11. No-Holds Barred Blues

Michael Dyer


The day before I wrote this new song I had been playing around with diminished chords on the guitar. Diminished chords are unique because there are only 4 possible ones (unlike other chords, for which there are twelve possibilities. For example, there are 12 major chords and 12 minor chords). As a result of there being only four, the diminished chords make great transitional chords – one can move from one chord to practically any other chord just by inserting a diminished chord. They also almost always sound bluesy (or jazzy), so playing them made me think of writing a blues song. But I had no musical instrument nearby, so I decided to write the lyrics for a to-be-composed-later blues song. I thought of how "blues" could also refer to a color and that gave me the idea of having a blues song that would mention many other colors (and so this song has the colors: red, green, sapphire, orange, black, white, magenta, tan, gray, brown, gold and silver). But if the person is "blue" then they are depressed, probably because they no longer get to see those other colors. Loss of access to colors could happen in prison. Once I had this core idea, the lyrics kind of wrote themselves within just a few hours. I then came up with a bluesy melody and only later found chords to match that melody.


NO-HOLDS BARRED BLUES Michael Dyer © 2009 Ain't got no red wine, Ain't got no green grass. Ain't got no sapphire sun. Just an orange jumpsuit outcast. Know what I got? The Stripe City blues. A black-barred, cell-in-hell, Upstate, No-holds barred blues. Ain't got no white wine. No magenta flowers. Ain't got no tan shoes. Just passing them gray hours. Know what I got? The Slammer blues. A black-barred, cell-in-hell, The Big House, No-holds barred blues. Ain't got no silver coin. Ain't got no golden ring. No pink tenderloin. Just rust-brown self-loathing. Know what I got? The lock-down blues. A black-barred, cell-in-hell, Stay-in-solitaire-when-you-dare, No-holds barred blues. No-holds barred blues. Ain't got no saffron rice. No ocher or chartreuse soap. Just a colorless life, With no rainbow. No hope. Know what I got? The correctional blues. A black-barred, cell-in-hell, Maximum, No-holds barred blues. No-holds barred blues.

Join Michael Dyer Music Email List