Compiled by Lyle Lofgren, Sept. 2, 2002


Q: How do you identify a true blues song?
A: Look at the title. If it includes the word "blues" anywhere, it's a true blues piece.

Q: If you don't know the title, how do you identify a blues when you hear it?
A: Inability to understand the words is a good clue.

Q: How many bars are in a true blues piece?
A: What's a bar?

Q: What's a bar?
A: Thet thar is whut Davy Crockett uster hunt.

Q: What's the time signature of a true blues?
A: Usually 4/4, sometimes 2/4 or 3/4. but hardly ever in 7/5 time.

Q: What's the blues chord progression in a verse?
A: Well, there are some tonics (I chords) and then sometimes some IVs in the middle and usually a V near the end, and the vocal usually ends on the tonic, but the guitar might go somewhere else.

Q: How do you know when a blues piece ends?
A: By the satisfying feeling you get when the accompanying instrument plays the following notes (in key of G, for example): D-E-D-E-F.

Q: Is it true that the blues ain't nothing but a good man feelin' bad?
A: Sometimes. Sometimes it's a bad man feelin' good, and sometimes it's an inconsequential person feelin' inconsequential.

Q: What was the origin of the blues?
A: Like the old time fiddler said when he was informed that Napoleon Boneypart never crossed the Rocky Mountains in all the ice and snow, "scholars differ on this."

Q: Who made a living off the blues?
A: As with most other human endeavors, everyone in the field made money from the music except those who originally played and sang it. Cows shouldn't expect to get paid for their milk.

Q: Is there a difference between singing the blues and being "blue?"
A: Yes. If you're truly depressed, you don't feel like singing.

Q: Are the blues about failed human relationships?
A: Sometimes. Sometimes they're about milkin' 'em in the morning and milkin' 'em in the evening.

Q: Do the blues travel?
A: Yes, a lot better than Guiness Stout.

Q: Do blues need electrical amplification?
A: No. Before REA electrified rural america, those old bluesmen in Mississippi enlivend juke joints with kerosene-powered amplifiers. Some people still think those machines produce a hotter sound.

Q: Is there a racial subtext to African-American blues?
A: Is a frog's patootie watertight?

Q: Are there any ill effects caused by listening to the blues?
A: The only effect noted by the medical profession is Bluesfan Palsy, which consists of a feeble head-nodding motion in time with the beat, or sometimes not in time with the beat.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring blues musicians?
A: Abstain from sex, alcohol, dope, gambling, tobacco, junk food, and bad companions. You'll live longer. The downside is that you'll have to steal someone else's material, because you won't have any of your own.