Wednesday, November 23, 2005

HOW TO SING THE BLUES

[I got this from my dad.]

If you're new to blues music, or like it but never really understood the whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:

1. Most blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The blues lyrics are 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 pound."

4. The blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch...ain't no way out.

5. 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 and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the blues. In the blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. The blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and Nawlins are still the best places to have the blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chomping on it is

9. You can't have no blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster

10. Good places for the blues:
a. Highway
b. Jailhouse
c. Empty bed
d. Bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. Gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. Golf courses

12. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person and you slept in it.

13. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
Yes, if:
a. you're older than dirt;
b. you're 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; or
d. you have a 401K or trust fund

14. The blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues

15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other acceptable blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast

16. 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 are the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken-downcot. You can't have a blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

17. Some blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

18. Some blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

20. Blues Name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Peach, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
For example:
a. Blind Lemon Jefferson
b. Pegleg Lime Johnson
c. Cripple Peach Fillmore

21. I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues, period.

6 comments:

Hucbald said...

So, I guess Joe Willie Namath missed his calling: He should have been a bluesman instead of an NFL quarterback (If you're too young to know who Joe Willie Namath is, you can't sing the blues).

PS: Word verification demanded "ugjjjjeg", which must be bluesy, right?

Scott Spiegelberg said...

ugjjjjeg: It would be challenging to rhyme that one, but I could see it drawn out in a gutteral roar.

Zombetty Pants said...

This was a Fun Read!
i am reposting it, others should read it too!

Thanks

-A

Carl said...

Man, you know what?

I can't sing the blues.

Damn.

Anonymous said...

The information reposted here is credited to Lame Mango Washington (attributes to Memphis Earlene Gray with help from Uncle Plunky, with revisions by Little Blind Patti D. and Stevie Franklin)

Thanks -
Signed,
Watermellon Willie Washington

Andrew Heenan said...

"Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues".

Oh yes he can ... but maybe not when this was written!