by Greg Olwell
From the time the ukulele first came to the attention of Mainlanders, people found fun and inventive ways to add some ukulele spice to whatever they were playing.
Case in point, this clip recorded in 1928, where Eddie Thomas and Carl Scott pair a soprano uke with a washboard and kazoo (and stovepipe and beer stein!) on two Tin Pan Alley classics. The duo plays the uptempo “Tomorrow” before slowing it down for the Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson classic, “My Ohio Home.”
While the stereotypes in the video are clearly not of our time, Thomas’ and Scott’s performances are too fun, too virtuosic, and too inspiring to ignore. One lesson for me is that this clip shows me that I have a lot to learn about moving a melody around in chord comping. He is all over the place in this, in a best way imaginable.
According to Daniel Eagan’s book America’s Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry, Thomas and Scott were from Richmond, Virginia, and made this clip for Fox’s Movietone News musical segments on November 21, 1928.