LC sent us these "Rules for the Blues." I think they're great. I like listening to the blues, and have done a few posts about this genre. In fact, reading this had me humming "Saint James Infirmary" for the rest of the afternoon.
Despite the title of this post, the truth is, by these rules, I not only don't have the right to sing the blues; I should probably be slapped for my impertinence. Or maybe, we each, in our own way, has the right to sing the blues, but not if you follow the rules. Which is as it should be.
You decide. Here are the rules.
1. Most Blues begin with "Woke up this morning."
2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to beging the Blues unless 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. There ain't no way out.
5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillaces and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUVs. Most blues transportaion 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 anyplace in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probaboly just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still great places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues anyplace that does nto 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 were skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause an alligator be chomping on it is.
9. You cannot have the Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go out to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
10. Good places to have the Blues: highway, jailhouse, empty bed, bottom of a whiskey glass.
11. Bad places for the Blues: Nordstrom's or Macy's, gallery openings, Ivy League colleges, golf courses.
12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be old and black, and you've obviously slept in the damned thing.
13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
a. You are older than dirt.
b. You are blind.
c. You shot a man in Memphis.
d. You can't be satisfied.
You don't have the right to sing the Blues if:
a. You have most of your teeth.
b. You were once blind but now you can see.
c. The man in Memphis lived.
d. You have a 401K or trust fund.
14. Blues is not a matter of color. It is a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people have a leg up on the blues.
15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are: cheap wine, whiskey or bourbon, muddy water, nasty black coffee.
The following are not Blues beverages: Perrier, Chardonnay, Snapple, Slim Fast.
16. 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 way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.
17. Some blues names for women: Sadie, Bessie, Big Mama, Fat River Dumpling.
18. Some Blues names of men: Joe, Willie, Little Willie, Big Willie.
19. Persons with names like Amber, Jennifer, Tiffany, Debbie and Heather can't sing the blues, no matter how many men they shot in Memphis.
20. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit:
Pick a physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.) Add a first name (see above) plus the name of a fruit (Lemon, Lime, etc.), and last names of a President (Jefferson, Johnoson, Filmore, etc.)
Examples: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jackleg Lemon Johnson.
21. No matter how tragic your life, ifyou own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.
[Image of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi from Search.com]