If you are new to Blues music, or like it but never
really understood the why and wherefores, here are some very fundamental
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. 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. Check out this class project by one of
my students; I gave Louis a B+ for it. And Thais aced the course with this one. BB passed. Then he took
the course again and did better.
And for when you leave this old world, leave it in
style. (You know, you might like this one, too. (And this one.) Jazz, not blues, but
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 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:
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass (big time)
11. Bad places for the Blues:
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
a. you have all your teeth
b. you once were blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund
14. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods
cannot sing the Blues (though his luck seem to be a'changin'). 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:
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-down cot.
You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while
17. Some Blues names for women:
b. Big Mama
d. Fat River Dumpling
18. Some Blues names for men:
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
19. Persons with names like Amber, Ashley, Debbie, Heather, and Jennifer
can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
20. I don't care how tragic your life is, if you own a computer, you cannot
sing the blues, period.
Evolution of Eleanor: Beatles, Princess of Soul, Prince Charles