How To Sing The Blues

  1. Most blues begin "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.

  3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of.
    • Got a good woman
      with the meanest dog in town.
      He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
      and he weighs about 500 pounds.

  4. The blues are not about limitless choice.

  5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

  6. Teenagers can't sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

  7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

  8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
    1. violet
    2. beige
    3. mauve

  9. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall; the lighting is wrong.

  10. Good places for the Blues:
    1. the highway
    2. the jailhouse
    3. the empty bed

  11. Bad places:
    1. Ashrams
    2. Gallery openings
    3. Weekend in the Hamptons

  12. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

  13. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
      Yes, if:
    1. your first name is a southern state - like Georgia
    2. you're blind
    3. you shot a man in Memphis.
    4. you can't be satisfied.

      No, if:
    1. you were once blind but now can see.
    2. you're deaf
    3. you have a trust fund.

  14. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.

  15. If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues.
      Other blues beverages are:
    1. wine
    2. Irish whiskey
    3. muddy water

      Blues beverages are NOT:
    1. Any mixed drink
    2. Any wine kosher for Passover
    3. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

  16. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a blues death, if you die during a liposuction treatment.

  17. Blues Names
    1. for Women
      1. Sadie
      2. Big Mama
      3. Bessie

    2. for Men
      1. Joe
      2. Willie
      3. Little Willie
      4. Lightning

    3. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit)
      1. Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
      2. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
      3. Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

    4. Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

(N.B.: I did not write this; I merely saw that it must be immortalized on Everything. The name of the author is unknown. -- Deborah909)

Count the blues cliches!

Well blues cliches are way better than bubblegum-pop cliches. I recently "discovered" Rory Block. This one is called Hawkins Blues off of Mama's Blues:

Well I lost all my money
Ain't got no where to go.
Said I lost all my money
Ain't got no where to go.
Well I believe to my soul
Ain't never been this low.

I'm gonna lay my head, daddy,
On some lonesome railroad track.
I'm gonna lay my head
On some lonesome railroad track.
And when the train comes along
I ain't never coming back.

You're a mean mean daddy
Where did you stay last night?
Your're a mean mean daddy
Where did you stay last night?
You got your hair all tangled and
Your face ain't looking right.


Well I love you pretty baby
I can't stand the way you do.
Said I love you pretty baby
I can't stand the way you do.
You're gonna go back to your woman
I'll go to my man too.

Well I don't need no man
If he's got a heart of stone.
Well I don't need no man
Who's got a heart of stone.
'Cause you're a mean mean daddy
You drove me from my happy home.

In case you think she didn't know what she was doing, here's a bit from the liner notes:
"If I can't understand the words of an old recording, I fill them in to the best of my ability. Not only is this sometimes necessary, but I feel like it adds a touch of connectedness between me and the song in the present day. This is one of those songs. I used so many different verses from so many different Buddy Boy Hawkins songs of which I often understood only about half the verse, that I had to simply title the song 'Hawkins Blues,' and have it be a general tribute to him."

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