Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Blues

What is wrong with snot-nosed, left wing, left coast, pinko-commie Californians?
You can beat them over the head with the truth and they will still expound
(at length, and with gusto) their misguided and ingorant position on a
particular subject without any thought that they might be mistaken.

To wit: The Idiot at Fry's Electronics in Anaheim...

On the overhead music in the store someone had put on a blues album...
Really excellent, I might add.
Some instrumental blues- great slide guitar... real tasty stuff. Well... I'm standing in the hardware section looking at various crap (of which they have TONS at Frys) and I hear this idiot comment on the music overhead and how he just loves the blues... Can't get enough of it, etc.
A song comes on that I just happen to know (odd 'cause I don't have a real
deep knowledge of blues, but I do know this one...)- John Mayall's "Catch that Train" which has an awsome harmonica riff at the beginning that starts like a train leaving the station then segues into a fast harp shuffle.
Idjit boy starts to say how John PRINE is the penultimate blues musician of the last 20 years and this tune is a signature piece of Prine's.
Now, I'm not one to correct someone, but as he was expounding for another person's edification, I felt that he needed to at least give accurate information about the subject. I thought he had just gotten the last name wrong (which he had) and would do the old head-slap and say "that's right, John Mayall..." but in retrospect I should have just shut up because this loser was a nightmare with a short fuse...
"Um..." I said, sotto voce "I think you mean John Mayall. John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. From England."
BluesBoy looked at me like I had just slapped his grandmother.
"Excuse me, sir"...he said, voice dripping with sarcasm and ridicule "That is John Prine. I KNOW my blues! And no Englishman can ever hope to play the blues... It is a physical impossibility!" I never said another word as this bonehead went on a 5 minute tirade about the qualifications to sing the blues and how it was purely an American strain of music, and that no one outside the Mississippi Valley could possibly have the genetic makeup to play The Blues.
The guy he was talking to at one point rolled his eyes back into his head when the Blues Expert wasn't looking, and I nearly blew a blood vessel trying not to laugh out loud.

Don't get me wrong- There are specific qualifications for singing the Blues-
but it has nothing to do with geography. Mayall, Clapton and the boys from England in the late 60's did some awesome stuff...
Women will do you wrong in Paris or Australia, just as they do down in New Orleans...
But it is kind of hard to riff about hard times on the Champs-Elysées or how bad you feel 'cause a truck ran over your wallaby.

My cell phone rang during his oratory, and I politely moved off to take my call in peace...
Upon checkout, they had a display of music CDs for sale, including one the one that was playing... and it was Mayall's "Catch that Train"... and there wasn't anything by John Prine on the CD at all... I really wanted to take the disc and find the jerk and just hand it to him and walk away... but alas, I just left the store with a nasty little smirk on my face... I was right. For once.

(It happens so infrequently that I am very amused when it occurs.)

It might be interesting to discuss the some of the rules for Singing the

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 choice.

5. 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.

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 or 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
d. teal

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 gives 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. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room.

It is not a blues death, if you die during a liposuction treatment.

16. Some Blues names for Women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie

17. 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.

18. 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, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
Mix and Match

TBG (Tuberculosis Boysenberry Garfield) out-

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