How to sing the blues

How to Sing the Blues (attributed to Memphis Earlene Gray with help from Uncle Plunky)

1. Most blues begin “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: “I got a good woman – with the meanest dog in town.”

3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of.

“I got a good woman
with the meanest dog in town,
He’s got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
and weighs about 500 pounds.”

4. The blues are not about limitless choice.

5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

6. Teenagers can’t sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

8. The following colors do not belong in the blues: a. violet b. beige c. mauve

9. You can’t have the blues in an office or a shopping mall, as the lighting is wrong.

10. Good places for the blues: a. the highway b. jailhouse c. empty bed
Bad places: a. ashrams b. gallery openings c. the Hamptons

11. No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

12. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
Yes, if: a. your first name is a southern state – like Georgia
b. you’re blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can’t be satisfied

No, if: a. you once were blind, but now can see.
b. you’re deaf
c. you have a trust fund

13. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.

14. If you ask for water, and baby gives you gasoline, it’s the blues. Other blues beverages are: a. screw-top wine b. Irish whiskey c. muddy water
Blues beverages are NOT: a. any mixed drink b. any wine kosher for Passover c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is NOT a blues death if you die during liposuction treatment.

16. Some blues names for women: a. Sadie b. Big Mama c. Bessie

17. Some blues names for men: a. Joe b. Willie c. Little Willie d. Lightning

Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

18. Other Blues Names (starter kit – mix and match): a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic) b. First name (see above), or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi) c. Last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

A present from Frank Feigert