cliff Edwards singing his favorite songs, and while the ukulele is often obscured by the session players, this is a gem of an album.
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8) Bill Tapia: Duke of Uke (moonroom records 2005) Like Lyle, Bill is from a generation of players who understood clearly what a tune calls for...tasteful solos, the melody, and good does of Jazz and Blues to color a classic tune. Bill said to me in NY recently, Lil Rev, everything sounds like a scale, these young kids don't know when to tone it down! Keep it simple and lean into it once in a while!
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9) Hokum Blues: 1924-1929 (Document) These recordings represent the very best of the Blues and Jug Band Styles for Ukulele.
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10) King Bennie Nawahi: Hawaiian String Virtuoso (Yazoo 2000) Like Roy Smeck, Bennie was a brilliant player whose mainland tours inspired a whole generation of steel guitar players in the country, jazz and blues tradition.

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