Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Hot Damn, Memphis!
HAPPY (BELATED) St. Patty's Day! ... I'm an embarrassed Irishman to not have added a celebratory holiday post yesterday, but I had no internet access at my hotel in the heart of Memphis (I do for tonight's concert review and pics, so keep an eye).
Yesterday. Was. Epic.
Waking up, red-eyed and thirsty, I spent the day on my own. Wandering. Memphis has surprisingly filled my bones with some fire - there's a thickness of American-a (notably music and civil rights) that I just wasn't expecting. I'm very glad that this town made the Cardinal travel itinerary. I really dig ol' Memphis.
So, with my camera in hand I retraced my "Irish" steps from the night before on Beale Street - a drunken tourist trap littered with everything from Elvis memorabilia, to BB King's BBQ sandwiches, to music pouring out from every bar that overlaps to the point of an extreme-o migraine (when you're not consuming alcohol).
A sea of southern green last night...
My hotel was right across from the Gibson Factory. Sick.
This homeless dude is "Cliff". We chatted it up outside the hotel and I ended up buying him some garlic fries to go.
This ridiculous vehicle belonged to a Memphis Grizzlies player and was parked outside the hotel for all to admire... or for us to just say, "wow, that's kind of retarded".
More wandering led be to an understanding: trolley cars are everywhere in this town
I took a right turn down this one street and came face-to-face with....
...The Lorraine Hotel, where MLK jr. was assassinated...
The balcony was a surreal sight. My brief stop at the Loraine was humbling and heavy and made me very sad. But I couldn't be happier that I literally stumbled across such a significant cultural landmark.
I've always wanted to visit Sun Studios. When in Memphis...
Where the greats (Elvis, Cash, Orbison, Jerry Lee, Perkins) would walk in to record. Many thanks to the guys at Sun for granting me free admission after a casual conversation about my trip across the south with the Cardinals. Very generous.
Elvis's High School diploma - the first in the fam to ever make it to a senior year graduation
The actual studio. Still pretty much untouched - original flooring, walls, ceiling, some mics and amps... the aroma in the air was like a blues explosion in an old folk's home
An homage to the Cash-man in the studio (note the rose and bracelet. Roseanne's perhaps?)
The "Million Dollar Quartet"
Next, I took some advice and visited an absolutely killer record shop called, "ShangriLa"
Their overall selection was stellar and varied perfectly, most organized shop ever for having so much old stuff. You know when you walk in a record store and become so overwhelmed you wanted to take a giant xanax? This place was the complete opposite.
No Adams or Cards on vinyl, but this one came close
Some interesting discoveries
Classic. Wish I could've taken it home.
I ended up with 5 more vinyl liabilities (it was 85 degrees today and my car was steamier than "One Night in Paris"): Bob Marley: Exodus, Lou Reed: Rock n Roll Animal, Lennon: Shaved Fish, Jimmy Cliff: Special, & in honor of Memphis - Class of '55: Homecoming.
... Minglewood is apparently a new venue in the Memphis area. Looking forward to a Cardinal-tastic tasty taste festival tonight. Check the twitter soon!