Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Incongrous Selection for a Rock Band

May 1961

Did you see the 2002 "Concert for George"?  It was a concert put on by all of George Harrison's friends one year after his passing to honor his memory.  If you did, you might remember at the close of the show a guy with a ukelele played and sang a sweet song called "I'll See You in My Dreams".  I thought it was a very effective way to close the concert.  The guy with the ukelele was an early influence on the Beatles named Joe Brown.  Joe Brown and the Bruvvers (that's cockney for Brothers) made three records that the Beatles are covering in 1961.

Joe Brown and the Bruvvers hearken back to the the English musical hall tradition that was also a strong influence on the young Beatles.  The ukelele was one of the most popular instruments for do-it-yourself musicians.  Here's a video that indicates that Paul and George were influenced by it, anyhow.  (I love how that mistaken lyric by Paul proves that they were just "tossing it off".)

One of the songs the Bruvvers recorded and the Beatles are covering is the incongrous "Darktown Strutters Ball".  I'm sure their version was much closer to this one, as done more recently by Joe and a friend.
Great how they put a little R&B spin on an old favorite and - voila! - a whole new thing!


  1. No, I actually havent seen Concert For George yet but wasnt that ukelele video from the Anthology disc?

  2. The song where George is playing Uke is from the anthology. Joe Brown closed the Concert For George with his Ukelele version of "I'll See You In My Dreams". I highly recommend you watch that show, when you get a chance.

    I especially like the way Joe does his song, with all the little "music hall" smiles. Reminds me of the uke song a the end of "Free As a Bird".