Jul 15, 2010

Writing the Blues: A Starter Kit

Dug this out of an ancient email last night and decided it's apropos for current times. (Btw, using the word 'apropos' most definitely ain't the Blues.)

Writing The Blues: A Starter Kit

1. Most Blues begin "Woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes...sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch--ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs, and broke-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the runnin'. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

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

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass
Bad places:
a. Dillard's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses
11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you sleep in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
a. you older than dirt
b. you 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 lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund
13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.

14. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues.
Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. nasty black coffee
The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast
15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broke-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling
17. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
18. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make-Your-Own-Blues-Name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jakeleg Lemon Johnson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore.

20. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:25 PM

    A few additions/thoughts/addendums:

    10. Another good blues place is the intersection of Hwy 49
    and Hwy 61. The drive thru of Taco Bell is not blues.
    Nor is the parking lot of your kid's daycare.

    14. Acceptable beverage - gasoline (or kerosene).
    Gin and Tonic and Diet Coke are not blues.

    15. It's blues to die in a poker game with the devil.
    It is not blues to die playing Snakes and Ladders
    or Wii.

    16. Fat River Dumplin. Which leads me to think that
    another blues name generator - unfortunate health
    issue + body of water + food stuff.
    Pimple Puddle Yeast Roll.

    17. Let's not forget #5 under men's blues names:
    Little Joe Willie (or Big Willie Jojo, which
    can't be used in the UK because Willie means
    something different over here)

    19. Somehow Lame Kiwi Filmore doesn't quite do it for me.

    - bline wheezy wilkinson (I own a computer but feel qualified to sing the blues as I am from the south and am stuck in Great Britain with no fried shrimp or catfish or biscuits)

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