Notes on playing the banjo uke (and the regular ukulele), as well as some of my favorite songs and videos, but mostly, you'll find information here on my particular obsession - the many models of banjo ukulele offered by Stromberg-Voisinet in the 1920's to 1931.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"So Long Oolong How Long You Gonna Be Gone?"

Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby wrote dozens of satirical or downright silly songs during the golden era of Tin-Pan Alley's heyday.  I do several of their tunes, including "Father's Day" a song they wrote for Groucho Marx (they wrote several for him, including "Lydia the Tattooed Lady") and "The Sheik of Avenue B", a parody of "The Sheik of Araby" that they wrote for Fanny Brice.

This tune is clearly a mild parody of Madame Butterfly, but it's a thin little piece of fluff that doesn't need to be analyzed, just played.

A quick thought on the subject and it's treatment, though.  It has a mildly racist approach, but that's typical of what was a far more unapologetically racist time, the 1920's.  And when you come down to it, this tune isn't even remotely malicious, so I wanted to do it.  However, I don't know that I'd feel comfortable playing "Ma is Playing Mah-Jong".


  1. I was just thinking about this song the other day! Great rendition! :-)

    1. Thanks, Andrew. :) Weird that you were thinking of it, as I would think that other than me, you are the only other person in the hemisphere thinking of this song. :D