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How to Sing the Blues

  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: "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. Got a good woman with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and he weighs 500 pounds.
  4. The blues are not about limitless choice.
  5. Blues cars are Chevys and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation: a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Not acceptable: Beemers, hot air balloons. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle, as does fixin' to die.
  6. Teenagers can't sing the blues, although they always try. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the chair if you kill a man in Memphis.
  7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Queens or Brooklyn. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota: just a depression. The best places to have the blues are still Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City.
  8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
    1. violet
    2. beige
    3. mauve
  9. You can't have the blues in an office or mall: the lighting is wrong. Good places for the blues:
    1. The highway (the best: a crossroads)
    2. The jail house
    3. An empty bed
    Bad places:
    1. Ashrams
    2. Gallery openings
    3. Wine tastings
    4. A weekend in the Hamptons
  10. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, unless you are an old black man.
  11. Do you have a right to sing the blues? Yes, if:
    1. Your first name is a southern state, like Georgia
    2. You're blind
    3. You shot a man in Memphis
    4. You can't be satisfied
    5. "The man" doesn't like you
    No, if:
    1. You were once blind, but now can see
    2. You're deaf
  12. Neither Julio Iglesias or Barbara Streisand (or their fans) can sing the blues.
  13. If you ask for water and yo baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other blues liquids:
    • Wine from a bottle in a sack
    • Irish whiskey from a dirty glass
    • Muddy water (usually not for drinking)
    Not blues beverages:
    • Any mixed drink or a drink with a little umbrella in it
    • Any kosher wine
  14. If it occurs in a flea bag hotel or in a shotgun shack, it's a blues death. Other blues deaths: being stabbed in the back by a jealous lover, being pushed down an old mine shaft, crying yourself to death. You cannot die a blues death during a tennis match or while getting a liposuction treatment.
  15. Some names for blues women:
    • Sadie
    • Big Mama
    • Bessie
  16. Some blues names for men:
    • Joe (including "Big", "Old" or "Blind" alone or in any combination, but not "little")
    • Willie (Little Willie could work)
    • Lightnin'
    • Almost anything with "howlin' in front of it
    • Other name possibilities include physical infirmities: blind, cripple, wheezin'; fruit names: lemon, lime; names of presidents: Jefferson,Johnson, Fillmore. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia or Chauncey will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.