Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How To Sing the Blues

Okay, I borrowed this.  

Actually, I compiled it.  And I added to it.  The original is lost somewhere in an internet back room, soaked in old sourmash, and strumming on an out of tune 5 string guitar.  

Like most Blues, ain't no one owns it.  It just gets sang.

1.  Most Blues begin "…woke up this morning."
2.  "I got a good woman" ain't no way to begin the Blues, unless something nasty's in the next line, like -
I got a good woman
With the meanest face in town.
3.  Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. …Sort of… like -
Got a good woman
With the meanest face in town
Got a good woman
With the meanest face in town
She got teeth like
Steve Buscemi
And she weigh 500 pound.
4.  The Blues ain't about choice: You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch.  Ain't no way out.
5.  Blues cars: Chevys and 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.
6.  Walkin' plays a major part in the  Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
7.  Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin’ to die yet.  Adults sing the blues. Blues Adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
8.  Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.
9.  A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg cuz an alligator be chomping on it is.
10. The following colors do not belong in the  Blues :
a. violet
b. beige
c. mauve
d. taupe
e. flamingo (even though it has a cool number of syllables)
11. The following do:
a. Black
b. Brown
c. Black
12. You can't have the Blues in well lighted places like an office or a shopping mall.  Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
13. Good places for the Blues:
a. the highway
b. the jailhouse
c. the empty bed.
d. The bottom of a whiskey glass.
14. Bad places:
a. Ashrams
b. Gallery openings
c. Martha’s Vinyard
d. Golf Course
15. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you a old ethnic man and you slept in it.

16. 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 once were blind, but now can see
b. The guy in Memphis lived
c. You have a trust fund
d. You have all your teeth
17. Neither Justin Bieber nor Randy Travis can sing the Blues. But, not surprisingly, Willie Nelson CAN sing the Blues .
18. If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the Blues .
19. Other Blues beverages are:
a. Wine
b. Whiskey or Bourbon
c. Muddy Water
d. Black Coffee
20. Blues beverages are NOT:
a. Any mixed drink
b. Any wine kosher for Passover
c. Snapple
c. Sparkling Water
21. If it occurs in a cheap motel, it's Blues
22. Some Blues names for Women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Bertha
e. Josephine
f. Lucille
g. Fat River Dumpling
23. Some Blues Names for Men
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie,
e. Willie B. 
(Note: Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, or Skye will not be permitted to sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.  Nor should juggling comedians.)
24. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit)
a. Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
b. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
c. Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
        (For example: Blind Lemon Jefferson, Cripple Kiwi            Fillmore... ok, maybe 'Kiwi' don't work.)  
25. A Blues way to communicate is to dial up the telephone or to "holla." 
26. Smartphones or any device beginning with “i” are not Blues ways to communicate.
27. Blues weapons:
a. shotgun
b. snub nosed 38
c. knife
d. "doing the dozens,"  (don’t know what it is, but is sounds deadly).
28. People with the Blues eat barbecue (dry rub), grits, corn bread, beans, and they last meal.
29. Good Blues instruments: Guitar (Lucille), Slide Trombone, Saxophone, Harmonica, string bass, piano, drums.
30. Bad Blues instruments: almost everything else, particularly inappropriate are the oboe, french horn, and glochenspiel.
31. You got the Blues if you got lumbago, or a rumblin’ in your brain. If it’s treatable, you don’t got the Blues
32. Black Jack is a good Blues game. Uno is not.
33. Blues jobs include trucker, railroad work, picking cotton, musician (down or out preferred), just got fired.
34. Blues animals include the junkyard dog, faithful mule, big ole rat.  Ain't no cats, except maybe Mud Cat.
35. Most country songs can be interchanged with Blues songs (baby left me, crop ain’t growin’, dog died, shot a man in Reno, etc.)
36. Finally:
Epitaph on a
Blues musician's tombstone: "I didn't wake up this morning"

~ Bursitis "Barley Corne" Van Buren

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