Thursday, July 05, 2007

Song of the Week: There Ain't No Bugs on Me

My guitar teacher has been teaching his students of the single-digit age-range the song There Ain't No Bugs on Me using the ukulele. There are only two chords (C and G7), and on the ukulele, they're quite easy to reach. To guitar players: if you want to practice ukulele without actually buying one, place your capo on the 5th fret of your guitar and play strings 1 through 4.

So far, my favorite version of the song is on the album Not For Kids Only, by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia (track #9). There are many verses to the song, but the ones I plan to use for storytimes deal directly with insects...most of the time. Here are the verses:

Oh there ain't no bugs on me
There ain't no bugs on me
There may be bugs on some of you mugs
But there ain't no bugs on me.


Well, the Juney bug comes in the month of June
The lightning bug comes in May
Bed bugs come any time at all
But they're not going to stay.


Mosquito, she fly high
Mosquito, she fly low
If old mosquito lands on me
She ain't a gonna fly no mo'!


Well, little bugs have littler bugs
Up on their backs to bite 'em
And the littler bugs have still littler bugs
And so ad infinitum.


Oh there ain't no flies on me
There ain't no flies on me
There may be flies on some of you guys
But there ain't no flies on me.

Oh there ain't no lobsters on me
There, ain't no lobsters on me
There may be lobsters on some of you mobsters
But there ain't no lobsters on me.


Here are the chords to the song:

Oh there ain't no bugs on me
There ain't no bugs on me

There may be bugs on some of you mugs
But there ain't no bugs on me.

You're all set. Go play!


Lady K said...

NOOOOOOOOOO! You did NOT just go there! I am laughing SO hard right now. Yep, I picked up the guitar and played it. I am gonna drive everyone CRAZY at work today.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lady K: Aha! I hoped you'd bite (no pun intended). My daughter (Miss Mondegreen herself) sings, "The Rainbow bugs on me."

jules said...

That "Not for Kids Only" is one great CD. Thanks for these song-insights. I love them!

adrienne said...

One of my friends had a guitar sitting around her house that she doesn't know how to play and doesn't use, so today she gave it to me. So I'm going to try to learn how to play. I haven't really played an instrument before, so it's bound to be slow going -- but it's exciting to think that one day I might be able to play some of these fun songs. :) I've been wanting to learn to play for a while.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Adrienne: Hurrah! Hurrah! You will be absolutely amazed at how many songs you can play with 2 or three chords. I highly recommend Nancy Stewart's Mother Goose Guitar course (you can just get the folder and teach yourself if you can't make it out to Seattle for lessons!):

There are a number of online sources and books from the library, of course, but I've found a bunch of them frustrating for beginners. They have you starting out with a C chord, for example, when you should be starting on easier chords like A and E7.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

P.S. This site looks promising:

Jules, you want to join us?!

Lone Star Ma said...

Very cute song!

adrienne said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm anxious to get started. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Adrienne-- I think there are two difficult things for beginning guitarists to learn:
1) Tuning
2) Restringing

Unless your strings are really rusty, don't worry about restringing them now. Tuning, however, is a headache until you have the ear for it. I don't know what your musical experience is, but I found that I was a lot happier when I bough an electronic tuner to attach to the guitar. Gradually, my ear learned to pick up the differences in tuning, but I still go back to the tuner when I want my guitar to have the exact pitch (instead of just relative to the other strings).

Here is a link to the kind of tuner I use:

Jules said...

I'm just now seeing your invitation! Uh, maybe, but I'd have to dig up my husband's guitar at my mother-in-law's house.

And I REEEEEEEEEEEALLY want to learn to play the piano, even if I don't get to it 'til I'm 99.

I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally do.