The Blues

"You white boys think you know the Blues... Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, that's the Blues.

Oh, you heer'd 'bout Robert Johnson and Leadbelly, eh? Well, maybe you heer'd about Blind Lemon Jefferson, too, but I bet you ain't never heer'd 'bout his second cousin, Deaf Squash Washington!

See, nobody ever recorded Deaf Squash Washington, he never made no records. That's why you never heer'd of him.

Now, Blind Lemon was blind. Couldn't see a thing. His second cousin, Deaf Squash, was deaf. Deaf as a post. Couldn't hear a jackhammer if he held one up to each ear. But, man, he could play. And play... and play... and play... and play...

It was horrible. He couldn't tune his guitar, couldn't tell what notes he was playin,' had no idea what he was singin.' Jus' "BLAAAH, BLAAAH, BLAAAH... BLAH, BLAH," real loud, no notes or nothin." Didn't have a clue. He just saw other people doin' it, and tried to do it, too. Guess he musta' figured that either he sounded as good as they did, or figured ev'rybody else sounded as bad as he did, I don't know. It was pathetic. Mos' people didn't have the heart to tell him he sounded so bad, and those that did try, couldn't get through to him, 'cause he was deaf!

They would yell at him "Shut up! Stop playing!" right to his face, and Deaf Squash Washington thought they was jus' singing along. They'd shake they heads back and forth, and he'd shake his right back. They'd wave their hands, and Deaf Squash thought they was dancin.' Lawd, was it awful.

They's prolly s'posed to be some fancy story 'bout how he died, when he was shot. Something 'bout how he got lynched by the Klan, or got in a fight with a jealous husband or some crap like 'dat, ain't none of it true. They jus' shot him.

You white boys think you know the Blues... well, listenin' to Deaf Squash Washington for twenny or thutty minutes, now THAT'S the Blues." 


Blues Rules

1. Most blues begin "woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line:

    "I got a good woman...
        with the meanest dog in town..."

3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes... sort of:

        "Got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
            He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
            and he weighs about 500 pounds..."

4. The blues are not about limitless choices.

5. Blues cars are Chevys and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation are a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont of North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
        a. Violet
        b. Beige
        c. Mauve

9. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall, the lighting is wrong.

10. Good places for the blues:
            a. the highway
            b. the jailhouse
            c. the empty bed

        Bad places:
            a. Ashrams
            b. Gallery openings
            c. Weekend in the Hamptons

11. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

12. Do you have the right to sing the blues?

        Yes, if:
            a. your first name is a southern state... like Georgia
            b. you're blind
            c. you shot a man in Memphis
            d. you can't be satisfied

        No, if:
            a. you were once blind but now can see.
            b. you're deaf
            c. you have a trust fund

13. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.

14. If you ask for water and baby give you gasoline, it's the blues.

        Other blues beverages are:
            a. wine
            b. Irish Whiskey
            c. muddy water

        Blues beverages are NOT:
            a. any mixed drink
            b. any wine kosher for Passover
            c. Yoo-hoo (all flavors)

15. Some blues names for women:
        a. Sadie
        b. Big Mama
        c. Bessie

16. Some blues names for men:
        a. Joe
        b. Willie
        c. Little Willie
        d. Lightning

Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

16B. Other blues names (starter kit):
        a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic...)
        b. first name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi...)
        c. last name of President (Jefferson, Fillmore, etc...)