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Woman done left him, didn't say why, now all he does all day, is cry-y-y...

“I woke up this morning, yeah, and I went back to bed. Got that funny kinda feelin', like I got broken glass in my underwear, and a herd of wild pigs is tryin' to chew of my head... hm hm yea yea hm...”

~ "Weird Al" Yankovic on the blues

Blues is a genre of music mainly developed from jazz, heavy metal, R&B, soul, rock, and hip hop. The Blues is a kinda feeling you get when things maybe ain't going so good, like maybe you just lost your job, and maybe your woman been steppin' out on you, or maybe you just got your penis removed in freak cheese grating accident. Now, some bright fellow took those feelings and picked up a guitar and started playin' the blues and he just let them blues out into the world, and dogged if he didn't feel a little better. Though it is currently uncertain who the first person was to do this, it is believed that it was that Ronald McDonald dude, the master of the guitar.


Many traditional blues follow a twelve-bar construction. The first three bars are the Blue Hog Bar in New Orleans, Gritty Sam's Alamo Pub in Shreveport, and the Fecund Rabbit Tofu Bar in San Francisco. Once a bluesman has performed at these three bars he or she is said to have "seen the elephant" or "muddied the water", phrases which we confess baffle us no end. The next seven bars can be Mars Bars, Hersheys, Milky Ways, or anything with dark chocolate. The last two must be metal bars, but heavy metal music is also acceptable.

Typically blues guitarists use three cords, although their guitars often have six or even twelve strings...and electric guitars use an electrical cord as well. Perhaps blues players hang the guitar from the three cords. We don't know for sure.


Blues lyrics resemble haiku in that they have three lines. However in blues the first two lines are similar, and the third provides the punchline and nature imagery so revered by haiku lovers. Here are some samples of blues lyrics.

Even European-trained classical guitarists like Mississippi John Hurt (left) and Skip James incorporated blues licks in their playing.

Just Like A Rolling Hound Dog Blues

Like a old hound dog I gots some fleas in mah fur
Jes like a hound dog I gots some fleas in mah fur
I got 'em from my baby, I dunno who gived 'em to her.
I gonna buy some powder, powder for these fleas
Gonna buy me some powder for these goddam fleas
Sprinkle it on mah baby from her head to her flea-bit knees.
I got the blues so bad I'm rolling on the floor
Flea-bite blues so bad got me rolling on the floor
I gots a mojo flea collar but it just don't work no more.

First Degree Blues

My baby woked me up this morning
My baby woked me up this morning
And she done it by lighting me on fire.
My hair is burning up right now
Oh lordy my hair is burning right now
And here come mah baby with some gasoline.
Ouch ouch ow ow ouch oh ouch ow ow
Ouch ouch lordy ouch oh ouch ow ow
Somebody call FireMed right away please.

"First Degree Blues" is an example of a non-rhyming blues, a form often composed extemporare or, as a bluesman might put it, "real quick like yo' ass is on fire."


“Had we not made the black man sad, we would never have this wonderful silence filler.”

~ American plantation owners on The Sympathy Plea


Now, the Blues mostly started up in the South, with slaves singing their sad songs out in the fields to make the day go by. That got hooked up with Engligh ballads, and what you got outta that was your basic structure of seventeen chords usually divided up into a 56-bar line. The Blues started out a lot like folk songs with guitar and maybe a banjo, but after a while when it got to the big cities, people started using occarinas and shit like that. Eventually, it went into bigger bands, which after a while ended up just being the rhythm section (drums, timbales, viola and piano), because a big band was expensive to haul around. Also, once they developed ladies, you didn't need a whole big band to be heard above a big crowd.

Pre-war blues[edit]

In the closing decades of the 19th century American Negroes technically had their freedom but in reality they still labored under a repressive, brutal musical system called vaudeville. In a desperate reaction against the seemingly endless punishment of corny joke-songs and sappy music hall ballads the downtrodden "darkies" took their cardboard guitars, borrowed some harps from the Jews, and retreated to the fields and alleyways. These people included guitar legend Robert Johnson. There they created the musical form we know as The Blues.

Early Blues Artists[edit]

In the fall of 1893 a baby boy came into the world in Couchman, East Texas, holding a guitar in one hand and a live octopus in the other. This was Blind Lemon Jefferson, and his mother was known thereafter as Astonished Lemon Jefferson. She never did figure out how that octopus got up there.

Ma Rainey and her sometimes man Beethoven discussing Beethoven's "Symphony on a Fifth". Rainey suggested syncopating the finale, and adding a few hollers in the slow movement.

Knowing he would only live 35 years, Blind Lemon set to playing the blues right away. He wrote such classic blues songs as "Matchbox Car Blues" and the poignant "Dry South End Blues" before he was toilet trained. One of his greatest compositions is "See That My Grave Is Tidied Up", later popularized by Clarence Gatemouth Brown as "See That My Teeths Is Kept Clean". When asked about his peculiar nickname, Blind Lemon would fix the questioner with a glare and say, "You ever seen a goddam lemon that weren't blind?"

Another early blues singer was Ma Rainey, who once unwrapped a bedroll with Beethoven. She started out singing vaudeville but secretly despised it and would go home and howl down-and-dirty songs like "Dead Drunk Blues" and "Shave 'Em Dry Blues". The latter written after an unfortunate accident with a soapy straight razor ended in the decapitation of all four members of the Tub Jug Washboard Band.

Blind Blake was born William Blake in London and only converted to Negroism in 1897 when he moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Blake had a permanent case of the DTs and saw visions all his life. After finishing the engravings for Jerusalem he wrote "Early Morning Blues" as a memorial to his years as a white Briton.

In the spring of 1911, a wee lil' baby was born on a plantation in Mississippi. He found a guitar lying in the field there, and he picked it up. His name was Robert Johnson. ittle did he know that he would be the awesomest of all guitarists, even better than Led Zeppelin or Bob Dylan. Robert "No-Nick" Johnson played such low-down blues that everyone was afraid to give him a nickname. He was a Mississippi-born bluesman and womanizer who met his end drinking from a bottle of poisoned whiskey, smoking TNT, and chewing dynamite even though that was a verse from someone else's song.

Modern R&B[edit]

All R, no B.

Musical impact[edit]

Mutter, wie ich liebe dich, wie ich liebe dich.

From "Rhapsody in Blues" by Blind Fred and Lemon Ira Gherkin to "Fahr'n Fahr'n Fahr'n auf der Autobahn Blues" by Blind Lemon Kraftwerk to "Sanitation" by Blind Lemon Ulrich it seems that almost every modern musical genre owes something to the great blues artists like Robert Johnson, Blind Crocodile Hunter and Muddy Amoebiasis Waters. For example, the "First Degree Blues" quoted above inspired James "Hot Flashes" Hetfield's self-ignition onstage at Metallica's 1992 Montreal concert, although fans were disappointed when Hetfield stopped the song after receiving only second-degree burns.

Legendary artists like Elvis Parsley, Buddy Holly, and Luciano Pavorati began their careers singing 12-bar blues. The bands Cream and Led Zeppelin — arguably the first super-groups (i.e, those vulnerable only to Kryptonite) — played blues numbers along with their more famous electric polka music. Ozzie Osbourne famously performed "Dead Drunk Blues" onstage in Liverpool, but muffed the third verse when he bit his own head off.

Great Contemporary Blues Artists[edit]

Among modern blues artists we cannot ignore Elton John, who was knighted by BB King and now goes by the moniker "Blind Sir Elton". Here he is seen performing "Dianie's Holler", written after Princess Diana's unfortunate experience with her robotic car.
  • BB King, born Prince Albert King, followed Blind Blake's lead and emigrated from Britain to the USA. He converted to Negroism in 1947 and with his curvaceous assistant Lucille has been performing the blues ever since.
  • Junior Wells, born Senior Hoodoo Blackmore in Memphis, and born again three months later in Tuscaloosa as Amos Dynamite Wells, is famed for his harmonica playing. He started out playing for Buddy Guy's band in the "reefer bars" and slaughterhouse pubs of Chicago -- a tough road to blues fame.
  • Clarence Gatemouth Brown made over 30 records. A sampling of his records includes most solos played on a Gibson Firebird, most blues concerts in the Soviet Union, and deepest voice in the "real skinny drink of water" weight class.
  • John Lee Hooker began his singing career when he heard his mama and papa talking. His mama said, "You got to let that boy boogie-woogie. It's in him and it gots to come out." Hooker recounts this story in his 9-volume memoir "Boogie Chillun: A la Recherche du Temps Perdu".
  • Muddy "Amebiasis" Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, took his stage name from the Mighty Mississippi River and the intestinal troubles which so often afflict those who drink from the turgid brown flood.

“I think I'm 'bout to pass a kidney stone! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

~ Muddy Waters on drinking muddy waters

  • Marva "Marvalous" Wright stands hips and thighs wide of other female blues singers. There ain't no mistaken this hot mama of the blues, and we at Uncyclopedia crave to handfeed her some spicy crawfish in the inner sanctum of her own studio.

Types of Blues[edit]

There are two varieties of blue in common use today, known as the Oxford and Cambridge blues.

Oxford blue:   
Cambridge blue:   

Many other shades of blue have been proposed, though none have been widely used outside the nail varnish industry. This has led some analysts to postulate the existence of a highly secretive Colour Cartel which aims to keep prices high via artificial restrictions on the number and variety of hues available to the general public.

Thanks for the flag idea, a light-blue top and dark-blue bottom. I may use it for my micronation, the Republic of the Blue people. The location of this new country will be in San Francisco or wherever the political fringe gather.

See also[edit]