Author: Slim, Sims

Music Content, Yes – Bluegrass, Not So Much

Mrs. Slim and I just got back from a week in Memphis. Two days were spent at a Lions Clubs convention, the rest eating and sightseeing and hanging out with friends.

Yes, we did the stuff you HAFTA do in Memphis – Graceland, Sun Studio, Beale Street and the Duck Walk. That’s right, the Duck Walk!

Now, I’d never heard of this, but I knew sure as shootin’ if I didn’t do it, somebody would ask me, when I got back, if I’d seen the ducks!

It seems that many years ago the owner of the fancy Peabody Hotel, returning from a hunting trip, thought it would be funny to turn his (live) decoys loose in the hotel lobby. The critters made for the fountain in the lobby where, in the absence of television or other entertainment, they providedconsiderable amusement for those assembled, so much so that they were provided their own “penthouse suite” on the roof of the hotel and a trainer to care for them. Every morning at 11:00, amid much hoopla, they arrive in the lobby by elevator and march along a red carpet to the fountain, where they lounge until evening, when they take the elevator back up to their domicile. This has been going on for seventy-some years! If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’, this is something you DO in Memphis!

We went to B.B.King’s club on Beale Street and had dinner and listened for a while, then walked the street, a block of side-by-side honky-tonks, each with it’s own band (some playing outdoors). Non-stop music! I don’t know much about the blues, but I can tell you, they’re loud! There are some old buildings and markers giving the history of the area.

Sun Studio – the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll! A collection of period recording equipment and memorabilia of the artists that Sam Phillips recorded back in the day, and the studio where it happened, as it was then. He was doing a lot of the “black” artists before Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl, Johnny and Roy.

We toured the Gibson guitar factory but I can’t recommend that one unless you’re really into guitar construction. Most of it is in the shop with machinery running all around you and the guide has no sound system, so you can’t hear anything unless you happen to stand VERY close to him. If you just want to drool, they have a nice showroom full of their products. Droolin’s free.

Graceland – just do it! Nice southern mansion, rolling green grounds, white fences. Inside, it looks like your place would have if you’d had the money (minus the beer can collection). Lots of gold records, movie posters, pictures, fancy duds, etc. Then across the street there’s Elvis’ cars, Elvis’ airplanes, Elvis in the army and plenty of souvenirs for sale.

Now, if you go to Memphis, do this. Near the river bank is a place called Mud Island. They have an extensive museum of the history of the Big Muddy and Memphis. You’ll kill half a day there and not be sorry!

See you at the campout!

Posted:  10/3/2009

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