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2002-06-09 - 1:22 p.m.

how to sing the blues



by Lame Mango Washington

(attributed to Memphis Earl Grey

with revisions by

Little Blind Patti D. and Dr.

Stevie Franklin and help

from Uncle Plunky)

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 ugliest 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 ugliest 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 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 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


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 still the best places

to have the Blues.

You cannot have the blues in any

place that don't get


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 is.

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. Applebee'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 ethnic person, 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


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


a. wine

b. whiskey or bourbon

c. muddy water

d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues


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 on a broken

down cot. You can't have a Blues

death if you die

during a tennis match or getting


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, Auburn,

and Rainbow 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,

or Cripple Kiwi

Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not


20. I don't care how tragic your

life: you own a

computer, you cannot sing the

blues. You best destroy

it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad

Dog, or get out a

shotgun. Maybe your big woman just

done sat on it. I don't care.


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