How to Sing the Blues
A Primer for Beginners
Most Blues begin with “Woke up this mornin’.” It is usually bad to start the Blues with “I got a good woman” unless you stick something mean in the next line.
Example: “I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.”
Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something else that rhymes. Sort of.
Example: “Got me a good woman with the meanest dog in town…oh, yeah!…Got me a good woman with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and he weigh ’bout 500 pound.”
Blues cars are Chevys, Cadillacs, and broke down trucks circa 1957. Other acceptable Blues transportation are a Greyhound bus or a “southbound train.” Note: A BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, mini-van, or sport utility vehicle is NOT a Blues car.
“Walkin'” plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does “fixin’ to die” and “findin’ a good woman.”
Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. Only adults sing the Blues. Adulthood, when it comes to the Blues, means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
You can have the Blues in New York City or Los Angeles but not in New Haven or Phoenix. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a minor depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues, but Abilene, Mobile, and New Orleans are ok in a pinch.
The following colors do NOT belong in the Blues: antique violet, champagne, mauve, taupe and peach.
Blues is not a matter of color, however. Tiger Woods can’t sing the blues; Sonny Liston can.
You can’t have the Blues in an office building or a shopping mall; the lighting is all wrong. Other bad places for the Blues: Kmart, gallery openings, and the supermarket. Good places for the Blues: a jail house, your mama’s back porch, beside the highway, bottom of a rot-gut whiskey glass, or a solitary room in a fleabag hotel.
No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit or anything by Ralph Lauren.
Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
• your first name is a southern state. Example: Georgia
• you’re blind
• you shot a man in Memphis.
• you’re deaf
• anyone in your family drives a Lotus
• you have a trust fund.
Yanni, Julio Iglesias, and Barbara Streisand may not sing the Blues. Ever.
If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other Blues beverages are:
• malt liquor
• Irish whiskey
• muddy water
• Thunderbird wine
• one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer. At the same time.
Blues beverages are NOT:
• a mai-tai
• a glass of Chardonnay
• a Yoo Hoo (all flavors)
If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is also 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.
Some Blues Names for women: Sadie, Louise, Bessie, and Baby.
Women’s names which are NOT Blues names: Heather, Jennifer, Emily, and Alexandra.
Some Blues Names for men: Joe, Willie, Joe Willie, Hank, and Po’ Boy.
Men’s names which are NOT Blues names: Geoffrey, Damian, and Keith.
Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will NOT be permitted to sing the Blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
Need a Blues Name? Try this mix and match starter kit:
• name of physical infirmity (Blind, Asthmatic, etc.) or character flaw (Dishonest, Low Down, etc.)
• or substitute name of a fruit (Lemon, Fig, Persimmon); or use first -and- fruit names
• finish with the last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
Examples: Low Down Persimmon Johnson; One-Handed Fig Fillmore.
Need a Blues instrument? Play one or more of the following & alternate with husky voice riffs:
• pie-anner (in need of tuning)
Now, you’re ready to sing the Blues… unless you own a computer.