On November 11, my father would take us where the veterans were, and we would listen. First, there were stories. Then they would sing.
I always knew this tune as part of a medley sung by Dame Vera Lynn, along with Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried Line and Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant-Major. However, in the current context, it pleases me to present it in its original recorded format, as played by ukist of note, George Formby.
BLESS ‘EM ALL – George Formby
Playalong lyrics (with melody sheet) and chords right here.
One problem with original early recordings and the relevant sheet music is that sometimes you need to retune your instrument in order to make the sound coming out of yours match the sound on the recording. If you look at the song sheet, you can see they want you to tune to Bb Eb G C instead of G C E A. I don’t recommend you do this just for one song, as it has the risk of stretching your strings more than you’d like. However, you can play the chord shapes and be in the key of G (I’ve labeled them for you). If you want to play along with George, you can capo at the third fret.
When I originally set up this post, I was just happy I had an iconic song of World War II, the authentic sheet music, and that it was first recorded by a ukulele player. When I realized it was going to be difficult to match the key, I thought about scratching the whole idea, but I got to thinking about the song itself. You can probably guess the actual title and lyrics of the tune, as sung by service members, never “blesses” anyone, so how authentic is the recording or the sheet music, anyway? It’s just a vector to provide the listener the tools to replicate the real deal.
So, for the old ones around the piano at the Legion come November, when pomp gives way to circumstance in the late afternoon, I say bless ’em all.
BLESS ‘EM ALL (MEDLEY) – Dame Vera Lynn