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on March 31, 2009
I bought this book because I want to learn to play plugged in blues 'Ukulele and I knew this would be a good place to start and I still believe that it is a great book.

I have played about 8 months, have some guitar experience, read music and tableture and the arrangements in this book are way above my current level of play. I get what I see on the page and hear on the disc but it will be another 6-12 months before I attempt these arrangements and I would consider myself a high level beginner primarily based on my prior experience.

This a good book if you are an intermediate player wanting to branch out or start to really master the fretboard but if you aren't there yet I would highly recommend Mel Bay's "Learn To Play Fingerstyle Solos for 'Ukulele" a fantastic book for the advanced beginner (see my review of this book).
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on May 8, 2009
Terrific book for those who have learned how to strum "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" and want to take their ukelele playing to the next level.

The songs are the primal songs from the blues canon: St. James Infirmary, St. Louis Blues, Frankie & Johnny, etc. All the well-worn classics are represented, including one sample old-school twelve-bar blues. (You really only need one of those.)

Every song has two charts--one for chords, and one with tabulature so you can play chords and solos at the same time, like the pros.

The included CD also has two recordings for each song, one to match each chart. The first is the author singing along with his chords; the second is a mix of chording and soloing.

Great stuff--lots to learn here for the intermediate uke player. Hope Jumpin Jim comes out with more of this sort of thing. (The only others I know of right now are tabs for traditional Hawaiian music.)
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on August 21, 2010
I own about ten songbooks for the ukulele, but this is one of my favorites. At first I found the songs a little intimidating because many are not easy to learn. But it has been a wonderful experience to sit on the beach and spend hours learning to play the blues on the ukulele -- a surprisingly pleasant match. "St. Louis Blues" is magical on the ukulele, and the CD is a big help in learning that one. "Midnight Special" is a fun, gritty folktune that is much easier to learn -- only four simple chords. "Frankie and Johnny" is a classic that sounds charming on the ukulele as well. This book is a great selection of classic music, carefully arranged for the ukulele, and a paragraph or two of the history of each song that brings you into the world of the blues and makes the experience all the richer. I highly recommend this book.
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on March 31, 2010
Got a copy of this as a 'bonus' when purchasing a secondhand ukulele. I'm glad it was part of the package!

I'm a bit more than a beginner, but not by much! This book and CD combination is well laid out and well thought out. They provide a version of chords and vocals that a beginner can grab hold of and quickly learn. There is also the more challenging version, completely laid out on paper and on CD of the much more complex chord and melody combination.

I can make my way through a couple of the songs with enough ability for them to be recognized after just a few minutes of getting the chords down. I expect it will be many months before I can handle the combination playing, but in the meantime I've added the melody tracks in my iPod for motivation and enjoyment.
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on February 24, 2009
I own nearly all of Jumpin' Jim's ukulele books and enjoy them all but this one is a gem. I collect classic blues and jazz recordings and this book is full of chestnuts. The arrangements are satisfying and accesible (a rare combination) and the accompanying CD is a great help as the pieces are not rushed, giving you time to grasp what's going on. Kudos to all involved.
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on August 28, 2012
This is the most amazing, awesome, incredible way to learn old twenties and thirties blues. I started working with this two months ago, and I can convincingly sing and play a few standards after only five months of playing a GCAE uke--although I have prior musical training, and a teacher who was originally a classically trained guitarist. This is definitely not a beginner book.

Each song in the book consists of two parts: one page of lyrics with basic chords (I, IV, V or I, IV, Vii, with some variations), and one page of fairly complicated uke tab that is a little fern-bar-ish. If you don't like the arrangements, they're easy enough to mix up a little bit so they are more simple, and a little less like jazz.

Honestly, there are so many of the old, old standards in this, that it's an amazing way to be able to play blues ukulele. All you need now is a tube amp and a trumpet player, and you're good to go.
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on May 13, 2012
Sokolow is a respected teacher and guitarist, and I like what he did here in this book/CD. I'm sure most of the songs are part of a classic acoustic blues canon but they are NOT what you think of of a more modern blues repertoire e.g. from BB or Albert or Freddie or certainly SRV. This is a good thing! Never hurts to learn the real early classics. My only knock on the book is that the authors singing leaves a little bit to be desired. It's fine for instruction, but I don't think I'll be popping this CD into my car CD player just to listen to it for enjoyment.
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on December 24, 2010
This is an excellent book and CD. You have to patiently work through the tunes and listen closely to the CD. I also recommend modifing some of the more difficult passages to suit your skill level and playing ability.

Personally I was interested in about half the songs but that is better than most books from my experience. I have learned quite a few licks and tricks...Fred is a talented guy. A good addition to your uke book collection.
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on March 13, 2013
I have some music experience, and have been strumming uke for about 3 years. I just had a quick peruse through this book and it looks like a real learning experience! There is a page of "chords used in this book" at the beginning which is massive. For those who were disappointed in the book, here's the skinny. No one just opens a book and plays the blues. It takes more than "feeling it." It takes a lot of work like anything else worthwhile. I am shocked at how complicated it all looks in black and white, but I'm determined to take one step at a time until I can play one song, then another, then another. Practice, practice, practice. And best advise from one of my first music teachers: "A yard is hard, an inch is a cinch." Finally, you can get FREE demos from Sokolow himself on YouTube. Good luck to all. (BTW - he pronounces it soko-low, not soko-loff.)
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on September 11, 2012
This book contains chords and tabs for several blues songs. Most of these songs are classical blues songs, and very fun to play.
For me as a novice Ukulele player this book was easy to understand as well as informative. Seeing as I enjoy blues the songs in this book where to my liking and then some.
For every song in the book there is a "solo version" as well as lyrics and chords for the song. The CD is great and helps one easily figure out strumming patterns.
The solo version of every song is set up in easy to understand tab. The only difficulty is in the level of difficulty of the individual song.

A very good start for anyone who wants to play the blues on their Uke
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