Tuesday, February 23, 2010


- by Anonymous Blues Dog

If you are new to Blues music, or like it but never really understood the whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:

1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this mornin’ . . ."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin 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 . . . ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, 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 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 anywhere 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 no 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 a 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

11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses

12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

13. 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 401K or trust fund

14. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got 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:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. 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 Blues 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:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

18. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

20. Blues Name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Mute, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, Clinton, etc.) < B R>
For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Pegleg Lemon Johnson or Lame Kiwi
Clinton, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

21. I don't care how tragic your life is: "You gotta pay yer dues if yer gonna sing the Blues."

- Bluesman Chas (Charter Member of Team STORMBRINGER) contributed this ingenius piece; artwork by the immortal R. Crumb.

An important part of the Mission Statement of Blog STORMBRINGER is to celebrate the Blues; America's unique contribution to Western Civilization. Now before anybody busts my balls for copyright infringement or any such mess, let it be known: I do not make any $ off this Blog, not one red cent; I don't even get publicity toward my professional activities, on account I publish this Blog under a pseudonym.

- Sean Linnane



  1. "You gotta suffer to sing the blues."
    Great post!

  2. Great collection of posters. However, I don't think Janis Joplin qualifies as a blues singer. She's too hip lefty.

  3. That's the Blues distilled down to it's last tear drop...'cept you don't say nothing about two timing wimens, mama-in-laws or 'the man' being unfair to po souls like me.

  4. I think Janis Joplin qualified as a blues singer because she went through a lot of crap in her short life. Her voice reflected a lot of pain in many of her songs.

  5. Amen...

    A. S. Layman III

  6. sikes.1 -- you are wrong about Janis. Dead wrong. Too wrong to even contemplate. Just try to listen to "Cry Baby" or "Piece of my Heart" and tell me it's not blues.

  7. Oddly, the Monterey blues festival is a great place to see a bunch of non-blues. I mean, Jimi and Janice clones? Can't be blues if you are copying someone else down to the frilly shirt and round glasses. Oh, and the year I went, Janice was played by a dude. So yes, it's too sunny in California for the blues, unless you have 3 strikes and a warrant, I suppose.

  8. Good stuff. I'd also recommend "Brother Yusef" for a good Blues jam.

    /He's all over youtube


  9. Janis was fer sure.
    Whiskey or H, she sang the blues.

  10. I have only one thing to say about this great post. If you had spent some of the winters I have up here in Canada for the past 71 years you would say I have every right to be considered blue.

  11. You are not allowed to sing the blues if you've ever skied or ice skated. [Especially not if you've ever ice danced.]

  12. I'm here in this blog because I wanted to know more about jazz and blues and I've gotten here what I wanted to read, actually I'm gonna recommend this blog to my friends.