Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer Make the Ukulele Sizzle


Rockin’ the Uke

Community Music 205

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Who says Americans don’t like to recycle? There have been periodic outbreaks of ukulele madness ever since the first haole hit the Hawaiian beaches in the 19th century. It seems like every twenty years or so we rediscover the ukulele. It was a staple of Tin Pan Alley composers in the openings of the 20th century and beloved of string bands before going out of fashion. Then it resurfaced after World War II for a few years and made its way onto early TV. Tiny Tim used one to find his way through the tulips.

One again the humble uke is hotter than a Phoenix sidewalk on July Fourth. Everyone (including me!) is messing around with them, but mastery is a different matter. Enter folk vets (and past Grammy winners) Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, who really know how to make those four strings sing. Rockin’ the Uke is a delightful mix of swing standards, country, surf music, public domain chestnuts, and originals that are, in turn, bubbly, bluesy, whimsical, and torchy. Django Reinhardt inspired their arrangement of “Dark Eyes,” and when you print such a claim and proceed to do justice, you know you’ve got serious chops. Call this one Django jams with the Delmore Brothers, Ernest Ka’ai, and Arthur Godfrey.

Check them out on the old banjo tune “Snowdrop.

Rob Weir

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