UkeTube: Roy Smeck
March 23, 2007 5:30 AM   Subscribe

You really shouldn't miss the snazzy ukulele stylings of the great Roy Smeck, strummer and showman extraordinaire, who was not only fast as greased lightning, but for whom the ukulele also occasionally functioned as a wind or percussion instrument. The man was indeed a wizard of the strings: just give him a slide and watch him lay down that Hawaiian sound. And as you'll see here, he was still going strong in his later years. [most links to YouTube]
posted by flapjax at midnite (15 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
And friends, be sure to check out the Hawaiian link in its entirety: after the first onstage number, it shifts to some early adventures in multitracking/overdubbing of both audio and film, as Roy quartets with himself. A must see!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:31 AM on March 23, 2007

This is ukulicious. Man, I need to up my uke-skills.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:54 AM on March 23, 2007

Wizard of the strings, nothing!
This man is pure string pimp.

Smeck my bitch up.
posted by isopraxis at 6:45 AM on March 23, 2007

Don't forget Jazz Ukulele player Lyle Ritz. He was on the Blue Note label and shared bass duties with Carol Kaye on Pet Sounds.
posted by sourwookie at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2007

More ukulele!
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:08 AM on March 23, 2007

In Tiger Rag, he reminded me of Pee-wee.

Really good, though.

I can't hear a uke without thinking of Iz
posted by MtDewd at 7:10 AM on March 23, 2007

Wow! I'd never SEEN Roy Smeck!

Yazoo records has some great Smeck stuff - Hawaiian Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele and Guitar. There are a few samples there, in Real (shudder) format.

Yazoo put out a record called "Voice of the Blues" that had a different version of Laughing Rag than the one on the record I linked here - it's just jawdropping. I can't find "Voice of the Blues" on Yazoo's site, but a quick Google leads me to Yahoo. I am sure Amazon and the like could get one as well.

Great post!
posted by dirtdirt at 7:13 AM on March 23, 2007

I've never heard of this amazing musician before. What a treat!
posted by owhydididoit at 7:20 AM on March 23, 2007

Top value! Thank you.
posted by Abiezer at 7:45 AM on March 23, 2007

"And friends, be sure to check out the Hawaiian link in its entirety..."

Oh, I tried, I really tried flapjax, but after two minutes of that I'd really rather rub lard on the cat's boils (says more about me than Roy Smeck, I know).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:32 AM on March 23, 2007

I play the ukulele, but guys like remind me that I don't really play the ukulele. I've got a lot of practicing to do.
posted by davejay at 8:40 AM on March 23, 2007

MtDewd, at this very moment, my left-hand fingertips are quite sore from having spent 6 hours over the last two days learning that very song.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:42 AM on March 23, 2007

Top post flapjax.
posted by algreer at 9:53 AM on March 23, 2007

Swell, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2007


For a few more ukulele masters:


Herb Ohta Jr. and Daniel Ho

Jake Shimabukuro

and of course the dearly missed Bruddah Iz

And while YouTube is missing a lot of the other great old-timers and rising young stars, you can find plenty of song samples at

sooooooo homesick now...*sniffle* -- thanks flapjax!
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 3:04 PM on March 23, 2007

« Older Webdeath 2.0   |   "39 to beam up! Thank you!" Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments