Sun Studio

Sun Studios (6).JPGTalking about the National Civil Rights Museum reminded me of my trip to Nashville and Memphis. It was a whirlwind trip of music, classic cars and barbeque and it seemed like everything I did was my favorite thing.

But truly, one of the highlights was the day at Sun Studio in Memphis. Sun Studio is a landmark in Memphis and in music. Known as the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll,” Sun is like a time capsule where you can stand at the microphone Elvis used and where the voices of  music legends echo through the halls.

This is where the Million Dollar Quartet spent a December day in 1956 just playing around and where someone was smart enough to record portions of the music created that day by Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Howlin’ Wolf and BB King recorded here too along with a host of others.

It’s a guided tour and it was packed the day we were there. It seems like the tour lasted about an hour and they give everyone time to step up to the Elvis mic. Some people have their picture taken kissing the microphone. I did not. Ick! The germs!

If you go, they recommend getting there about twenty minutes before your desired tour. They sell some light snacks and ice cream plus they have t-shirts, music and other souvenirs. Admission is $14 for adults and, if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s worth every dollar. Want to plan a visit to Sun Studio?  Click here. 

One of these days I’ll tell you more about this trip and some of the other fun things you can do in Memphis.

Vinyl And Changing Taste

 

My music tastes have evolved through my lifetime and, at one point or another, I have been a fan of most every style of music. I started out listening to the fifties and sixties rock and roll as well as the eighties country that my folks listened to when I was a kid. As a teenager I learned to love Big Band music and the crooners and then in college tuned into classic rock. Then a taste for classical, the blues and instrumental bluegrass (no vocals please) and a lot of other stuff crept in somewhere along the way.

For the last few years I’ve been listening more to Indie and Americana. The occasional modern country song finds its way into my playlist but I tend to get most excited about the obscure stuff that feels like lost treasure. No Keith Urban or Jason Aldean for me, please.

This year I’ve been listening more to rockabilly and classic country. I can’t put my finger on when the shift occurred but I’m absolutely loving it. The cool thing is that these genres are easy to find cheap as you can pick up vintage records for just a few dollars at any thrift store or antique mall.

To be honest, I don’t know anything about the history of most vinyl. Most collectors are looking for original pressings and know the value of each one. I buy because the music is great. Being cheap makes it easy to explore a lot of different artists and genres for little investment. You literally never know what you might find.

More importantly, there is no better sound than you find on vinyl. I love coming home after a long day to the Temptations or Cat Stevens on the turntable.

You know something else? Music discovery in the digital age really stinks. You just pull out your phone and type in a song name and it pops up at your fingertips. There’s no waiting. No need to listen to the album as the artist intended – you can just listen to the one song you like and forget the rest. But with vinyl, you have to go looking and you get to be surprised by all the odd and amazing things you  find as you flip through a crate of fifty year old records.

I’ve bought vinyl almost compulsively this last week. The lure of discovery pulled me right in. Thankfully it’s not expensive but the bad news is it does take up shelf space!

Vinyl is making a comeback too. Most everyone is releasing vinyl along with their compact disc and MP3 and even the big box stores are carrying it. New vinyl tends to be a little expensive but often comes with a free digital download so that’s kind of handy.

This week I dragged home some classic Conway and Loretta, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Rabbit among other things. So far every purchase this week was a good one and I’ve had fun discovering new tunes!