It seems that when you’re a student the blues have a way of creeping up, and slapping you in the face at every turn and in every way achievable.
You go to top up your Opal Card for the train home and realise they only accept cards when all you have is cash. You’re drowning in a sea of assignments and bibliographies with deadlines shadowing. You go home only to be squeezed into a shared house of 5, sharing the toilet and kitchen, and having nowhere to find yourself a minute of peace.
Sound familiar? Well, here are six tracks that can help to ease that pain, songs written by the experts of feeling down in their moments of dire desperation. These are six songs for students in need.
Muddy Waters – Train Fare Home Blues
“Well, you know if I happen to get lucky, honey, I’ll win my train fare home”
A full week of Uni, no casual job, and Centrelink payments that barely get you through make travelling around the city a deed of the Devil. The title for this track by Muddy Waters (pictured above) practically speaks for itself,and is the ideal anthem for those days when the money is tight and the fare home is steep.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tightrope
“Caught up in a whirlwind can’t catch my breath/knee deep in hot water, broke out in cold sweats/ You can’t catch a turtle in this rat race/it feels like I’m losing time at a breakneck pace…walking the tightrope between wrong and right/walking the tightrope all day and night…”
Let’s face it, being a full-time student is pretty much the equivalent of walking on a tightrope for three months at a time. There are classes to attend, things to soak in, and notes to take all while adhering to the ghastly deadlines. Even when we feel like we’ve got things down pat, the truth is we never really know how the pressure is going to hit us. We’re all walking that thin tightrope between failing and passing, and remaining sane or going totally insane, but if there’s one thing you can count on it’s that Stevie Ray’s sprawling solos throughout this track can get even the saddest person feeling good. It’s THAT intoxicating, people!
Buddy Guy – Money
“I want some money honey, yeah, that’s what I want oh Lord!”
Because when you’re a student and the debt is hanging over your head, money is one thing you could ALWAYS do with a little more of. With the shameless enthusiasm and sassy guitar slinging from the world’s greatest living player, who better to get you feeling comforted and confident to ask for what it is you need!
Muddy Waters – Champagne and Reefer
“Bring me champagne when I’m thirsty, bring me reefer when I want to get high…”
Is there any greater feeling than knowing that the semester has come to an end, and the next four weeks are yours to use in any way you please? Well, Mr Muddy Waters had some A+ tips on how to make it the ultimate celebration of freedom. A little Champagne and Reefer never go astray, and along with rolling blues harp to boot, and some hearty vocals from the man himself, playing this song is the snazziest way to cap off three months of hard work. Lay back and let Muddy talk some sense into you.
Blind Lemon Jefferson – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
“There’s just one kind of favour I’ll ask of you. You can see that my grave is kept clean”
You know that feeling… The assignment’s due date is creeping up slowly then suddenly it’s the night before and you’re scrambling to get everything finished, and you damn yourself for leaving it to the last minute, again! Even though you swore you wouldn’t and now you’re convinced you’re going to fail? Well, this song is perfect for those frantic, and over dramatic moments when the hope is gone.
Johnny Winter – Still Alive and Well
“…Every now and then I know it’s kind of hard to tell/ But I’m still alive and well”
Throughout the 60s and 70s, Johnny Winter was the Albino king of the Texas Blues, and this tireless track of his is perfect for when you pass that assignment you thought would be the end of you. With hefty vocal work, primal beats, and shredding that could tear through walls, Johnny and his band seamlessly capture the relief of being alive and well despite Uni’s endless flow of work. Johnny’s bizarre ways around the six strings are such a turn-on that if you listen to this song before your next due date it’s almost guaranteed you’ll feel good enough to pass.
Lyrics by the featured artists except for Tightrope (co-written by Doyle Bramhall and SRV), Money (written by Berry Gordon) and Still Alive and Well (written by Rick Derringer).