I Got Them Down and Dirty Rice Pickin’ Filipino Blues

Culture is where you find it, and in the United States, there is a deep and rich legacy of black America originating in slave camps in the Southeastern states in the 1800’s, spreading across the nation in gospel songs, gathering in a few big cities where the guitar strummin’, banjo pickin’ masters of music, free but broke and locked out by white America, would share their misery and memories of poverty, mean bosses, drinkin’ and nasty women.
Mississippi John Hurt

The blues. Early 1900’s.

White misery – for a lot of whites were poor and uneducated in those days, too – was found in folk music; Woody Gutherie and eventually his hippie son Arlo “sittin’ down on a country fence post, sittin’ down watchin’ trucks go by”. Fused with country ballads, black and white America joined in the color-blind, colorful explosion of rock and roll music in the 50’s and 60’s, capturing the pounding guitar and drum rhythms correct for our time, changing, learning, experimenting, growing.
Anything but static.
Here’s what the blues is all about, an iffn’ you gets it, you be a travelin’ man f’ sho:
Definition of the Blues 
1. Most Blues begin with: “Woke up this morning…”
 2. “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, “I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town.”
3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes – sort of: “Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound.”
4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch…ain’t no way out.
5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don’t travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Princess Cruises and state-sponsored motor pools ain’t even in the running. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.
6. Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin’ to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, “adulthood” means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Vermont or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don’t get no rain.
8. A man with male pattern baldness ain’t the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg ’cause you were skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg ’cause a alligator be chompin’ on it is.
9. You can’t have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the service entrance, or sit by the dumpster.
10. Good places for the Blues: a. highway, b. jailhouse, c. empty bed, d. bottom of a whiskey glass
11. Bad places for the Blues: a. Nordstrom’s, b. gallery openings, c. Ivy League institutions, d. golf courses
12. No one believes it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, ‘less it’s old, and you slept in it.
13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if: a. you’re older than dirt, b. you’re blind/deaf/etc., c. you shot a man in Memphis, d. you can’t be satisfied. No, if: a. you have all your teeth, b. you were once blind but now can see, c. the man in Memphis lived, d. you have a 401K or trust fund
14. Blues is not a matter of color. It’s a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston maybe. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.
15. If you ask for water and your darlin’ gives you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are: a. cheap wine, b. whiskey or bourbon, c. muddy water, d. black coffee. The following are NOT Blue beverages: a. perrier, b. soy milk, c. Snapple, d. Slim Fast
16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot. You can’t have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.
17. Some Blues names for women: a. Sadie, b. Big Mama, c. Bessie, d. Fat River Dumplin’
18. Some Blues names for men: a. Joe, b. Willie, c. Little Willie, d. Big Willie
19. Persons with names like Kaitlyn, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can’t sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
20. Blues Name Starter Kit: First Name – name of infirmity(Blind, Mute, Lame, etc.), Plus – name of food or animal (Lemon, Sweetpea, ‘Gator), Plus – last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, Clinton, etc.). For example: Pegleg Lemon Johnson, Lame Kyle Clinton, or Blind Dog Jefferson.
21. I don’t care how well off you are. If you own a computer, it must only function as a table for certain items….. Ripple Wine, Red Man chew, or ‘leavins’ from the dumpster behind your local “Chickin ‘n’ Biskits.”
Oh, and don’t forget to flat your thirds and sevenths… 
Comments
7 Responses to “I Got Them Down and Dirty Rice Pickin’ Filipino Blues”
  1. GOOD – Persons with names like Kaitlyn, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.BETTER – You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.BEST – Hard times in Vermont or Seattle is probably just clinical depressionArguable point: Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. As Albert King used to sing "You know you got the blues when …."

  2. I think this was written before Tiger Woods got thrown under the bus of public condemnation. He definitely can sing the blues, as what happened to him is very much like:Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it . . .

  3. Attila says:

    Buddy Guy has a song just about what you are writing about called "Please don't Tell me about the blues." Criticizing blues musicians.Yeah, you're a down and dirty blues man You play blues on blue guitar According to the news man As far as blues goes you a star I'll admit you gettin' down there But I'm down much deeper then you areYeah, you sing those songs of sorrow But to me you just don't sound real You say you're down enough to borrow I must be down enough to steal Now the blues ain't what you're singin' The blues is what I feelYou tell me your love light is dimmin' And how your old lady cheats You go backstage with all the women While I go back out on the street Well, you know that you're a winnner And you tell me you were born to lose But please, please, please, don't tell me about the bluesYou tell it like you're barefoot And you're wearin' those hondred dollar shoes Yeah, you can shuck and jive me all you wanna But please, please don't tell me about the bluesYeah, you tell me you a poor man While you flashin' those ruby rings But on a million dollar tour Man, you can flash more than a goddamn thing But it's me who's payin' my dues So please, man, don't tell me about the bluesI'm curious if the Sugarcane cutters have their own music equal to blues. They work 80php a day (Negros) and work in flip flops. Cotton pickers in the Mississippi Delta must had a similar lifestyle back then when the blues was born.

  4. Wonderful selection. One guy (Buddy Guy) out-blues-ing another. There are so many sub-dialects, I don't think there is a common spiritual, "hard workin'" type music here. Everyone sings, generally Pop songs, as far as I can tell. Every once in a while a popular local song breaks out ("Waray, Waray"). Fiestas feature street dancing to drums. Other than that, I think we have to lean on MB or others to give us instruction. It is a good question, as the parallels are there. Hard work for very little money.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Seeing this makes me think Filipinos should get in the Blues act:http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/30/world/asia/philippines-pagpag-slums/index.htmlWoke up this mornin'Eatin' my pagpag-PF

  6. PF, I saw that article yesterday, fortunately, after lunch. Woke up this morning'Eatn' my pagpagyessah eatn' m'pagpagwarn't sweet enufso I eyed mah dog

  7. Attila says:

    Thanks Anonymous for the video. This kind of differences between classes would not happen in Europe. There would be a war or unrest and protest. This condition would not be tolerated by the people. The government in the Philippines was always able to keep people confused about labor movement and social ideas. They can get away with labeling a Catholic priests as a communist. The Filipino priest in New York's San Lorenzo church told me that he was jailed in the Philippines as a communist collaborator even though he had nothing to do with them. He was just criticizing the government. Where I came from every one knows that it is not possible to be christian and communist at the same time. It is an oxymoron. In my reality it is the Catholic church that becomes the symbol of our fight against the communist. Out Hero is cardinal Mindszenty who stood against the communist and was not accepting any compromise with them.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zsef_MindszentyIt is stupefying to me to see that priests or almost anyone can be labeled as communist for criticizing the government or just trying to do something to fight social injustice. I'm having the blues about this.

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