How to Sing the Blues

1. Most blues tunes 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. Like: "Got a good woman, with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and he weighs 'bout 500 pounds."

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

5. 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.

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

7. The following colors do not belong in the blues: violet, beige, mauve, and puce. (Unless desparately needed for a rhyme.)

8. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is all wrong.

9. Good places for the blues are: the highway, the jailhouse. An empty bed is good too.

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

11. Do you have the right to sing the blues?

Answer 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

Answer no if:
a. You were once blind but now can see
b. You're deaf
c. You have a trust fund

12. If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Perrier is not a blues beverage.

13. If it occurs in a cheap motel, a roadhouse, or a shack, it's a 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.

14. Some blues names for women: Sadie, Big Momma, or Bessie. Some blues names for men: Joe, Willie, Little Willie, or Lightning. (Persons with names like Sierra or Brittany will not be permitted to sing the blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.)

[author and source unknown]
(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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