Culture is where you find it, and in the United States, there is a deep and rich legacy of black America originating in slave camps in the Southeastern states in the 1800's, spreading across the nation in gospel songs, gathering in a few big cities where the guitar strummin', banjo pickin' masters of music, free but broke and locked out by white America, would share their misery and memories of poverty, mean bosses, drinkin' and nasty women.
White misery - for a lot of whites were poor and uneducated in those days, too - was found in folk music; Woody Gutherie and eventually his hippie son Arlo "sittin' down on a country fence post, sittin' down watchin' trucks go by". Fused with country ballads, black and white America joined in the color-blind, colorful explosion of rock and roll music in the 50's and 60's, capturing the pounding guitar and drum rhythms correct for our time, changing, learning, experimenting, growing.
Anything but static.
Here's what the blues is all about, an iffn' you gets it, you be a travelin' man f' sho:
Definition of the Blues
1. Most Blues begin with: "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 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. Princess Cruises 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 Vermont 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 chompin' 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 service entrance, 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 believes it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less it's old, 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/deaf/etc., 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 maybe. 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 Blue beverages: a. perrier, b. soy milk, 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 Dumplin'
18. Some Blues names for men: a. Joe, b. Willie, c. Little Willie, d. Big Willie
19. Persons with names like Kaitlyn, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
20. Blues Name Starter Kit: First Name - name of infirmity(Blind, Mute, Lame, etc.), Plus - name of food or animal (Lemon, Sweetpea, 'Gator), Plus - last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, Clinton, etc.). For example: Pegleg Lemon Johnson, Lame Kyle Clinton, or Blind Dog Jefferson.
21. I don't care how well off you are. If you own a computer, it must only function as a table for certain items..... Ripple Wine, Red Man chew, or 'leavins' from the dumpster behind your local "Chickin 'n' Biskits."
Oh, and don't forget to flat your thirds and sevenths...