Saturday, 16 May 2009

Frank Crumit & Ukulele Lady

But Hugh, if he could not play quite like Django Reinhardt or Eddie Lang on the one hand or, God help him, Frank Crumit on the other, could not help remembering either that he had once enjoyed the reputation of a tremendous talent. Malcolm Lowry Under The Volcano

Hugh is one many characters in Lowry's novels that are based on personas Lowry may have wished to portray i.e. the jazz composer who had sailed the oceans composing songs on his guitar or ukulele. In fact, Lowry had portrayed his voyage to the Far East in 1927, which provides the autobiogrpahical details of Hugh's experiences at sea, to the newpapers who covered the story as "Seeing The World With A Ukulele".

Lowry first started playing music around 1925 on a banjo brought home by his brother Russell before the pair embarked on learning the then popular ukulele to compose songs probably not that far removed from Frank Crumit's Ukulele Lady. Lowry seems to have had a low opinion of Frank Crumit and would have probably preferred Vaughn De Leath's version as she sang with Eddie Lang and Red Nichols who were more to Lowry's jazz tastes.

Vaughn De Leath liked the booze as much as Lowry and died of alcoholism at the age of 48

I am currently collating all of Malc's ukulele references and will return with other posts about his love of the instrument.

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