Monday, March 19, 2012

How To Sing The Blues

I love blues music.  It has such soulful character.  My favorite blues-performers (Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf) are pictured below.

To enjoy the blues, you need to understand its culture.  That's the learnin' I'm gonna teach ya now.

Most blues songs start out, "Woke up this mornin'..."  The blues are not about choice.  You stuck in a ditch; you stuck in a ditch.  Ain't no way out.

Certain cars belong to the blues.  Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks are okay.  The blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs or SUVs.  Blues can head south on a train but they never fly a plane.  Walkin' is a major part of blues lifestyle.  So is fixin' to die.

Teenagers can't sing the blues.  They ain't fixin' to die yet.  Adults sing the blues.  "Adult" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

Blues can happen in New York City, but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada.  Hard times in Tucson are just depression.  Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are the best places to have the blues.  You can't have the blues in a place that doesn't get rain.

A man goin' bald ain't got the blues.  A woman goin' bald does.  Breaking your leg cuz you wuz skiing in Aspen is not the blues.  Breaking your leg cuz a gator be chompin' on it is.

Good places for the blues: (a) highway; (b) jailhouse; (c) empty bed; (d) bottom of a whiskey glass.

Bad places for the blues: (a) art gallery; (b) Ivy League college; (c) golf course.

No one will believe it's the blues if you're wearing a suit, unless you slept in it for a few days.

Test: 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 survived; (d) you have a trust fund.

Blues is not a matter of color; it's a matter of bad luck.  Lebron James cannot sing the blues.  Gary Coleman could.  Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

If you ask your baby for water and she gives you gasoline, you got the blues.

Acceptable blues beverages: (a) whiskey; (b) bourbon; (c) muddy water; (d) black coffee.

Not acceptable blues beverages: (a) soy caramel latte; (b) Snapple; (c) white wine spritzer.

Dying in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack is a blues way to go.  Gettin' stabbed by a jealous lover is another.  So is being fried by Old Sparky.  You can't have a blues death if you die during a tennis match at the club or from complications of liposuction.

Some blues names for women: Sadie; Big Mama; Bessie; Fat River Dumpling.

Some blues names for men: Willie; Little Willie; Big Willie; Joe.

If you have a name like Sierra, Rainbow, Blue Ivy or Prince Michael, you can't sing the blues no matter how many men you shot in Memphis.

Here's how to make your own blues name.  Pick an infirmity (Blind, Lame, Little), add a first name from a type of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi) and finish with the name of a President (Jackson, Jefferson).  For example, you can sing the blues using the name Blind Lemon Jefferson.  Or Little Willie Jackson.

Do you sing the blues?


  1. I love your humorous take on the blues. I do love the blues but I can't sing them. I love the pain AND soul in the music - you always feel them- 100% of the time!

  2. Tall Melon Madison. LOL. I kind of like that. I'd have to spell melon with two l's, though.

    I sing popular blues songs sometimes and improvise "in-the-style-of," but I never write my own and have no intention of recording any. I definitely have no right to sing my own blues, which are pretty insignificant! :P Love this post.

    (Correction: I have a song I recorded for my grandmother called "New Socks" that's bluesy, but it's meant to be funny. I need to find that mp3...)

  3. Love this post ... It really gives some insight into the Blues ~ I LOVE the blues cause I have a bluesy kinda personality however never having been to Memphis I cannot say that I shot anyone there (or anywhere else!!!)

  4. Ah, how much I enjoyed reading this post. You are so cultured and hilarious. I love this kind of clever humor. I am forwarding the post link to a few friends already.
    Makes me realize how much I miss visiting you. If only I wasn't so behind in everything. I am slowly getting there though.
    Thanks for visiting me though.

  5. may god always give my best for you ..

  6. Love this post! Now I feel like I need to go and check out some blues.

  7. I'm enamored of songs like this:
    Thank you for the info ;), haha.

    1. Oh, I post a cover that I was listening instead the original version XD Well, Christine is a very talented girl, you will not regret of listening to her.

  8. Ha Ha Ha, This is the best explained post about blues ever!! Soy Latte is something only Madonna could use in her songs!! LOL! Thanks for the laughs on the fine Spring morning! Not feeling Blue anymore! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
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  9. I definitely am! Hungarians have all the background for it. :D

    Brilliant post, you write so well! Your comparisons had me in stiches. :D

  10. !!!!!! Did you write this? It's pure gold.

    I'm still laughing. And it takes a lot for me to laugh. I'm a cynic, remember.

    Short Berry Carter

  11. I have to say, this musical genre is not one of my favorites - but your insight is brilliant and pretty damn funny! Everything sounded pretty convincing with the exception of the part about Canada! I grew up in a small mining camp that had a few neighborhoods where the blues brew daily!

    Your story about the blues was pure gold!

    p.s. thank you for the well-wishes!

  12. "Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues."

    This is the best line I've read all day :oD

    GREAT post, Ally. Love seeing this side of you :)

  13. firstly, i would like to say that you lack no pizzazz :)
    this post made me laugh so hard! i love it

  14. "Breaking your leg cuz a gator be chompin' on it is." Bwahahahaha!!! You're gonna make me pee my pants! This is hilarious! :)

    I'll be Lil' Cherry Taft.

  15. This is hilarious! I love the blues, and I was so sad at the passing of the great Etta James. I only hope that all of the things that disqualify a person from singing the blues doesn't preclude one from listening! I'm pretty sure a blueswoman would never drive a Mini Cooper, but still you can call me,

    Crazy "Kiwi" Franklin

  16. Om my gosh, that was so well written! I cannot sing the blues. But that's a good thing. I'm a be Limpin' Kiwi Coolidge.

  17. My blues name would be Neurotic Persimmon Hayes.

    I love how passionate you are about things. You inspire me.


  18. This post reminded me of a funny store. I was teaching a lesson on the Blues in an American Literature class one day. I had carefully made a CD of the tunes I wanted to share with the class. I began to play it and within minutes a woman from the office next door stomped into my classroom and asked me to turn off that racket. I told her I would not do that as it was part of my lesson.

    And, yes, I have earned the right to the blues--all my babies done left me.

    I always liked the music of Shelby Lynne. The name don't fit, but the sound sure does.

  19. I love the blues and this is hilarious!! It's totally ok to sing the blues if you're greek (and no murder is required cause you're ok in the lame level)! It's ok to sing the blues if you're a sinnerman/woman! Deaf Bergamot Johnson! Kisses

  20. OMG!!! I was having to laugh silently all the way through this just to keep from waking the baby. Otherwise, I'd have been roaring!! If things don't work out for you in law, I think it's safe to say you have a career in comedic writing.

    I've been through a lotta sad stuff in my life, but sadly, I'm afraid I do not qualify to sing the blues. :( Or can I be so sad that I don't qualify that then I do qualify? Hmm.

    Since one of my dogs is named Sadie, I guess she can sing them. Although, she doesn't have much to complain about in her life. :)


    One-Eye Peaches Monroe

    Wait. That sounds like a broke-down stripper.

    How about... Feeble Fig Fillmore. When in doubt, alliterate.

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