View Full Version : How to play the Blues

22nd Jun 2001, 13:42
The loss of John Lee Hooker this morning reminded me of an email I got sent on how to play the Blues.

By way of a tribute to the man, and to put a smile on the face, here it is:

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: "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. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weigh 500 pound."

4 The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch: You stuck in a ditch, ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUV's. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. 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 St. Paul or Tucson is just 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 'cuz you skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cuz an alligator be chomping on it

9. You can't have no Blues in an 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. Ashrams
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 man, and you slept in it.

12. 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 lived.
d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

14. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues.

Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. mixed drinks
b. kosher wine
c. Snapple
d. sparkling water

15. If it 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 in a broken 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 Sierra, Sequoia, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make yer 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.) (Now wait a minute! Kiwi is a blues fruit???)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

For example, Blind Lime Jefferson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.

20. I don't care how tragic your life; you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues. You best destroy it. Use fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or shotgun. Maybe your big woman just done sit on it. I don't care.

Somehow, I get the feeling that "Constipated Sharon Thatcher" won't get very far in the Blues world... Best stick with American

tony draper
22nd Jun 2001, 14:21
Heh heh, good stuff Mr P, ;)

Stiff Lil' Fingers
22nd Jun 2001, 14:56
Anyone remember the old Heineken adverts?

Sadness is my first name,
last name is misery,
I lost my woman, and the rain is coming down,
that's how life goes,
don't you know thats how life goes,
its a dirty rotten deal,
you lose your woman, your dog and your

I think that suitable embodies the spirit of the blues.


22nd Jun 2001, 15:12
Hey....GREAT STUFF, pjdj !!!!! ;)

One of these days...I say....we are gonna HAVE to jam...

I can see it already on the pprune billboard :

"BLUES NIGHT - The Pprune Way"

.....maybe a suggestion for the Ozbash 2002 ??? ;)

Calling all musicians ! Sign up NOW ! :)

'There is some satisfaction, that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination you thought you'd never make...'

23rd Jun 2001, 04:16
Hi pjdj777,

Quote: "Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues."


Even if my baby left me,
Cause I sucked her big right toe,
And the dude I shot in Memphis,
Well his name was Willie Joe ...?

Best wishes,

23rd Jun 2001, 04:28
I refer you to the sometimes/sort of Blues singer/composer. Gordon Lightfoot for jet blues in Canada. "In the early morning rain."

23rd Jun 2001, 09:46
Let's see here, ugly white guy, ain't never shot nobody ( in Memphis that is ), empty bed, still have a taste for Mad Dog ( I know, I know...it's for whinos and teenagers ), and I don't own a suit. I guess it's time for Mert to sing the blues.
Nah, I'd rather call myself Sierra and get over it!


24th Jun 2001, 04:41
Hmmm...lessee..Dumb Willie Clinton. Awwwrrriiight! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/cool.gif

Capt Vegemite
24th Jun 2001, 08:23
For the Tommy Chong fans....Blind melon chitlin' (http://randysrock.terrashare.com/CheechAndChong/5.ram)


Arm out the window
24th Jun 2001, 10:52
We sat a few rows behind the now late, great John Lee Hooker on a plane from Las Vegas to San Francisco, so I guess the blues can travel on a jet aeroplane.

He had a seat reserved for his guitar though - it travelled in first class next to him, while all his minders were back with us plebs.

He was a sleepy little old bloke in a suit and dark glasses, but he had a real presence - in the airport lounge before we left he was talking to his offsiders and his voice had that amazing resonant cool sound that he gets on records.