I’d Rather Sing the Blues…than write a misery blog!

I don’t write much personal stuff on this blog.  Someone recently asked me why not and I said: “Because I don’t really want to publish my personal life on the Internet.”

Yet I enjoy reading blogs that get inside people’s lives. A poetry friend here in Brighton has just started a new blog called Swenglish. It’s her 30th birthday project.  Instead of having a big party, she’s visiting 30 English and 30 Swedish friends this year and writing about the visits to help her decide whether she should stay in England or move back to Sweden – where she’s from.

I read her blog and think: What a good idea! How come I don’t blog about things like that?

…because I prefer to put it in my poetry or music, or learn songs written by others that express something I feel.  Singing is the most satisfying form of self-expression I’ve tried yet!  And often, someone else has written a song that says it perfectly.

One the first blues songs I ever learned was Memphis Slim‘s  “Everyday I have the blues”.  I love that song and love singing it, and singing it makes me feel good.

Singing it makes me feel like I belong.   Singing it makes me feel connected.

It tells the story of my life and at the same time connects me.  I feel connected with the musicians who are playing with me, we are together and on time.  I feel connected with the audience who I can see tapping their feet and swaying in their seats.  I feel connected with the writer of the song and all the great (and not so great) blues singers who have ever sung it.

I sang it last week at a jazz jam and the audience loved it.  Who cares if it tells a hard luck story?  It makes you feel good!  The song says this is how it is, and so what!  I’m gonna sing about it – and in that way make myself feel better.

Here’s Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra!

After wards, I was talking with someone in the audience and he remarked that blues songs have depressing lyrics – and I said, yeah, but anybody who sings and plays the blues will tell you that singing about it makes them feel better.

James Brown – Mr. Funk himself sang it!

Hey, we moved the first time when I was 4 months old; I went to 3 schools in my first year of school, 15 schools for 12 years of education, and 3 universities/colleges for 1 degree, so just like the song says, I’ve been packin’ my suitcase and movin on down the line all my life!

…so Louise, if you decide to go back to Sweden, maybe this song will help you pack your bags.

If you didn’t like any of those other versions, maybe you’ll like this Carlos Santana version…way funkier than JB’s

And the next time someone tells me they don’t like the blues, well…I’ll send them to this page to start their education!

  • Singing (fosterwee.wordpress.com)

4 thoughts on “I’d Rather Sing the Blues…than write a misery blog!

Add yours

  1. I like the way you feel connected to everyone whey you sing—the song writer, the band, the audience members tapping their feet. It must be how I feel about writing. What a wonderful way of expressing it. I’ve never thought of it like that! 🙂

    1. Glad you got that from that post Jenn, because that’s the point I was trying to make. By the way, I’m kinda curious – as an American when you think of blues music, what’s the first song and first artist that come to mind?

      1. I think of New Orleans. Louie Armstrong. BB King from Memphis, TN. Didn’t Janice Joplin sing the blues? Daddy was just telling me about Etta James this morning. Her quote was, “I sing the blues but my life isn’t blue.”
        I’m originally from Kentucky. And we’re big into Bluegrass. It’s very different from the Blues, but what I grew up with. Are you familiar with it? I like the instruments. And Alison Krauss. Her voice is so soothing. My favorite of hers is ‘New Favorite’. (Great video btw.)

      2. Yeah that’s much the same as what I think of, also Delta blues and Chicago Electric blues. And yes, I think of blue grass as a different style of music – a folk genre rather than blues. Etta James was definitely a blues singer, though perhaps labeled RnB or Soul more often than Blues.

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