Song Sung Blue

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “blue”, so here is Tinman’s guide to one of the most famous of all music genres….


The first requirement of being a blues singer is that you woke up this morning. Of course, most of us did, but we don’t feel the need to complain about it. Your next problem could be anything – your woman could have left you (the Lovesick Blues) you could have a hangover from last night’s pub-crawl (the 12-Bar Blues) or you might be tired after the walk uphill home (the Hill Street Blues). This problem will form the second line of your song.

In case your audience don’t get it, the first and second lines are then sung again, before the verse ends with one line summing up just how bad the situation is. An example would be “Woke up this mornin’/Found ma woman gone/woke up this mornin’/found ma woman gone/Now I ain’t got no-one/to put ma dinner on.”

It is important to note the use of the word “woman”. As a blues singer you are never left by your girl (that’s boy-bands), your honey (that’s Bobby Goldsboro) or your doll (that’s just weird). You will certainly never be left by your wife, because you won’t have one.

All blues numbers have the same tune. This is a golden rule. The sole optional amendment is that a harmonica, the musical equivalent of nails on a blackboard, is sometimes thrown in, so that the listener’s agony can match that of the singer.

This singer’s name will not be something like, say, Julian. No, blues singers have names like Silly Hair Jones, Bicycle-Pump Wilson or Old Yeller Jackson, who got the name not because he was a terrible singer, but simply because he was an old geezer.

It is the only occupation in which you can call someone “Fats” without them getting offended.

The typical blues singer lives to be about 120, singing night after night about their considerably more than fifty shades of blue.

There is only one thing that they are afraid of, and that is happiness. Nothing can kill a blues career quicker than to wake up one morning, and find that things are good.

Coz there ain’t no cure for the Funtime Blues.

52 thoughts on “Song Sung Blue

  1. tipsfromflo

    I love blues, especially 12-bar. The things you mentioned are so true. I love Little Willie John’s blues songs, although he is primarily a soul singer. He is my favorite male singer and Linda Jones is my favorite female singer.

  2. Browsing the Atlas

    I want to write a blues song! Here goes:

    “Woman, this hound don’t bark/ cause his head is hangin’ low/woman, this hound don’t bark/cause his head is hangin’ low
    I done you wrong/I’m just a hound
    I’ll pack my bag, bad dog, and go.”

    Lyrics by Droopy Head Jones

  3. padraigoconnor

    🙂 Woke up this morning and I read your blog, now my woman´s gone and left me, and she´s taken my dog, I´ve got the blues coming on, oh yeah, I´ve got the blues coming on… Cheers for sharing.

  4. Matt_S_Law

    Experiment: “I got up this morning/Had a delicious breakfast… I got up this morning/Had a delicious breakfast…” (ponder) You’re absolutely right, that doesn’t work at all…

  5. L. Palmer

    I believe the difference between the blues and a sad country song is that the country singer gets to keep the dog and the truck. All the blues singer gets is drunk and more harmonica.
    I play harmonica, by the way, and I don’t think it’s quite that ear scratching.

  6. blackshepherd

    oh yeah? how do you know? I woke up this morning (working assuption) and I WAS blue…I mean literally…my outer appearance now matches perfectly the inside stuff that I’m too blue to sing or even groan about…what do you think of that Fats?

    never mind…I know no one responds to a blues singer unless he’s “singin'” …I’m just a belly aching self pitying cry baby but I do needs to find me some turpentine…

  7. Tinman Post author

    Thank you to all of you for your comments. To those of you who’ve had a go at your own blues songs, it’s good to know I’m not the only daft one. And to those of you who love the blues, thank you for taking the piece in the spirit it is meant.
    I’m a bit embarrassed by all of this, but I will come and visit you all over the coming days, and I hope that you will all stick around here.


  8. notedinnashville

    A blues singer must name himself after an affliction, a fruit, and a president. I.E. “Blind Lemon Jefferson” or “Tone-deaf Huckleberry Bush.”

  9. kinetikat

    “You will certainly never be left by your wife, because you won’t have one.” How true.
    And I love the definition of the Hill Street Blues.
    Here’s my attempt at an inspiring, uplifting blues song:
    “I woke up this mornin’ / Feelin’ kinda happy / Yeah, I woke up this mornin’ / Feelin’ kinda happy / I’m gonna cut this short, ‘cos feelin’ happy / Makes a blues song really crappy.”
    You’re absolutely right, it just doesn’t work!
    Of course, there are rare exceptions to the “Compulsory Misery” rule – “Feelin’ Good” being the major one that springs to mind. Though of course, that’s obviously just the start of the relationship when she’s feeling all fuzzy and happy – there’s plenty of scope for it all to go horribly pear-shaped later on.
    I’ll be back! Congrats on the Freshly Pressed. As you say, no pressure for tomorrow’s post then…

  10. Phil

    Love your take on the Blues! Flippin’ hilarious and awesome! Write on, write on… Would you mind if I reblogged it, with all credit to you so my tens of … er… tens of followers might catch this in case they missed Freshly Pressed?

  11. Phil

    Reblogged this on Random Thoughts and commented:
    Apropos of our Music Passion game whose theme this month of September is “The Blues”, I managed to stumble upon a brilliant Freshly Pressed piece that is hilariously informative for all who have ever wanted to compose and sing the Blues. Pop on over to Tinman’s blog and see his irreverent tongue-in-cheek style that had me howling with laughter earlier today. Thanks Tinman for making me laugh! And thanks for the permission to reblog. I hope the added traffic from the tens of … er… tens of followers I have doesn’t crash your stats. OK folks, go on over and show the Tinman some love…

  12. Josephus-Joppa

    Somebody had to make a satire of my beloved blues… don’t think that you’re the only one who’s done it but this was well put together; made a few points about the blues that people don’t readily recognize (i.e., the harmonica). Worthy of the “freshly pressed” designation but now I realize I have to go ahead sooner with my answer about the blues.

    1. Tinman Post author

      Please do, I’ll look forward to it (I do like the blues, by the way, which is why I wrote it, if I hated them I’d never have written it because that would just be insulting them rather than poking a bit of fun at them).

  13. Pingback: Music Passion Morning – allaboutlemon

  14. Pingback: What’s Your Blues Name? | noted in nashville

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