Memphis, Yeah I’ve Been There😎 part 2

Memphis…music, people, food, music. It is a remarkable place. Yes the Mississippi River is muddy, broad, and moves forcefully past this amazing city.

But it is the inside of the town. The guts, the brain, the voice of a place filled with the passage of people and time that grabs you. I really dug it.

The sidewalks were well worn. The stores and club fronts showed the appearance of years of bodies leaning against them to get out of the heat or rain and watch humanity pass by. Beale Street had the character and style of an old railroad car with a fresh coat of paint. While we were there part of the street was cordoned off for a mass of bikers, a bikers meet and greet if you will. 

There were dozens of bikes, with riders milling around, laughing, drinking, smoking, and calling out to people passing by. It was friendly and fun.

I was raised by a man who loved motorcycles, and when I see one, especially a Harley, I am warmed by memories of riding with my dad. I wanted to get right down in the middle of them. 😍

Beale St is full of music.

Passing clubs, pubs, and bars the music pours out, drenching the sidewalk with jazz, blues, rock, and country. The first three are the ones I wanted to hear. I craved sittingt near the stage listening to live musicians give it their all. We popped into several establishments on our way to the place I wanted to be.

BB Kings House of Blues. Yeah dog! I did that. That’s me and BB Kings guitar. The food was good, we took our time, and then Corey Osborn and his band took the stage. It was a religious experience.

Corey was a teenage prodigal guitarist when BB King discovered him. We sat through two or three hours of food and music. Hubby and I were loving it. We met him and his band, bought a CD and had it autographed by them all. Looking back it was a special moment in time because only a few years later Corey was killed in a car accident. It’s hard to find his music now. That CD is really special.

Elvis was there too, in music, and memorabilia.

Even a musical note on the sidewalk bears his name. We left BB Kings and walked around in the evening, lots of lights shining and people milling around, such atmosphere in this city by the Mississippi River.

We asked for a random guy to take our picture together, he laughed and told hubby to cozy up to that woman!

He did and it was a wonderful memory of the park across the street from the House of Blues.

I would love to go back and spend more time there. The food, music, and history of this city is compelling, exciting, and covers you in mood. That mood is up to you.

 

Cheers!

-N

 

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Musical interlude

Last Friday night I went with a friend to a show called “A Celebration of Joni Mitchell.” I knew some of her stuff, mainly the older things and the songs made famous by steady radio play, but I was rather surprised to learn of her music evolution in later years.

She developed industry collaborations with artists like Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus wherein she delved into a bright, smooth, and moody jazz persona. I found I really enjoyed this style. I’ve always been a jazz/blues fan, and unlike others I can ride along with the waves of jazz improve and scat singing. This latter style is what much of this musical excursion was composed.

That night the crowd of Gaslight Theatre Music Hall was a bit older, a bit mellower, drinking wine, beer and lots of alcohol on the rocks. There were several men with their long grey hair pulled back in ponytails, and women like me dressed with a nod to the inner hippie with flowing tops, strings of necklaces, and long hair. There also were the retired couples who look like the AARP magazine covers, yet musically there was something for everyone.

The band, fronted by a woman named Kimberly Ford, were obvious professional musicians. Ms. Ford had a great voice, capable of flowing through the remarkable range of a Joni Mitchell song. She played her guitars, engaged with the audience and her band, while not missing a note of “Help Me” or “Coyote”.

I dug it.

It reminded me of a dream I once had of singing in a cellar club, with a combo consisting of drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, and sax. Doing Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mercer, along with some old big band ballads for an intimate group of nightowls. I guess we all have one of those dreams.

Cheers!

-N