Of all the musical styles on which soul music is built, the two most prominent are gospel and blues. Both are expressions from the human heart of love, pain and longing. Gospel is church-based and sung to God, while the blues is secular and often sung to another person, often a spouse or lover, present or former. Both musical forms release the participants from their immediate confines offering refuge for the spirit.
The train from Jackson gets in pretty late. I order my Lyft and head off to the gaff. Another Airbnb and this time a lock box to get access. I sit up and catch up on social media, as most will be wakening back home and on this leg of the Amtrack journey, no wifi. Turns out the other two in my room of 3 are here working and they finish at midnight. Quick 5 min catch up and were all off to bed.
Of my 3 days in Memphis, I can easily say the Friday was the best. I seen the railroad museum today and walked by the Civil Rights Museum, with the Lorraine Motel, where MLK was gunned down 50 years ago and visited the Sun Record Studio, where Rocket 88 was recorded, which has come to be known as the first Roll N Rock single of all time. In fairness, the past two days have not been the greatest, however, I shall not dwell on that. I have had a superb 3 months to date and Friday was a hoot. They have a festival on called Memphis in May and the B-B-Q World Championships are on. I say World Championships, it was mainly American teams, but I was kicking myself as both Big Daddy Kane and Mix Master Mike were DJing and I missed them both. Too busy chatting hotties and drinking da Stella.
Graceland – everybody says to go, but it’s a bit out of town, so I dinnae bother. I have my day planned. Bus round the corner right to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Another bus takes me downtown, where I get a tram up to the Peabody to see the Ducks, wander down to Beale Street to see the Elvis statue, get some B-B-Q and soak up the atmosphere with a few cold ones. If I have time I can maybe sneek in another museum.
Now, for a chap who loves the Vinyl, I was in heaven in the old Stax Museum. You first get taken into a mini Theatre and watch a 20 min film of the history of Stax records, from when it first started, the musicians and songs, to when it died a death after the boy MLK was gunned down. It was just never the same after that. Two couple in the row in front ken their stuff and they’re talking and singing as the film is going on, which makes it feel better. As we walk round, a kind of sneaky behind them and listen to what they say about the things on show and the songs. They ken what I’m doing and do not mind.
The most interesting part of the video was where they talked about 67 and the ‘Revolutionary’ European Tour, where the artists were so blown away with the crowds and knowledge when they hit they UK and one of the Memphis Horns guys said he was awake for 2 weeks, just to make the most of it. It was soo different to life back in the states, where tensions were getting worse. It seemed like a kinda release. Despite the hatred and violence, the artists who were not able to stay in the same hotels, eat in the same restaurants, and even go to the zoo on the same day, back home, were one big family on tour.
Now, while I lived as a Blues and Soul fan in the morning, I was at the other end of the spectrum 48k in the afternoon – living like a Redneck (and I’m not talking about the sunburn, even tho it was beeling). No, I went to this place called a Bass Pro Shop, which I had read about that sells anything from Clothes, to Camping Gear, to Boats, fishing gear, atv’s and hunting gear. I needed some new shorts and a new top, they done my size, so I was hot footing it. There was also a second reason, given it was Friday and all, they had a doozy Fishbowl and Grill, kind of in an aquarium, with a big tank in the centre I could do some nom nom at when I had finished shopping.
This place had a pond that goes all the way throughout the store with Fish and Alligators swimming around, crazy. I refer to being a redneck, cos the place was full of them. Pure white trailer folks in front of my eyes. You know, everyone has this one friend, who never wears a shirt and tie, unless its a christening or a wedding and someone always says “When’s the court appearance”. There was a mother, son, younger son and girlfriend of the older son kicking about the restaurant and older son was wearing a badly combined shirt and tie. What followed was a 20 min conversation about the combo, with Jeans I might add, where the GF said and I quote “I don’t think anyone in my family has ever worn a tie” – Pure Gold!
Anyway, if a Zombie Apocalypse kicked off at any time in that place, I would have been safe. They would have had all the knives, bows and arrows an the likes, killing all the Zombies. I headed up Beale Street thereafter that was kinda cool, but very touristy and a bit pricey. Proper tunes on the go and a real carnival atmosphere, so I had a good wee wander about and was in the Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler bar and one that had been mentioned on the Danny Baker show, where the lass told a story about Goats on a funfair ride. This was actually in a boozer. I’m at the bottom end of town, watching the end of the hockey and a group of 4 pop in and this bonnie wee lass has a seat doon beside me and we get chatting. What’s great is she understands me, so I’m not repeating myself and we talk about this an that and you may have seen from a previous post, this lass Lacey, was an amazing woman, who worked hard raising a family of 7, while working all level of Social work from ground level to manager and more and putting her husband, who was also a nice guy, despite the Jesus beard look he was sporting, through Medical college. The great news is he was now fully qualified, so Lacey could now kick back a little and enjoy life. So much so, she was talking the boys round the town drinking! We were in an Oyster bar and they had a plate of 10 I think, sharing of course, which gave me the perfect chance to show the pohoto when I downed 12 in France last year and to talk about a video of Keith Floyd doing like 24!.
Anyway, I felt enriched so the Jaggeur Bombs followed, as you do baby!