guitar, learning, Tutorial

Learn to play Death On Two Legs – Queen

My Dad had really good taste in music, Queen, Pink Floyd, Cream, loads of really good stuff. I remember the first time I heard A Night At The Opera, one of my all time favourite albums… it was on cassette, I had to keep rewinding it to listen to this song over and over again. I’ve always wanted to to do a version of this song but it felt too big. I would try and then put the guitar down and then try again a few months later. A few years passed and then Lockdown #1 came…. it felt kinda appropriate.

Now I’m no Brian May, and I don’t have a band, and I’m not Freddie… so if you’re a Queen purist then you probably want to look away right now… But I LOVE playing this and I think it’s a pretty good version. I don’t care that no one ever seems to know it on the street, or that when people do they want to stand and talk to you about Queen for half an hour (You know, I’d love to but I’ve got a living to earn and no one chucks money in the case for me standing around chatting) .

So,anyway, click below for the chords and lyric sheet and have I go. Enjoy!

busking, guitar, learning, music, street life

Don’t wait ’til you’re ready

Ive been busking today in the glorious sunshine. I’ve been out a few times since the shops opened it’s still a bit quiet but the overall response has been positive. Locals have been coming up and saying it’s nice to hear ne again so that’s encouraging.

I’ve tried out my lockdown arrangements. I’m enjoying playing Death on Two Legs, Only You and 9-5.. Famous Last Words is in the wrong key for the High st as the lower vocals get lost in the general rumblings and noise of the street so I’ll have to revisit that one… not giving up on it yet. The Pretender, I’ve done once or twice but I’m not that comfortable yet and I’ve not yet played Rio on the street.

Then, at the end of lockdown I thought I’d have a go at The Greatest Show. It’s such a big song so I didn’t take it very seriously, just fiddled around with it. Then it started taking shape and I decided this week I’d go for it. I sang it today for the first time. It was a bit ragged if I’m honest, there’s a lot of words and the energy of the song just drags you along but I did it and I loved playing it.

The thing is, I never feel ready to play a new song , it’s always a leap of faith. Sometimes it works , sometimes not so much… I’m pleased with how today went.

So anyway I’m back home having a cup of tea… mmmmmm tea….

guitar, learning, music

Famous Last Words

One of the challenges I enjoy is taking a song that I love but that doesn’t immediately shout ‘acoustic cover’ …. so I’ve been using this ‘down time’ to work on a few songs I’ve been toying with got a while…

Death on Two Legs…. absolute epic song. People who’ve heard me perform know I love Queen. A Night at the Opera is one of my all time favourite albums and I’ve wanted to get those to work for the longest time… I’m glad to say it’s coming together well so watch this space.

Famous Last Words – My Chemical Romance. In my other life as a fitness instructor I have used this song (And Death on Two Legs) several times in my spinning mixes. I love it. This one too is showing promise.

The Pretender -Foo Fighters…. ummm still working on this one!

In other news, I’ve pretty much got 9-5 by Dolly Parton nailed!

busking, music, street life, winter

Break the ice

As I arrived in Newton Abbot, it was sleeting and bitterly cold, but a beautiful crisp winters day.  The weather forecast said it would be fine by 10 so it was just a matter of waiting.  I chatted to some locals and facetimed my husband who was busking in Exeter.  Not only was it cold in Exeter, it was so windy his mic stand and trumpet case were being blown around.  The only place it wasn’t windy was the Tea On The Green and there’s so much noise with the construction of the Clarence Hotel that was no good: I was the lucky one!

True enough it was fine by 10 and I started at 10:15, not because there were many people around but more because I thought if I waited any longer I would be too cold to play! I love playing in Newton Abbot, the acoustics are lovely as are the people. I started playing the guitar.  It hurt to press the strings down and I was reminded of when, years ago, I crewed for some big yachts in the aptly named ‘Icicle Series’ in Plymouth Sound.  My hands would be so cold I was practically incapable of tying any knots, or in fact doing anything other than act as ballast, sliding from port to starboard… for the first hour any way. Then somehow my hands would get used to being so cold and that’s how it was today.  After about an hour I had fingertips again!

Until then I was taking it song by song. Thinking I might have to pack up at any moment. But that focus held me in the moment; concentrating on each note, each nuance just to avoid thinking about how cold I was.  Every now and then I would think ‘Blimey! Is that me?’ As my voice rang out and sounded rather lovely (like I said, Newton Abbot has marvellous acoustics!).  I sang all my favourite songs, it’s a difficult choice because if I’m going to spend my time coming up with an arrangement, it’s got to be a song I don’t just like, I have to love it! I had a lovely time, I really enjoyed playing. By the time I got to ‘Love of My Life’ my fingers were starting to get cold and slow, and the damp air was deadening the guitar a little but I love playing it.  It still saddens me that Freddie is no longer with us.

I love playing on the street. The moment before I play and the street is awash with it’s own sounds it I wonder if I can play that first chord, I love watching people as I play.  Seeing them sing quietly to themselves as they walk past, and then that last note of the last song and it’s almost as if you were never there at all. Busking is so immediate and so temporary. I love it.