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When our friend John Bianchi tweeted a YouTube vid recorded at a Ukelele Meetup, we asked if he took requests. Turns out he does! He thanked us for suggesting “Coney Island Washboard Roundelay” because “playing it was like a little summer in the midst of the coldest winter on record.” John’s delightful rendition is played on his new Ohana CKP-70 ‘Vita’ Uke. “I learned 29 years ago so that I could take up the guitar, but I’ve been playing more seriously for the last year and a half,” he says. “I have six of ’em now.”

“Coney Island Washboard Roundelay” was written in 1926 by Hampton Durand and Jerry Adams, with lyrics by Ned Nestor and Aude Shugart. The song was recorded by the Mills Brothers in 1929. The lyrics are as catchy as ever…

Down by the beach there’s the sweetest peach
if I may say she has the cutest way
Playing a chord on her washboard
Folks would gather ’round from everywhere in town
Just to hear that sound!

Coney Island washboard she would play,
She’d play it on the boardwalk every day,
Soapsuds all around
Little bubbles on the ground
Rub-a-dub-dub, in her little tub
All of the tunes she found
Thimbles on her fingers made that noise
She’d play the ‘Charleston’ on the laundry for the boys
She could rag a tune through the knees
Of a brand new pair of BVDs
Coney Island washboard roundelay

Next request: Wouldn’t it be fun to have a ukelele orchestra strumming and singing this tune on the Boardwalk this summer, perhaps at the Coney Island Talent Show? Straw boaters required!

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January 6, 2011: Music Video: Strange Powers by the Magnetic Fields

April 17, 2010: Our Fave Coney Island Song: Joe McGinty’s Million Dollar Mermaid

December 15, 2009: Victrola Vault: Mills Brothers “Coney Island Washboard Roundelay”

November 26, 2009: Coney Island Boardwalk Music Video: The Supertones “I Surf in Black”

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