How do you beat the blues?
We all have moments in life when we're down, lonely, or just plain sad. It's part of being human. Just as everyone is different, everyone has a unique way of beating the blues.
For anyone who needs a bit of inspiration, a smile, or a friendly pat on the back, Tanya Tucker and ninety-nine friends offer this heartwarming collection of their personal recipes for beating the blues. President George H.W. Bush yells at the television. Loretta Lynn makes herself a fried bologna sandwich. Sir Arthur C. Clarke explores the infinite universe of fractals. NASCAR's Geoff Bodine cleans the house. Seventy celebrities such as Kris Kristofferson, Wynonna Judd, and Garth Brooks and thirty ordinary folks such as a farmer, a private detective, a doctor, and a retired gospel radio-show host share what lifts their spirits and remind us of all the joy life has to offer.
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About the Author
Tanya Tucker was born in Seminole, Texas, and achieved international fame at the age of thirteen when her first single, "Delta Dawn," soared to the top of the charts. Considered to be one of the great song stylists, she has become one of music's most beloved icons. Her recording catalog includes more than a hundred solo and compilation albums; she has been honored with the highest awards country music can offer and has received numerous awards for her work outside music. When she is not on tour she is at her Tennessee farm with her three children: Presley, Grayson, and Layla, as well as assorted dogs, cats, and horses.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter One: The Two-Hour Blues
Any entertainer will tell you that when you get on that tour bus, you sometimes feel you are leaving the problems of the real world behind. You're out there on the road where problems with the plumbing at your house, or the lawn that needs mowing, or the important call you haven't returned are miles away. They'll usually be waiting for you upon your return, but still, it's out of sight, out of mind. But the one thing you can't outrun on the road is the blues. The blues travel fast. They'll catch up.
Getting up onstage and feeling the love of your fans goes a long ways toward holding the blues at bay out there on the road. So does getting a call from an old friend, listening to the radio and hearing a great song, or discovering a new artist whose music you love. The sound of rain on the bus's roof always cheers me up. Sometimes, if it's raining when I come in off the road, I linger on the bus a little longer not to stay out of the rain, just to hear that pitter-patter sound on the roof.
But other times you have to reach down inside yourself and really come up with a powerful solution to the blues. In my case, inspiration comes from my family. My children, of course, always bring me up. A hug, a smile, an "I love you, Mom." And then, I can always look to my parents, to their lives and strengths.
Mother and Daddy came up poor and proud, and raised me to believe in myself, no matter how bad things looked. In the late 1930s, my mother's family, the Cunninghams, moved from Abilene, Texas, to work on a ranch near the New Mexico border, in Gains County, Texas. They worked with the horses and cattle, picked cotton, and tended to the watermelon patches. Then the ranch owners struck oil, and, like so many other Texans, Mother's family started working in the oil fields. It was there that Mother met my father, Beau Tucker. In 1943, the two married. Mother was fifteen years old, but from that day on, she was Daddy's support system. She packed up and moved with him as he chased work all over the Southwest.
When I was nine years old, we drove up to St. George, Utah, where Daddy had heard of jobs in construction. The jobs were there, but it was an unstable, on-again, off-again industry. At one point we were about as poor as a family could get, living in a beat-up trailer and eating government cheese. Then Daddy lost his job, Mama got sick, and we fell a hundred and fifty dollars behind on our rent. One morning Daddy cranked up his old Ford truck and went out to look for work while I stayed home from school to take care of Mama. All of a sudden, there was a knock on the door. I answered it, and two big men in suits burst into the living room and started yelling at Mama about the rent. She tried to explain that Daddy was on the verge of getting another job, but they weren't in a mood to listen. They were in a mood to kick us out.
I yelled and cried, but those men dragged Mama outside, sat her down on the curb, and padlocked the doors to that beat-up trailer. She and I stayed huddled together for two hours before Daddy got home. As it happened, he had found a job, and was able to get a small advance. He rented us a furnished room, and we had a roof over our heads again.
But for two hours I had been as lowdown as I have ever been in my life. I will always remember that feeling, knowing that for the want of a hundred and fifty dollars strangers could leave my mother in her housecoat, sick and coughing, by the side of the road and I couldn't do a damn thing about it.
I started singing professionally that same year. Four years later, at the age of thirteen, I had my first hit record. My family has never wanted for anything since. So when I get the blues over some real or imagined problem, I picture Mama on the curb in St. George, Utah. And that's when my spirits soar in the knowledge that it will never happen again.
So my advice is this: If you've got the blues, look back over your life. Think about other hard times and how you overcame them. Then give yourself a pat on the back.
I promise you'll feel better.
Copyright © 2005 by Tanya Tucker
Table of Contents
1. The Two-Hour Blues Tanya Tucker
2. The Wrong Motorcycle Blues Roseanne
3. Perking Up the Blues Myrtle Todd
4. Sweeping Away the Blues Geoff Bodine
5. How We Beat the Blues George and Barbara Bush
6. The Finite Blues Sir Arthur C. Clarke
7. On the Road Blues James Gregory
8. An Alternative to the Blues Willie Nelson
9. The Walter Mitty Blues Robert Timmerman
10. The Faces of the Blues Gayle Sayers
11. The Backseat Blues Wesley McNair
12. The Late-Night Blues Loretta Lynn
13. The Broken Heart Blues Ian Duncan
14. Two Words for the Blues Eric Burdon
15. The Army Blues James Gordon Bennett
16. The Front Porch Blues Rodney Ammons
17. The Blues and Richard Harris Eva Juel
18. Giving Away the Blues Morgan Fairchild
19. The Waylon Blues Wendy Rodrigue
20. The Helping Hand Blues Brenda Lee
21. The Dark Side Blues David Prowse
22. Rolling Over the Blues Pat Schroeder
23. Laughter and the Blues Burt Reynolds
24. Blues of the Heart Daniel Wolff
25. The Good Medicine Blues George Stevens Jr.
26. The Positive Side of the Blues Gene Pitney
27. Quinnie's Blues Dinah Johnson
28. The One-Time Blues Rita Coolidge
29. Shane Beats the Blues Tim Sandlin
30. Friends Can Beat the Blues Dr. Michael Obenski
31. Beating the Blues Daily Garth Brooks
32. The Cinematic Blues Dan Lauria
33. How Farmers Beat the Blues Dave Stapleton
34. The Insignificant Blues Joan Jett
35. The Blues and the Fiddle Doug Kershaw
36. The Jurassic Blues Tom Rymour
37. The Jack Daniel's Blues Paul Sylbert
38. The Warm Weather Blues "Weird Al" Yankovic
39. Swinging Away the Blues Jean Atwood
40. The High Altitude Blues Andrew Stevenson
41. The Duet Blues Chad & Jeremy
42. Hugging Away the Blues Gretchen Wilson
43. When Friendly Angels Get the Blues Terri Derington
44. Around the Farm Blues George Jones
45. How to Dodge the Blues Terry Kay
46. Planting the Blues Phil Richardson
47. Country Music Beats the Blues Jerry Orbach
48. Three Steps Ahead of the Blues Donna Fargo
49. The Food Blues Dr. Joyce Brothers
50. The Starting Over Blues Kristina Copkov
51. Organizing the Blues Wynonna Judd
52. How to Beat the Blues in L.A. Stephanie Germain
53. The Mystery of the Blues Thomas Patrick Straw
54. The Creative Blues Tommy James
55. The Broken-Down Bus Blues Gerald Williams
56. Cooking Up the Blues Ty Herndon
57. The Espionage Blues Sherry Sullivan
58. The Healing Blues Jesse Colin Young
59. Jade's Message for the Blues Helen Vroon
60. How Horses Lick the Blues Lynn Anderson
61. Partying Away the Blues Troy Body
62. The Polka Blues Cure Steve Popovich
63. The Other Side of the Blues Judy Henske
64. Riding Out the Blues Nicole McBreairty
65. Dousing the Blues Bobby Braddock
66. The Night Jimmy Smith Lit Up the Blues Porter Fox
67. The Creepy Blues Taylor Dayne
68. The Writing Blues Jeffrey A. Carver
69. The Rainy Blues Delbert McClinton
70. The Sheltering Blues Laura Gilpin
71. The Starry Night Blues John Lappen
72. The Vietnam Blues Shad Meshad
73. Honky-tonk, Muzik, and the Blues Big & Rich
74. The Yorkshire Blues Chris Simpson
75. The Lawn Mower Blues Little Richard
76. The Map-Crease Blues David Logan
77. The Unbeatable Blues Kris Kristofferson
78. Dissecting the Blues Paul Gahlinger
79. The Friendly Blues Billy Bob Thornton
80. Fly-Fishing Through the Blues Macye Lavinder Maher
81. Outriding/Outplaying the Blues Bret Michaels
82. The Ageless Blues Patsi Bale Cox
83. The Texas Hold 'Em Blues Daniel Negreanu
84. The Sunday Blues Cathie Pelletier
85. Outjumping the Blues Charles Barkley
86. The Swamp Blues Carl Hileman
87. Blues for Sale Robert Westwood
88. The Blues Is the Blues Jerry Lee Lewis
89. The Unemployed Blues Jay Heckman
90. The Sidecar Blues Wally Lamb
91. The Scam Letter Blues Brad Christensen
92. The Boring Blues Kinky Friedman
93. The Four-Legged Rescue Blues Nancy Parker Simons
94. The Positive Blues Rocky Blier
95. Aldo and the Blues Hal Kant
96. Burning Down the Blues Blake Shelton
97. The Blue Heaven Blues José Eber
98. Escaping the Blues Ray "Boom Boom" MancinI
99. The Corner of Joy and Peace Blues Tammy Faye Messner
100. The Tucker Children Beat the Blues