Cook Hand Uke's Banjo-Uke Attack!

14 original songs played on the

Wendall Hall Professional Model Banjo-Uke

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Click here for the lyrics and chords to the songs on this CD.

A few words about each tune...

1. Playin' at the Yuba

This song was composed in 1983 and first performed by The Self-Righteous brothers (myself and David Briggs) at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City CA for a fund-raising event for the founding of the South Yuba River Citizen’s League. It was also used in Greg Schiffner’s documentary, Stories of the Yuba.

2. I'm a Politician

Written sometime in the 1990s in response to how they are.

3. Spring Sing Sierra

Written in 2003 and performed at the Nevada Theatre fundraiser by the Strum Bums and local musicians to send the Bums to the New York Ukulele Festival.

4. Children of the Last of the Middle Class

Written in 2014 after hearing young people discussing the ethics of bringing babies into a world they felt was coming to a catastrophic end.

5. Lucky Me

Written in 2015 for the hell of it.

6. Chem Trails

A rewriting of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies with a modern take on the military’s clandestine chemical warfare on the world’s people. My friend Pat Sauer contributed a few wonderful lines to this one.

7. Then Jode, Now John

Written in 1993 when KVMR Community Radio music director John Nichols passed. His death was the sixth in a series of volunteer broadcasters who died young. I wrote and memorized this song and hurried to John’s memorial in Pioneer Park in Nevada City but got there too late to sing it. The people in the song are still important to me, as they were to the Nevada City community.

8. Privatize

An older song complaining of the tendency of corporations to own everything, even the rain. This one was in my repertoire on a single payer health care tour with Anne Feeney and others.

9. 10,000 Ukuleles

In the ‘90s, before the Internet took off, there were newsgroups and a college student in New Hampshire started one that was ukulele-centric. An ardent discussion about whether it was okay to use a strap with a uke ensued and got rather nasty. A person living in Texas at the time, R. Bruce, posted a poem he wrote. I asked him if I could put it to music. He said “knock yourself out!” This song is the result. I added a few revisions; it may be the first song composed entirely on the Internet.

10. I Think I'll Stay Home and Get Centered

I wrote the first version of this tune when George H. W. Bush, one of the orchestrators of the Bay of Pigs and assassination of JFK, was president. The original first line went “There’s a CIA, drug running, oil baron banker in the White House…” Later, when Bill Clinton was the figurehead, I changed it to “There’s a non-inhalin’, cult-killin’, World Bank shill in the White House…” Bush’s goofy son got his own line, too, but I’ve suppressed it. The idea doesn't change, only the names. Utah Phillips recited a version of this tune at his gigs for a while during the George H. W. Bush regime.

11. Sweet Peach

A song for my sweetie.

12. It’s A Shame, It's a Crime

Originally composed spontaneously on Market Street in San Francisco in front of the Federal Reserve Building protesting the bankster bailout during Cindy Sheehan’s campaign to unseat Nancy Pelosi in 2008. It has become my war protest song of choice. Audiences tend to sing along!

13. Going Home

A recent rewriting of a two-chord song I composed hitch-hiking overnight on Highway 99 in central California in 1977, Standing in the Fog with a Wet Dog on Highway 99 Blues.

14. Prayer for Aisha Rashid

In 2014, 4-year-old Aisha Rashid was returning home to Kabul, Afghanistan with five members of her family after a doctor visit. A U.S. Predator Drone blasted the car she was in and killed everybody but her. Her face, ears and a limb were blown off. After a few local hospital stays, the Pentagon flew her to a military hospital in the USA. Her surviving family has sued to get her returned home, but the US refuses to do so, probably to keep her from being a poster child for their horrendous sins.

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