Reprinted from 12th January 2011
Blues music started in the Untied States of America when Blind Big Willy from way down somewhere else fell into a dumpster and came out clutching a ukulele with three broken strings and a bottle of Drano, which does something to the voice but I am not sure what.
Blind Big Willy could only count to three, so that settled the question of which chords to play. Almost every blues song begins with “woke up this morning”, followed by a litany of daily catastrophes that is so inevitable one wonders if waking up is in fact a bad career move. The Blues should have quit whilst it was still ahead…but instead it developed into a dubious art form, requiring its exponents to (a) shoot a man in Memphis, (b) hitch a ride on the Midnight Special and (c) get done left by their woman on a regular basis, before (d) dying of consumption, a broken heart, and a lifetime of luck, all of it bad….
At this stage it was brought to Australia by a travelling snakeoil salesman, where, in Melbourne at least, it was enthusiastically adopted by Madge from Altona, Robbo the postman from Preston and several people mostly called Eric who saw it as a preferable alternative to paid employment. Disguising their middle class origins with such names as Fat Mama from Altona, Freddie the Frontloader and the blind drunk boys of Upper East Doncaster, they would take it in turns to bemoan their fate and cadge drinks from an unsuspecting public due to the inadequacy of their non specific performing arts grants, received on a weekly basis in exchange for forged documentation suggesting they were actually applying for work in the field of brain surgery or some such.
Eventually I will definitely attend something. Maybe, a jam session. Maybe you should too...