The Blues Excuse - South-East Queensland Blues Band
Paul Whiteman, King of Jazz
Great Blues Scams
The Blues Excuse draws a part of our inspiration from the Blues Ethic which developed around the turn of last century.

Most early blues performers were negroes. And they had big problems getting any exposure in the USA at that time because of entrenched racism in the music publishing business.

But in 1919, a blues performer called Crooked Leg Brown took advantage of this situation to pull off one of the greatest scams in blues music history.

Crooked Leg paid a drunken white cotton farmer 10c to pose for a picture, then paid another 5c to buy a copy of the sheet music for "St Louis Blues" (a well-known tune in Alabama at the time) which he neatly copied onto a blank score sheet.

Then he concocted a biography for a fictitious character he named "Paul Whiteman, King of Jazz" and shelled out another 10c for a post office box and some stamps to mail the whole lot off to a well-known New York music publishing house.

The idea of a Southern "King of Jazz" (handily called "Whiteman") singing a negro blues song galvanized the music publishers and soon caught the imagination of Americans nation-wide.

Within a short time the Whiteman cover of St Louis Blues shot to the top of what passed for pops in those days and fat royalty cheques began filling Crooked Leg's Alabama PO box.

By the time the whole fraud was exposed 6 months later - to the great embarrassment of everyone involved - Crooked Leg had turned his 25c investment into around $25,000 (a big sum in those days!) and taken to the hills.

For many years afterwards, this wonderful scam was immortalised in the phrase "You're a real Whiteman"  (which can still be heard in many old Hollywood films to this day).

Blues Fact
A Blues Way Of Life
Sometimes people want to join The Blues Excuse. Naturally, we test them to make sure they really understand what the blues are all about. Do you understand the blues yourself? Are you living a proper blues lifestyle? Try our quick test:
How To Write A Blues Song
Blues are about basic stuff like "woke up this morning" or "I got a good woman." But the blues also needs trouble. So if you've got a good woman then you'd better stick something bad in next (eg: "I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town"). Then keep repeating that line until you think of something that rhymes. For example:

I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
Yeah, I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like an alligator and he weighs 500 pounds


Blues Stereotypes
The blues are not about limitless choice. In fact, the blues are butt-deep in stereotypes. For example:
  • Transportation: Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. (Not BMWs. Or Volvos. Ever.) Other acceptable blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin' shoes also play a major part in the blues lifestyle.
  • Age is also rigidly controlled. Only adults can sing the blues. Blues adulthood means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
  • Acceptable blues colors are black and blue. Colors that don't belong in the blues are violet, beige and mauve.
  • Blues attire: No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit. Unless you happen to be an old black man.
Blues Locations
You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Port Douglas. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City still get good blues mileage. But hard times in Noosa or Margaret River are just a little depression. In the blues, it's always New Orleans that everybody goes "all the way to." But the French Quarter is a blues no-no. The only hard times there are when the ATM is down.

You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall (the lighting is wrong). But good places for the blues include the highway, the jailhouse or an empty bed.

Blues Rights
Do you have the right to sing the blues? Yes if:
  • You're blind
  • You shot a man in Memphis
  • You can't be satisfied

But the answer is no if:
  • You have a trust fund
  • You were once blind, but now can see
  • You're deaf
  • You're dead
Blues Food and Drink
It's been well established that if you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other blues beverages are:
  • Cheap wine
  • Any kind of whiskey
  • Muddy water

Blues beverages are not::
  • UDL premixers
  • Bailey's or Midori
  • Cafe latte

Although Rubber Biscuits and the Wish Sandwich are famous blues snacks, better stick to common blues grub:
  • Greasy food
  • Fatback and beans
  • Kraft cheddar

Blues food is never a:
  • Club sandwich
  • Sushi
  • Crème brule
  • Quiche
Blues Life and Death
If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. But it's not a blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment. Short of actual death, "fixin' to die" is well regarded in the blues.
Blues Names
Some good blues names for women:
  • Sadie
  • Big Mama
  • Bessie

Some good blues names for men:
  • Joe, Big Joe, Little Joe
  • Willie, Little Willie
  • Lightnin'

Persons with names like Jason, Kylie, Tabitha, Alexis or Gwenyth will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter now many men they shoot in Memphis.

How To Create A Blues Name
Mix and match from the following.
  • Nick name: physical infirmity (blind, cripple, asthmatic)
  • First name: add a fruit (Lemon, lime, melon etc)
  • Last name: a US president (Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Roosevelt).

Eg: Blind Melon Jefferson