"What Can I Do in Memphis?"

January 12, 2007 - memphisjd@bellsouth.net

One view of Memphis,
To me, Sun Studio by itself would be a great trip. They are great people. Most of them are trying to have a music career and Sun Studio is their day job. Sun Studio is recording just about everyday. James Lott is the main engineer, in the same place Sam where was. He is a great young man. He can play Flying Saucer Rock and Roll better than anybody I have heard except Roland Janes. He is great on stringed instruments. They record bands after the tours end at 6PM, in the same place where you tour. During the day, while you are touring they have a sound proof little booth where they correct flaws on a single track. John Schorr is running Sun and he is a fan. He is a good young man. He is supportive of our music. I love these people. In my mind, It is all back to the 1950's again. Rock and Roll Heaven. They have a lot of visitors every day. Almost all are tourists.

Memphis radio attacked rockabilly when Daddy-O Dewey Phillips was fired in 1959. The #1 rated DJ in memphis and the FIRST and greatest rock and roll DJ in the world. Most Memphians don't have a clue that our great music never stopped.

There is not much rockabilly live in Memphis. I highly recommend The Dempseys. They were the band for "I Walk The Line" movie. They do an amazing show. They moved to Memphis from Seattle for the music. Sam Phillips recommended them before he died. Paul Burlison worked with them. They have individually and together worked with Cordell Jackson, D.J.Fontana, Sonny Burgess, Jason D. Williams and others. They play around here often. Mostly, http://www.bluescitycafe.com/ and http://www.hueys.cc . They are on youtube.

There are custom tours available. http://www.memphisrocktour.com.

Sherman Wilmott is a good young man. He moved to Memphis from New York for the music. He did a lot of work in the Stax Museum renovation and getting it back open. He has been involve in recording at http://www.shangri.com. There is Mike Freeman. He moved to Memphis from Wisconsin for the music. He has http://memphisexplorations.com. One book he wrote was Memphis Elvis Style. He even does walking tours. Get them to show you the Hotel Chisca where Daddy-O Dewey broadcast. Where Home of the Blues record shop was is at the corner where Elvis Presley's Memphis club was and Blues City Cafe and BB Kings is now. I think the Elvis statue is still there. You can see the Overton Park Shell, near the zoo, where Elvis had a big early performance, if the Shell doesn't doesn't fall down first. That was part of the attack on rockabilly by Memphis government. Mike and Sherman get you there and the price is reasonable. If you really want to go all out, you can stay at the http://www.elvis.com/epheartbreakhotel at Graceland. They have good Elvis impersonator Joe Kent nearby, http://wolf.liquidweb.com/~gracelan/rocknrollcafe.htm. You can see the small computer booth where Sirius satellite radio broadcasts Elvis 24 hours a day. It goes even without saying, take the Graceland tour. On Beale check Elvis impersonator, Radford Ellis at Club 152 on Beale. You can see if Gary Hardy is doing his great Johnny Cash tribute show. Since the 1959 attack on rockabilly, most Memphians think there is nothing to do in memphis. The people who go out pay outrageous prices to see the automatic racket acts promoted by the corrupt payola distribution system. Most of the good people you see at the good places will be good people from all over the world, except Memphis. I grieve.

At the http://www.commercialappeal.com you can get them to mail you the Friday edition before you come. It has the entertainment insert "Playbook" with a lot of information. Get the free weekly http://www.memphisflyer.com at locations and racks around town as soon as you are here. The casinos at Tunica, MS or Southland dograce track at West Memphis across the Mississippi River may have something good.

memphismusicpastandpresent is not very active, but I there a good links section there.

I haven't known of one of the Bar B Que places that provided transportation by a pink cadillac. I'm sure that is out of my price range. Sob. We have numerous fine Bar B Que places, Most well known is Rendevous in a downtown alley. There is Interstate that is south. There is Leonard's. Corky's. Neely's. Whole Hog Cafe. Three Little Pigs. There are some websites.


A brewery is in the old theater where Elvis was an usher. It was nice, but two breweries tried to operate there and both closed. Breckenridge and Gordon Bierch. Too much competition I guess. This is my hangout. http://www.boscosbeer.com. It is in mid-town. It has shutdown the others. Also in downtown is The Flying Saucer, http://www.beerknurd.com, which has a world beer selection for any beer lover. The trolley could be interesting and informative about downtown at a reasonable cost. I'm sure someone riding could provide more ideas.

I also like the http://www.southernfolklore.org.

Recently I went to http://www.gibsonshowcase.com/bealestreet/thefactory.html. I saw http://www.archer-records.com/artists/amy_lavere/pressDyn.asp?aid=5. She is a good young lady and can play and sing great rockabilly. She sometimes works at http://www.sunstudio.com and has given tours there. Her CD is not rockabilly. What a waste by her management.

Also there was Jim Dickinson. An early experice of his was recording the last Sun record, Cadillac Man by the Jesters. http://www.zebraranch.com. Also his sons were the band for this. They are The North Mississippi All-Stars. http://langerado.com/bandtemplate.php?sec=3&bandid=15. They are into blues with an upbeat sound. All great talent in that show and it was FREE!.

There are things to do in Memphis. I am always glad when I go out. I see good people from all over the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_Zoo http://www.fedexforum.com/pages/entities/memphis_rock_n_soul_museum.aspx

I want to mention about Paul MacLeod and Graceland Too Ventures.

[Holly Springs is home to both AIKEI PRO'S record shop and Graceland Too. Over the past 40 years Paul MacCleoud's passion for Elvis evolved into Graceland Too. When we arrived, Paul spoke rapidly through oddly chipped and ill fitting dentures that, because they kept slipping down, caused little specks of white foam to gather in the corners of his mouth. His first story was how his wife of 23 years said, "It's either me or all this Elvis stuff."

"I said," he retold the story, "Hmmmm, let me think. See you!"

His son, Elvis Aaron Presley MacCleoud, apparently agreed with his father. Together they keep Graceland Too open 24 hours a day. Regardless of what time you arrive, they will give a tour. Trying to decipher what Paul said was unnecessary, and probably impossible, but his enthusiasm and kind heartedness weren't obscured by his lack of clarity: "Nobody should have to die at 42, and no child should ever have to have cancer. That's why I take donations now, to give to the children with cancer."

His stream of consciousness was a series of directionless tributaries, each fascinating in its own right, regardless. The highlight of the tour was when Paul started up the turntable, motioned my daughters to get close to him, and charmingly crooned "Don't Be Cruel."

"You gotta see this! he beamed, tapping my daughter's arm. "Watch this!" She stood beside him wide eyed as he gave one climatic precision pelvic thrust, followed by a kingly leg shake.

As we were leaving, Paul asked in a furtive voice, "Could you do me a really big favor? My son is in New York, meeting with those folks at the Hard Rock Cafe, and I can't leave the house. Do you think you could buy me a gallon of milk?"

He offered us the money, but we treated and even threw in a few sandwiches. In thanks, he skipped the three tour requirement and made us lifetime members of Graceland Too, with a promise of an official membership card to come.]

When I was there, both of them were at "home". Paul asked me if I would drive him to the store. We did. Always a nice conversation. He has sent me a card and a picture when I have visited. This is an amazing place. Elvis everywhere, 24 hous a day. EPE gave him their OK. They needed his Elvis belongings, too. Unbelievable. Paul is fun.

Now, he has discontinued his phone service and internet. Before posting, I was worried. I called the Holly Springs visitors center and they said he is still open 24 hours a day and doing well. I am relieved.

These are a few of the things to do in Memphis.

JD - The Rock and Roll evangelist of the internet.

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