How to Sing the Blues

“How to Sing the Blues”
by Lame Mango Washington

  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’re stuck in a ditch; you’re stuck in a ditch ain’t no way out.
  5. Blues cars: Chevys, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don’t travel in Volvos, BMWs or SUVs. Most blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or 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 chompin’ on it is.
  9. You can’t have no blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is all wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
  10. Good places for the blues:
    • Highway
    • Jailhouse
    • Empty bed
    • Bottom of a whiskey glass

    Bad places:

    • Ashram
    • Gallery openings
    • Ivy League institutions
    • Golf courses
  11. No one will believe it’s the blues if you wearin’ a suit, ‘less you happen to be an old black man, and you slept in it.
  12. Do you have the right to sing the blues? Yes, if:
    • You’re older than dirt
    • You’re blind
    • You shot a man in Memphis
    • You can’t be satisfied

    No, if:

    • You have all your teeth
    • You were once blind but now can see
    • The man in Memphis lived
    • 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:
    • Cheap wine (Mad Dog 20/20, Ripple, etc)
    • Whiskey or bourbon
    • Muddy water
    • Black coffee

    The following are NOT blues beverages:

    • Mixed drinks
    • Kosher wine
    • Snapple
    • 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 are 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 during lipo-suction.
  16. Some blues names for women:
    • Sadie
    • Big Mama
    • Bessie
    • Fat River Dumpling
  17. Some blues names for men:
    • Joe
    • Willie
    • Little Willie
    • Big Willie
  18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia and Rainbow can’t sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot on Memphis.
  19. Make yer own blues name (starter kit):
    • Name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc)
    • First name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc)
    • 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. Fire, spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or shotgun. Maybe your big woman just done sit on it. I don’t care. Now go on!!!!