How to sing the Blues ... A Primer
- Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning..."
- "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you
stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with
the meanest face in town."
- The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat
it. Then find something that rhymes . . . sort of: "Got a good woman
with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest
face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500
- The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in
a ditch--ain't no way out.
- Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks.
Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most
Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet
aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running.
Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to
- Teenagers can't sing the Blues. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues
"adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you
shoot a man in Memphis.
- Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any
place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just
clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the
best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place
that don't get rain.
- A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with
male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you skiing is not the
blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chomping on it is.
- You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The
lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
- Good places for the Blues: a) Highway; b) Jailhouse; c) Empty
bed; d) Bottom of a whiskey glass. Bad places for the Blues: a)
Dillard's; b) Gallery openings; c) Ivy League institutions; d) Golf
courses; e) Starbucks
- No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you
happen to be a old ethnic person, and you slept in it.
- Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if a) You older
than dirt; b) You blind; c) You shot a man in Memphis; d) You can't be
satisfied. No, if a) You have all your teeth; b) You were once blind
but now can see; c) The man in Memphis lived; d) You have a 401K or
- Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger
Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also
got a leg up on the blues.
- If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the
Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are a) Cheap wine; b) Whiskey or
bourbon; c) Muddy water; d) Nasty black coffee. The following are NOT
Blues beverages: a) Perrier; b) Chardonnay; c) Snapple; d) Slim Fast;
e) Mocha Latte
- If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues
death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to
die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a
broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis
match or getting liposuction.
- Some Blues names for women: a) Sadie; b) Big Mama; c) Bessie; d)
Fat River Dumpling
- Some Blues names for men a) Joe; b) Willie; c) Little Willie; d)
- Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather
can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
- Make your own Blues name Starter Kit: a) Name of physical
infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.); b) First name (see above) plus
name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.); c) Last name of President
(Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.); d) For example, Blind Lime
Jefferson, Jakeleg Lemon Johnson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well,
maybe not "Kiwi.")
- I don't care how tragic your life, if you own a computer, you
cannot sing the blues.