JOHNNY ROBINSON: No Blues For Memphis
Maybe it’s straightforward to amaze me, but this is no exception. Marybeth and i are contained in the glass and steel skeleton of a 32-story pyramid. We’re surrounded by – surprise – bass boats and searching gear. Yeah, it appears like just one other weird dream of mine, however no, the riverside pyramid, formerly a sports activities area, is for now the home to a Bass Pro Shops superstore.
Hmm, why not The elevator in the center of the space goes to the lookout decks -and fancy restaurant- up top. Why a pyramid ‘Cause we’re in Memphis, Tennessee, on the banks of the Mississippi River, and the soaring edifice is a nod to the city’s namesake, the historical capital of Egypt, which rose from the flanks of one other world-class river, the Nile.
Memphis occupies the very best of the Chickasaw Bluffs on the lower thousand-mile course of ‘The Large Muddy,’ and that distinction apparently was sufficient of a motive for a bunch of river rats to determine a buying and selling put up on the location in 1819 or so. There was then no stopping the growth of Memphis, and right now the city is residence to over 650,000, making it the most important city by far on the Stone Island Outlet mighty Mississippi. And i guess you thought it was St. Louis.
“Whoa, that sounds scrumptious. I’ll have the same!” I exclaim to our abundantly-pierced and footloose waitress. We’re at Albert’s, in the heart of Beale Road, and the plate of barbecue and fixin’s that Marybeth has just ordered has my title on it too. Paying homage to The big Easy’s Bourbon Road, Beale could nap however it never sleeps. It’s jumpin’ on the weeknight we go to, music blaring from every battered swinging door. And i know it doesn’t really get groovin’ until method after my bedtime.
Yes, Memphis breathes music, mostly of the salt-of-the-earth, nitty gritty selection. Whether or not blues, soul, rock, the city’s music scene is one to be soul-felt, not simply heard.
The home of soul music is the unique Stax Records studio, the place the likes of Isaac Hayes, Ike and Tina Turner, and Booker T. and the MG’s obtained their begin. They tell us that in comparison with the polished acts of Motown in Detroit of the same era, the Memphis sound is soul “in the raw.” The museum a part of the place is rich in every part soul; We cannot take all of it in. However we love learning extra about ‘60s-era soul legends, together with Rufus Thomas who, in addition to sporting a number of the more outlandish costumes of the time, originated some wild dances like the “Funky Rooster.”
Walking from Beale Street through some neglected and decidedly earthy blocks, (that is residence to the blues, remember), takes us to another music epicenter, Sun Studios. Sure, this is the place Johnny Money, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis obtained their begins, however arguably extra necessary is that it’s from the place powerful bluesmen Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King blasted into their influential musical orbits. We’re fascinated with all of it, including getting a great really feel for Jackie Brenton’s Rocket 88, widely considered the primary true rock ‘n roll recording.
Memphis’ Mud Island is a several-mile-long island within the Mississippi River. The island was strangely stone island ball cap formed by gestures and upheavals of the good river within the early years of the twentieth century. It’s residence to some fortunate Memphis residents, but it’s also the placement of the Mississippi River Museum.
This place is full of elaborate exhibits together with a full scale mock-up of the bow half of a vintage stern wheeler. It definitely gives us a clear window into the culture, historical past and soul of the massive river and its denizens. “I really feel the urge to board a riverboat headed to New Orleans!” I announce to a nonplussed Marybeth.
I’ve been museum gazing too long…She ushers me out into Mud Island Park, underneath a brilliant blue sky, where we navigate – on foot – a stone and concrete, small-scale version of 1000+ miles of the Mississippi. Intricately detailed and complete with a stream of water lazily operating by it, the mannequin river stretches for a quarter of a mile.
A bit of later we pause on the pedestrian bridge linking Mud Island to town to eat sandwiches I had stuffed in my jacket pocket and to feel the fall breeze in our hair. As a bonus we get to look at the berthing of a tourist riverboat
“Oh yeah, we’ve got to take a look at The Peabody!” Marybeth reminds me as we tromp through our extended Memphis strolling tour of discovery. The Peabody is the city’s grand previous lodge, and among other issues it’s known for its resident ducks which spend their leisurely days bobbing about within the fountain of the lavish foyer.
We say howdy to the mallards, but we don’t linger long enough to watch the ducks be ushered again to their quarters -a rooftop penthouse!- at the top of the day. Ducks or no ducks, The Peabody’s an exquisite lodge and we take pleasure in this style of class and finery. “We’ll keep right here subsequent time, right ” Marybeth asks. “Right!” Earlier than we hit the streets again we check out the $280 Elvis shirts on the market in the Lanskey’s Clothing retailer within the resort. Yep, Elvis was outfitted at Lanskey’s. Remember those wild jumpsuits
By the best way, what about Graceland Sure, after all you have to see Memphis’ hallowed ground of Elvis before you die. It’s outlandish, delightful, virtually sacred floor. We saw it some years ago, and ok, as soon as could also be adequate.
Our last cease on our independent self-guided get-to-know-Memphis-better tour is the Civil Rights Museum. Built in and around the Lorraine Motel, the place Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April of 1968, the museum is fascinating, highly informative, and most of all profoundly shifting.
Our time in ‘Bluff City’ is up. Time to maneuver on from this distinctive American – and ‘only in America’- city. With a mixture of sober contemplation over Martin Luther King Jr.’s steadfast legacy, and the joyful boppin’ of Carl Perkin’s Blue Suede Footwear in our hearts and minds we put Memphis – and the sinking solar- in our rear view mirrors and roll east.