Ukulele post — One Tin Soldier

Something, something, my approach to new mediums/instruments…

I’ve been trying to pull anyone & everyone who will listen into playing ukulele with me. It’s probably one of the most accessible instruments — with decent quality ukes priced around $100 & what I’d consider a more compact & easy to use fretboard compared to guitar & bass (as someone who plays all three instruments).

I also feel like if you’re creating work in any other medium, diving into music is not just fun but another chance to be inspired & connect with art.

I’m going to spare the extended sales pitch, but if you’re interested, I post bits of things on my Instagram & post here from time to time. I recently posted a short clip that included chords in the key of C major. The next step was finding some music that utilized those chords.

Easy enough, Kate Rusby’s version of “Blooming Heather” is a perfect spring song, Hole’s “Petals” also has the spring vibe. Then there’s “Love Me Like Music I’ll Be Your Song” from Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie” album (prob one of my all time favorite albums) and “Just Say” by Fastbacks. & I will get to those songs…

But what I landed on for my first song using these chords is “One Tin Soldier” by Coven, which happens to be the theme to the 1971 film “Billy Jack.” Why would I go at this first even though there’s a key change & it’s not even particularly springy?

I’m actually working through these with fam I’m trying to get started on ukulele & she happens to be living with my parents during this quarantine period. This is relevant because “Billy Jack” is my mom’s favorite movie & “One Tin Soldier” is one of her favorite songs. So, I’m admittedly using my influence to get D into something my mom will definitely appreciate. 🙂

So, let’s get this laid out…

Chords

I’m adding notation of what position the chord is in the key so you can start to see what different intervals sound like w/in the key. Playing around with the intervals w/in a key & is how I started learning to write my own basic songs years ago.

C (First position)

A|-3-|C
E|-0-|E
C|-0-|C
G|-0-|G

G (Fifth position)

A|-2-|B
E|-3-|G
C|-2-|D
G|-0-|G

Am (Sixth position)

A|-0-|A
E|-0-|E
C|-0-|C
G|-2-|A

F (Fourth position)

A|-0-|A
E|-1-|F
C|-0-|C
G|-2-|A

Dm (Second position)

A|-0-|A
E|-1-|F
C|-2-|D
G|-2-|A

Verse

The first verse is played through normally. There is a key change in the middle of the second verse & so I’m not going to include it in this notation at this point.

I will come back to this notation later on & update to include the rest of the song, but I want to keep it super basic while we’re working on learning these chords.

C                 G
Listen, children, to a story
Am               G
That was written long ago
F               C
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
Dm             G
And the valley folk below
C               G
On the mountain was a treasure
Am          G
Buried deep beneath the stone
F              C
And the valley people swore
Dm                       G    C
They'd have it for their very own

Chorus

There’s some element of needing to feel out the rhythm/timing at the end of the chorus.

C                      Em
Go ahead and hate your neighbor
F                    C
Go ahead and cheat a friend
       C                    Em
If you do it in the name of Heaven
F                         C
You can justify it in the end
      C                     Em
There won't be any trumpets blowing
F                 C
Come the judgment day
N.C.
But on the bloody morning after who...
N.C.                  C
One tin soldier rides away

Notes & links

I typically put play through videos into these posts & plan to, but I’m wrapping this up at 3 a.m. Sunday on the chance that I end up to Skyping w/ D Monday evening. It was more imperative that I got the chords & relevant notation up asap.

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