Inspired By A Book

For the last few days I have been strumming my current favourite song on the uke: It’s A Long Way To Tipperary. My usual method of gaining new songs is via the various ukulele song sites or, because of the instrument’s popularity, searching guitar tab and chord sites. This time, however, my initial interest came from reading a book.

The First Casualty is the tenth novel by famous writer and one time stand up comedian, Ben Elton. The book is a World War 1 historical drama played out during trench warfare in Flanders. I read the book for a second time recently and, despite the very different style of writing Ben Elton uses compared to his nine previous novels, I really enjoyed it. Probably more than the plot, I was moved by the vivid description of trench life at that time. So much so, that it gave me a very different feeling for the conscripts that were forced to give their lives in the most tragic and macabre ways.

Anyway, one of the popular songs of the war amongst the soldiers was It’s A Long Way To Tippereary. I had to transpose the key to F in order to be able to sing the higher notes without straining the voice. I have also only concentrated on the chorus thus far, and probably won’t learn too many, if any, of the verses. Favourite part musically? The chord change in the line “Farewell Leicester Square”.

There are some choice songs to be found if one spends the time looking for them. Especially so if one concentrates one’s search on the 1920’s – 1940’s. My first gem came from that era, the wonderful I like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones) from the Hoosier Hotshots.