The Talkin’ CTA Blues

Blues Song Week

Here’s a song that I wrote about 3 years ago, I think. It’s about an actual event. I think most blues songs are about actual events.

Now, this is a talkin blues. It’s called “The Talkin’ CTA Blues.” The talkin blues style has been around for a long long long time…songs like “The East Texas Talkin’ Blues” and a host of others. Talkin blues were more recently made famous by Woody Guthrie, who wrote about a thousand talkin blues songs about every subject. Fishing. Dams. War. Children. Fighting. Death. Scabs. Rats. Heroes. Hats. Then Bob Dylan went and made them even more famous, but didn’t write nearly as many as Woody or as people probably think.

Anyway, my song is about the Chicago Transit Authority. This makes it a regional song because not many people outside Chicago will understand the event going on or many of the references to specific peculiarities that occur in the Chicago subways and el stations (or the city at large). Maybe someone from New York might understand. Or San Francisco. Or London or Paris. Or maybe everyone would understand at least the theme of the song. Or maybe just get a laugh out of it, cause it’s a pretty funny song and situation.

Here’s what the Blue Line looks like in the subway tunnel at the Clark and Lake station, for those of you who have never been to Chicago.


This song, though, is set deep underground, near the Grand station, a little further west.

So, to get on with it, talkin blues are just blues songs about pretty much anything. They do not need to have a defined rhyme scheme or even a hard-nosed pattern. They just kinda go. They come out and then they’re gone. It’s like a conversation. The CTA Blues is me talkin with my old guitar and my mouth harp. Just burpin along. Rollin and bumpin. Takin a train ride.

Talkin’ CTA is gonna be on an album I’m working on right now called “It’s Chicago!” It’s going to be a collection of songs (probably 5 or 6) I’ve written about this sloggin city that I live in. I should have the recording done (hopefully) by the end of this week. Then I gotta send it off to get printed up all professional. It’ll be on sale for 5 bucks when it’s all done.

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