My friend, the great drummer Jimmy Cobb, forwarded me this email with a hilarious description of what is and what is not the Blues. It was purportedly written by someone named
Stretch Melon Clinton (if there is such a person) but no matter what the source is this is funny material:
> HOW TO SING THE BLUES ... by Stretch Melon Clinton
> 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
> 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 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 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 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 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. Ashrams
> 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 see
> 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 are:
> a. wine
> b. whiskey or bourbon
> c. muddy water
> d. black coffee
> The following are NOT Blues beverages:
> 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 while getting liposuction.
> 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,
> For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.
> (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")
> 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.