On the Road for a Bit #2:

It could have been The Million Dollar Quintet

Blue Suede Toole

Memphis exudes music history like no other place I’ve visited. It may be known as the birthplace of Rock & Roll but it’s got deep roots in Soul, Gospel and R&B.

Before even checking into my hotel I drove straight to Sun Studio. I was paranoid with the staycation world that the limited Studio tours would be filled. They take 25 people each half hour.

I turned up five minutes late for a group that had already taken off. Mark on the counter admired my t-shirt for The Wire, we bonded, he discounted my ticket and let me catch up.

If you ever pass through Memphis stay at Arrive. It’s a 64 room boutique hotel. The best room I’ve booked solo on any travels and the lobby coffee and scone bar the tastiest to date. It’s close to everything.

It’s probably the oddest place to first understand what people mean when they say they felt history – but I felt it in that studio. Standing in the room The Million Dollar Quartet ( Elvis; Johnny Cash; Carl Perkins; Jerry Lee Lewis) recorded in on December 4th, 1956, listening to the original cut, got this cynical Paddy misty eyed. The last time that happened was the end of Spartacus.

Tour participants were allowed take photos holding the Quartets session microphone . It was left by the original owner on condition it could be held by visitors.

Needless to say I spent a small fortune in the excellent gift store. I’ll need a bigger office.

Krista, behind the bar at Grand Central Station ,could not have been more welcoming. She’s a multi talented musician .. violin, keyboards, mandolin….Check out some of the groups and artists Krista performs with on Spotify (Memphis Dawls; Dead Soldiers; Amy Laverne; Mark Edgar Stuart; Jana Jana). I’m going to take her recommendation to look out for some spots on the Mississippi Blues Trails.
We Don’t Need Another Hero

On the road from Knoxville to Memphis I pulled off in Brownsville to visit the Tina Turner Museum. It’s small, housed in the schoolhouse she attended. The movie fan in me was very pleased with Tina’s Thunderdome tunic. Great theme song, lousy film.

The Stax Museum of American Soul is located in the original Stax record studios. Much as I was tempted to skip, I sat through the 18 minute video history and it was an eye opening treat, covering the roots, influences (a little country a little Gospel) and history of Stax.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting NeShante Brown Executive Director of the Soulsville Charter School as I was parking for Stax. NeShante was nice enough to share the story of her magnificent school. I’m not going to do it justice so I’m adding a link. https://soulsvillecharterschool.org/

My favorite exhibit was Isaac Hayes pimped out Cadillac or whatever type of car this is.

I skipped bits. I did take a walk down daytime Beale Street (touristy) and visited The Blues Hall of Fame (too new and plasticy for the Blues). That didn’t stop me from buying things!

Of course not all of the History of Memphis is about song. The Lorraine Hotel is close by my accommodations. It was remarkable how a place I’d never been to before could look so familiar.

Tomorrow – The King.

Fritzel the Blues Hound (immortalized here) could pound out the first 12 bars of Hoochie Coochie Man on a Steinway Upright.

2 thoughts on “On the Road for a Bit #2:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s