Blues Primer

If you are new to Blues music, or like it but never really understood
the whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:

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

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 Canada.
Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical
depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places
to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that
don’t get no 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

10. Good places for the Blues:
A. highway
B. jailhouse
C. empty bed
D. bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:
A. Nordstrom
B. gallery openings
C. Ivy League institutions
D. golf courses

12. No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit,
unless 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

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

14. Blues is not a matter of color. It’s a matter of bad luck.
Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. 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:
A. Perrier
B. Merlot
C. Snapple
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 getting liposuction.

17. Some Blues names for women:
A. Sadie
B. Big Mama
C. Bessie
D. Fat River Dumpling

18. Some Blues names for men:
A. Joe
B. Willie
C. Little Willie
D. Big Willie

19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and
Heather cannot sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in
Memphis. Kevin, Archibald and Trevor cannot have the Blues, any
more than Eufracio, Sven, Heinrich or Guglielmo.

20. Blues Name Starter Kit:
A. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Mute, Lame, etc.)
B. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
C. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, Clinton, etc.)
For example: Blind Watermelon Jefferson, Pegleg Lemon Johnson or Lame
Kiwi Clinton, etc. (Well, maybe not “Kiwi.”)

21. Ain’t no mind how tragic your life is, if you own a computer, you
cannot sing the blues. Period. Sorry.


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