Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to Sing the Blues

I came across an email I got years ago and it still makes me laugh.  I saved it for future use one day, when I was scratching the bottom of my Well of Ideas, without having the necessary drive to keep scratching.

My only regret is not being able to determine who originally wrote it.  My exhaustive Google search, over four whole pages, could not find any source information, although I learned I would not be the first blogger to repost it.

That said; please enjoy this tutorial on How to Sing the Blues!

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 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 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. If you stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch. There ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUVs. 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 Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anyplace in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still great places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues anyplace 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 a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go out 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

Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League colleges
d. golf courses

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

12. 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 trust fund

13. 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.

14. 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

15. 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-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

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

17. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

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

19. 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, etc..)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
Examples: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jackleg Cranberry Coolidge

20. No matter how tragic your life, if you own a computer, you can’t sing the Blues.


  1. This is my favourite thing ever. I can't count how many times I LOLed. "Fat River Dumpling"? Perfect. I'm more in love with the blues now than ever before.

    1. I know, it’s just perfect. I wish I knew who came up with it, so I could thank him.

      I will take credit for one thing though. The email I received had the end cut off at #19, right after the word “Jackleg.” I got #20 from another blog that had run the whole thing, and because “Jackleg” was such a great malady, I made up “Cranberry Coolidge” to go with it. I think maybe that will be MY new bluesman persona…

      Which reminds me… I actually wrote a blues song a number of years ago. I’ll have to try to dig it up.

  2. Yes, I did 'rock the mic'.

  3. Oh my god, this slayed me: "Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression."

    So funny. Thanks for the laugh today. It's your birthday but you're the one giving out the gifts. What a guy! ;)

    1. There were a number of little gems like that in there… cracked me right up. It may have been written with an “unsophisticated” voice, but it was actually very clever.

      I liked: "You can't have the Blues in an office or shopping mall. The lighting is wrong."

      Oh... and thank you.


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