I’m going to see blues icon Buddy Guy this Friday in Davis. While listening to Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan or Howlin’ Wolf brings me pleasure, blues songs are generally about three things:
1. My baby left me.
2. I wish my baby would leave me.
3. My baby left me; came back and now I wish she would leave again.
I’ve always wanted to play blues guitar, but I’m too lazy to practice. Then I remembered the story of how Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson went down to the crossroads and sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for the ability to play some, well, wicked guitar.
Since the whole selling your soul to the Devil thing is kinda frowned upon at my church, I instead met Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis at the Starbucks at the crossroads of Jefferson and Texas streets and leased my soul to him.
Now I can masterfully play Delta blues, Chicago blues, blues-rock, Jake and Elwood Blues and Blues Clues.
My first CD, a true masterpiece entitled “Suburban Blues,” drops today. My songs explore more than the aforementioned three topics, but like any blues record worth its salt, it has in-depth liner notes that give the background of each song. Here they are:
My lead-off, “Ain’t Afraid of No Baby Goo,” is about how I thought (before my daughter was born) my biggest problem was going to be dealing with the icky fluids and solids that infants produce with regularity. I learned that changing diapers is easy, but dealing with what comes out the other end—wailing, screeching, and crying-- is the hard part.
“My DVR is Full Blues” explores the cataclysmic dilemma of having to choose whether to delete one Raider game or three episodes of “House” to make room for “Survivor: Redemption Island.” My Ry Cooder-like slide solo adds tragic atmosphere.
Ever since I saw the movie “Colors” -- about Southern California street gangs the Bloods (who wore red) and the Crips (who wore blue)—I’ve wondered “What Does a Blood Do When He’s Got Da Blues?” This song doesn’t really answer the question, but has a blistering guitar solo.
When my brothers and I were younger we would pull practical jokes like sending each other magazine subscriptions to Cosmopolitan or Vogue. “Stop Foolin’ with my Netflix Queue” is about how its gone hi-tech. My brother Kelvin hacked into my Netflix account, and I have “Beaches,” “Thelma and Louise” and “Waiting to Exhale” topping my list.
I was working on song ideas with Daily Republic blogger Nick DeCicco (“For Those About to Rock”) and he waxed eloquent about the way corner-piece brownies are better than single-edged brownies, which in turn are better than the freaky, edgeless, chocolaty squares in the middle of the pan. That was the impetus for “No-Account Woman Left Me a No-Edge Brownie.” Nick also plays some mean cowbell on the track.
“Press 1 for English” is an angry song about the frustration of talking to tech support. “I’m as hot as a flambé/Talking to some jerk in Bombay” is my favorite couplet. I know Bombay is now known as Mumbai... but you try rhyming something with that.
“The Sounds of Silence” is my bluesy adaptation of the classic Simon and Garfunkel tune. I sped it up a bit, added some boogie-woogie piano and a phat tenor saxophone, and changed a few of the lyrics. Instead of starting out with “Hello darkness my old friend/It’s time to talk with you again,” I sing: “I’m feeling angry, mad and mean/ Like a bigger, blacker Charlie Sheen.”
The slow-grinding number “No Chunky” reflects the deep psychological trauma I recently experienced when the grocery store was out of chunky peanut butter. In addition to my tasteful B. B. King-esque guitar solo, I’m proud to say that I cleverly rhymed the word “creamy” with Kathy Najimy—the zaftig actress who played Sister Mary Patrick in “Sister Act.” Only I didn’t use the word “zaftig” -- I used “chunky.”
I told you it was a masterpiece.
Reach Fairfield freelance writer and bluesman Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org