Blues Singer

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Blues Singer[1]
Somewhere Out There
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, 55 minutes
Preceded by: A Call In The Night (Remix)
Followed by: Philosophy

There was a time I was a blues singer.

Blues Singer is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Somewhere Out There. It was originally broadcast on 01/12/1997.


Joe tells us about being a blues singer: how he sang, played the guitar, the images and feelings that informed him.

3:10: Joe recalls the cheap hotels he stayed in, the dives he played in, the people in his audience.

4:30: Joe remembers the time he was charged with murder.

6:20: Joe tells of the time he was in grocery store. The clerk wouldn't take his groceries out to his truck, so Joe trashed the place and set the gas pumps on fire.

9:10: Joe recalls a party in his hotel room. The manager asked him to quiet down. Joe drowned him in the toilet.

11:50: Joe expatiates on what life is like.

16:20: Joe tells about being a Baptist minister. His services were loud and wild. The mayor visits, asks him to make them quieter. When he won't the mayor offers him a new location in an old barn 3 miles out of town. When he refuses his church burns down. Joe kills the mayor with an axe, hops a train to Memphis.

25:30: Joe's been trimming his beard with a hole punch. He dangles holy verses on strings run through the holes. He asks why there is no justice or peace. A voice is unsympathetic.

30:50: 'I have seen wine turn to water, fishes turn to loaves. I have seen the auricle only to retreat to the ventricle. I have seen the great ashtray at the end of the world…'[1]

31:50: 'Bent by life's cares and woes I envy the lot of Eskimos.'[2]


'No. Bent by life's cares and woes I wish that I had been born an Episcopalian.

'I wish I could dance and sing and not be shamed by the clumsiness of my feet.
'I remember how Maureen Best laughed when I asked her out for a date after class.
'My love is like the morning dew. Her smile is like a golden shower.
'If the tinkling music of your laugh were not so annoying I'd still be on West 88th Street.
'I woke up this morning feeling so grim but I put my pants where my shirt should have been.'[3]

34:50: Beachcombing in Bali


'You got that wild lookin think that make me want a shout

'come on baby why don't you pull it on out?
'You make me feel like an alligator.
'Let's do it now - forget about later.
'We'll go to a movie or maybe a bar.
'Come on baby just hop in my car.
'There's a flick on Broadway with some movie star -
'what's his name anyway.
'I read about him in the Enquirer: he was doing something to somebody.
'I know a little place called OJD's:
'they got fine burritos and smokin' black cheese,
'crisp fried chicken and collard greens,
'mashed potatoes and lima beans,
'a meatball sandwich, a pizza pie,
'pickle, tomatoes, and a turkey thigh.

'Hey, honey, get in the closet and close the door:
'I don't want to see you anymore.
'Let my fingers do the walking and let my eyeballs rest.
'We'll snuggle by the golf clubs you know I'm best.
'Hey baby what's that hangin off the wall?
'It sure smells funny and it's eight feet tall.
'I got me a gun but don't be afraid - I just have it for protection'[1][3]

38:20: Joe rides the rods like a hobo, tells us how great the hobo life is.[2]

45:30: Joe tells us he sees a great man when he looks in the mirror, goes into detail. He blames a conspiracy that kept him from achieving greatness.

47:50: Recalling his life as a blues singer Joe recalls all the substances he abused: whiskey, valium, amyl nitrate, Valium, rubbing alcohol, shoe polish, sterno, floor wax, kerosene… but he sang the blues beautifully.

49:40: He tried rehab.

51:30: Joe remembers when he had an apartment in Oregon.[4]

52:00: Joe wants to be 'to be a rumpled pipe-smoking bachelor'.[4]

Legacy Synopsis
  • Joe is a blues singer.
  • The music of daily life and car accidents.
  • He accidentally kills a woman with a knife, burns down a store, and drowns a hotel manager.
  • "Life is . . ." Joe is a preacher and the mayor tries to shut him down.
  • Nonsense verse against a rhythmic backdrop.
  • "But I have grown a beard and am covered with weeds"
  • Looking in the mirror and seeing greatness.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "With vocalist Judith Owen, guitarist James Harrah. Special thanks to David Rapkin. This program was recorded, edited, and mixed by Bob Carlson."


  1. 1.0 1.1 originally aired in Sleep
  2. 2.0 2.1 originally aired in Road To Hell
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joe sings this in Goodbye
  4. 4.0 4.1 originally aired in In The Dark (Part 1)