What is Blues?

The basis of almost any rock composition (except for the European art rock and avant-garde) is formed by modified and transformed to non-recognition, but still Blues, born by the black Americans in the middle of the century before last.

Traditional Blues appears to be a 12-stroke song form with syncopated rhythms, sliding declines of fret steps. The so-called Urban Blues was created at the beginning of the 20th century. “This is life-affirming music, born of spiritual pain”, such definition is given by the rock encyclopedia of the American Rolling Stone magazine.

However, when it comes to the Blues role in rock music, primarily, we are bearing in mind the so-called Guitar Blues, where Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and many other bluesmen worked at ground zero.

Well, all right… It is possible to write about the Blues kilometers on paper, but there’s very little sense in doing this. It is necessary to listen to the Blues!

And, if, your body moves to the beat, and your hands involuntarily twitch around the invisible guitar – that’s it! THIS IS YOURS!

And, if goosebumps run around your body, and the wool on the scruff rises, this is, ESPECIALLY, yours! And your marriage to Blues took place! Do you remember it? “…until death do you part”.

Blues possesses another amazing property to unite and equalize people blurring the borders between statuses and occupations… Everyone is equal in Blues! In the largest accounts, Blues is not just music! Blues is Image… State… World view! Soul and Way of Life bring you to Blues.

I will allow myself to complete this narrative with one ironic recommendation for those, who would like to compose and sing Blues:

How to learn to compose and sing Blues?


1. Remember, most Blues compositions begin with the phrase: “Woke up this morning…”. “Got a good kind of woman…” is a bad phrase to start the Blues. Unless, after that you sing something like: “…with the meanest face in town!”.

2. It is easy to compose a Blues. After singing the first line, repeat it. Then find some rhyme. For example: “My wife is kind, but she’s with the meanest face in town!/Oh, oh, my wife is kind, but she’s with the meanest face in town/Got her teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weighs 500 pounds”.

3. Blues cars include Chevrolets, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. In Blues, nobody drives a Volvo, BMW or jeep. Much more often Blues lovers move with long-distance buses or trains of southern direction. No jet planes or no multi-lane freeways do exist in Blues. But the main thing in the Blues style of life is hiking. As well as the willingness to die at any moment.

4. Teenagers do not sing Blues. Blues could be sung only by those who parted with childhood. The Blues age begins with the possibility of being sentenced to death in an electric chair for committing murder in Memphis.

5. Blues could strike you, for example, in New York. But not in Hawaii. And certainly not in Canada. In Minneapolis or Tucson, your ‘bad times” would be perceived only as a banal depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City still remain the best locations for Blues. In places, where it rarely rains, Blues will never work out.

6. Balding man is not yet Blues. A balding woman is Blues.

7. Breaking a leg while skiing is no Blues. It’s quite another matter, if you broke your leg, when an alligator choked over your leg.

8. There is no Blues in the office or at the supermarket. Go to a parking lot or, at least, sit there next to the toilet.

9. Good Blues locations: highway, prison, empty bed or bottom of a glass with whiskey. Bad locations: Armani boutique, presentation of the avant-garde paintings or golf courses.

10. Nobody will believe that this is Blues, if you wear a suit with a tie.

11. You are entitled to sing Blues, if you managed to live to the advanced age, or at least not washed for a long time, or shot a man in Memphis, or you are blind.

12. You are not entitled to sing Blues, if you have all the teeth preserved, if the man you shot at Memphis survived, if your blindness was cured, if you own a trust fund or the Sberbank shares.

13. Blues does not depend on the color of skin. The main thing is how much you are not lucky. Michael Jordan cannot sing Blues. And Mike Tyson could do it. Ugly white men sometimes also sing Blues.

14. If your wife is pouring you gas, when you ask for a glass of water – it’s Blues. Other suitable Blues drinks: cheap wine, whiskey or bourbon, muddy water or disgusting black coffee. Unsuitable blues drinks: Perrier, Chardonnay, fruit drinks, sodas and freshly squeezed juices.

15. Death in a cheap motel is Blues! A real bluesman could be shot in a street fight or killed in the back by a jealous mistress. Also an electric chair and lonely death on a broken bunk could be used. No heart attack during a tennis match or liposuction could be employed.

16. Suitable Blues names: Sadie, Big Mom or Bessie for women and Joe, Willy, Little Willie or Big Willy for men. People having names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie and Heather cannot sing Blues, no matter how many people they shot in Memphis.

17. Think out a suitable Blues name for yourself. To do this, you need to have a physical disability (blindness, lameness or insanity), name (see above), name of a fruit (lemon, lime or kiwi) and the American president’s name (Jefferson, Johnson or Fillmore). For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Lame Lemon Johnson, Crazy Kiwi Fillmore (well, maybe Kiwi does not really fit here, but with Crazy Fillmore you will be forgiven).

18. Just do not load anyone with stories about how tragic your life is. As long as you have a computer, you won’t be able to sing Blues. Destroy it, it would be better. Burn the whole schmear. Shove an empty bottle of Wild Dog raw vodka against it. Shoot at the point-blank range from the pistol. Or let your Big Girlfriend sit on the device and make a pancake out of it with all her jahoobies.