Guide to singing the real blues

microphone for blues singing

If you don’t get some of these, it’s probably because you’re not a “real” blues listener!

  • Most blues begin “woke up this morning.”
  • “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.
  • 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.
  • The blues are not about limitless choice.
  • Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.
  • 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.
  • You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.
  • The following colors do not belong in the blues:
    • violet
    • beige
    • mauve
  • You can’t have the blues in an office or a shopping mall, the lighting is wrong.
  • Good places for the Blues:
    • the highway
    • the jailhouse
    • the empty bed
  • Bad places for the Blues:
    • Ashrams
    • Gallery openings
    • Weekend in the Hamptons
  • No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.
  • You have the right to sing the blues if:
    • your first name is a southern state — like Georgia
    • you’re blind
    • you shot a man in Memphis
    • you can’t be satisfied.
  • You do not have the right to sing the blues if:
    • you were once blind but now can see
    • you’re deaf
    • you have a trust fund
  • If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it’s the blues. Other blues beverages are:
    • wine
    • Irish whiskey
    • muddy water
  • Blues beverages are NOT
    • Any mixed drink
    • Any wine kosher for Passover
    • Yoo Hoo (all flavors)
  • Some Blues names for Women
    • Sadie
    • Big Mama
    • Bessie
  • Some Blues Names for Men
    • Joe
    • Willie
    • Willie Joe
  • White persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
  • Other Blues Names (Starter Kit):
    • Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
    • First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
    • Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

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