A Walk Down Beale Street

P9289328.jpgLet’s go to Memphis today, shall we? Writing about Sun Studios and the assassination of Dr. King earlier this year got me to thinking about my whirlwind trip through Memphis and Nashville several years ago. I loved Memphis and hope you will too so I’ll tell you a few things about that town in the coming days.

Known as the Home of the Blues as well as the Birthplace of Rock and Roll, it’s only logical that there is music coming from every nook and cranny of the city. Every restaurant, bar, hotel, store, museum and alleyway you pass you’ll hear some kind of music. Sometimes it’s a guy with a guitar, just hanging out and picking a tune. Sometimes it’s band on a stage and sometimes it’s just a radio blaring Jerry Lee.

If you like this style of music, it is Heaven.

Beale Street is a few city blocks of restaurants, clubs, stores and theaters where you’ll hear all kinds of music – rock and roll, blues, gospel, jazz – you name it. There’s a happening night life but plenty to do if you’re looking for family friendly fun. Among other things, there’s a great candy shop, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Soul Museum which I’ll write about another day.

A Schwab Trading Company is the oldest store on Beale Street and packed full of dry goods and souvenirs. Founded in 1876, it has a soda fountain, a Beale Street Museum  and lots of fun merchandise to browse or buy. Some might call it a tourist trap but, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed it.

The day we arrived, we learned that BB King was in town and playing a show at his club. We snagged the last two standing room only tickets and enjoyed a simply amazing night of music with BB and his band.

BB passed away in 2015 but you can still see other live performers and enjoy lunch and dinner at his club. It’s barbeque and traditional southern food. In fact, we had an excellent lunch here during our stay.

Bottom line, if you’re going to Memphis, you must stop by Beale Street to sample the barbeque and the local tunes. I loved just walking down the street here and soaking up my surroundings. We’ll talk Graceland and a few other fun things in the coming days. After all, you can’t go to Memphis without visiting the King!

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.

Spinning Out Of Control

My record buying has officially spun out of control.

I’ve collected off and on over the years, buying and listening to them in spurts. I might go a year without buying a single record. Right now, I can’t seem to make it a week without dragging home at least one or two. Ok. That’s a lie. More like a dozen a week. Sigh.

There’s a great little record store called Apollo over in Chillicothe and a host of nice antique malls in the area that have records. My hope to buckle down on spending this month failed miserably, mainly because of records.

My music tastes are all over the place so that hasn’t really helped to keep a handle on things either. This week’s haul included everything from classic Conway Twitty to the Flying Burrito Brothers to Paul Revere and the Raiders to eighties Ronnie Milsap.

The best part of collecting records is that you can find them in some of the oddest places for a dollar and up. The bad news is that it’s easy for them to pile up really quickly.

My goal this week is to not spend any money on records. Think I can do it?

Yeah…. I don’t either.