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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 "Got a good woman" unless you stick something mean in the next line. Example: "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 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 are NOT Blues cars.

"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 - sort of - 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?
Yes, if:
  • your first name is a southern state. Example: Georgia 
  • you're blind
  • you shot a man in Memphis.

No, if: 
  • you're deaf
  • anyone in your family drives a BMW 
  • you have a trust fund.

Yanni, Julio Iglesias, Michael Bublé, 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 
  • whiskey 
  • muddy water 
  • Thunderbird wine (or Ripple or Riunite; but not Boone's Farm)
  • one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer. At the same time.

Blues beverages are NOT:
  • mai-tai 
  • Chardonnay 
  • 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, Demon Rum, or cocaine.

It is NOT a Blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment, on account of being denied treatment in an emergency room, or oxycontin, or 'ludes.

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, Willie Joe, Hank, and Po' Boy. 
Men's names that are NOT Blues names: Geoffrey, Derek, and Keith.

Persons with names like Damien, Alistaire, 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 Wilson.

Need a Blues instrument? Play one or more of the following and alternate with husky voice riffs: 
  • harmonica
  • gih-tar
  • fiddle
  • sax
  • pie-anner (in need of tuning)

-Now- you're ready to sing the Blues! Unless you own a computer.



A drummer, sick of all the drummer jokes, decides to change his instrument. After some thought, he decides on the accordion. So, he goes to the music store and says to the owner, "I'd like to look at the accordions, please." The owner gestures toward a shelf in the corner and says, "All our accordions are over there." After browsing, the drummer says, "I think I'd like the big red one in the corner." The store owner looks at him and says, "You're a drummer, aren't you?" The drummer, amazed, says, "How did you know?" The store owner says, "That 'big red accordion' is the radiator."



Do-It-Yourself Country Western Song Kit

I met her (1) (2). I can still recall (3) she wore.

(1) at a hoedown 
at rehearsal
on the highway
at a truckstop

(2) in September
down in Memphis
close to Nashville 
wrestlin' gators

(3) the purple dress
those Wal-Mart boots
that fuzzy hat
that Mozart wig

She was (4) (5), and I knew (6).

(4) sobbin' at the tollbooth 
drinkin' Dr. Pepper
crawlin' in the swampgrass
playin' minor triads

(5) in the twilight
by the off-ramp
with her shoes off
near the dance hall

(6) no guy would ever love her more. 
she'd bought her dentures in a store. 
that she was rotten to the core. 
that she'd never use a score.

(7) (8) forever. She said to me (9).

(7) I promised her I'd 
I yodeled that I'd 
She asked me if I'd 
I'll swear off meat and

(8) stay with her
knew deep down 
wear red socks
play Satie

(9) our love would never die.
there was no other guy.
she'd have a ham on rye.
that weddings made her cry.

But who'd have thought she'd (10) (11). (12) goodbye.

(10) run off 
fiddle 
sing loud
sky dive

(11) with my best friend
in the choir room
in my Edsel
near Atlanta

(12) You'd think at least that she'd have said
I never had the chance to say
She sent a hired thug to say
I now can kiss my credit cards




Q: What happens if you play blues music backwards? 
A: Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

Q: What does it say on a blues singer's tombstone? 
A: "I didn't wake up this morning..."

Son: "Mother, I want to grow up and be a rock-n-roll musician." 
Mother: "Now, son, you have to pick one or the other. You can't be both."

Q: What do you call a guitar player who only knows two chords? 
A: A music critic.

Q: What's the similarity between a drummer and a philosopher? 
A: They both perceive time as an abstract concept.

Q: What's the difference between a guitar player and a large pizza? 
A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.

Q: What's the difference between a jet airplane and a drummer? 
A: About three decibels.

-- "A critic is like a eunuch: he knows exactly how it ought to be done."

-- "A drummer is a musician's best friend."

Q: Did you hear about the time the bass player locked his keys in the car?
A: It took two hours to get the drummer out.

Q: What does it mean when a guitar player is drooling out both sides of his mouth?
A: The stage is level.

Q: How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A: Give him some printed music.

Did you hear about the electric bass player who was so bad that even the lead singer noticed?

Did you hear about the electric bass player who was so bad that even the lead singer noticed?

Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one - but the guitarist has to show him first.

Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. The piano player can do that with his left hand.

Q: What does a guitarist say when he gets to his gig?
A: Would you like fries with that?



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