Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How To Sing The Blues

Blind Willie Johnson - Let Your Light Shine on Me

We had to tell our beloved nanny today that Jack is starting preschool in the fall. It was awful. I was nauseous and spinny all day. Nipper did the actual telling. I did some tearful texting from afar. We agreed to not talk about it when I got home. She stayed until 7pm just talking and both of us looking at Jack in disbelief. So maybe I can't sing the blues, But I can listen. 

I don't know who wrote this. I got it in an email today. Good stuff. Enjoy some of my favorite blues while you read it.

Blind Willie McTell - Delia

How To Sing The Blues

1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."

2. " I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less 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. Got teeth like Margaret   Thatcher   and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in 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. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues liftyle. 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 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.

8. 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.

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:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

Bad places:
a. Ashrams
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
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'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 retirement plan or trust fund.

13. Blues is not a matter of looks.  It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

14. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. mixed drinks
b. kosher wine
c. Snapple
d. sparkling water

15. 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 another Blues way to die. So is 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 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 Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn , and Rainbow 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, Kiwi,etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

20. I don't care how tragic your life: you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues. You best destroy it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or get out a shotgun. Maybe your big woman just done sat on it. I don't care.

Lightnin Hopkins - Trouble in Mind


  1. So enjoyed this, and laughed so hard at all the best parts, like , where you can't have the blues.

    How you think of this, I don't know.

    So sorry about preschool.

    I feel your broken heart from over here.

    Mine starts school in September. *snif*

  2. That's hilarious. The blues part, not the pre-school part. Although you have my sympathies, I can't be thinking about that event too much yet. I still have about a year or 2 to go and I don't want to think about that yet...

  3. Ha ha ha. I guess I don't have the blues after all.

    I just saw you muffin top video. What a hoot.

  4. Good Stuff!! So I guess I can't sing the blues if I break a fingernail opening the door of an SUV but I can if I break it when I get in a cat fight with Sadie cause she's been running round with my man Joe while I'm laying in an empty bed staring at the bottom of a whiskey glass and they are cruising in My Cadillac.