B.B King

Wow–a classic performance by B.B. King!

Louis nachmansohn | Music & Art

There are a lots of kings in the world but B.B King might be the best of them. The “Blues Boy” is born Riley B. King in Mississipi and is one of the worlds best blues musicians and guitarist. The King of Blues, B.B King. The Thrill Is Gone is a a great blues song and while its not written by B.B King it sure became a major hit with B.B King playing the song.

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Memphis Sounds with George Klein

This looks like a treasure trove of interviews about Memphis music.

Memphis & Shelby County Room

In 2004, the library’s TV station (WYPL) first aired a new show called “Memphis Sounds with George Klein.”  Each month George Klein would sit down with local musicians, legends and others related to the music industry to discuss the past, present, and future of our city’s musical heritage.  We have digitized a few episodes of that show and they are now available for your viewing pleasure on Dig Memphis.  They will eventually be added to our Vimeo channel as well. So if you’d like to hear from Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Jim Dickinson, Sid Selvidge, Sam the Sham, Kallen Esperian and many, many more… take a look and listen.

Memphis Sounds with George Klein – Episode 32 from Dig Memphis on Vimeo.

As G.K. would say, “Rock on, Memphis!”

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“Viva Las Vegas” Turns 50


Graceland is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of Elvis Presley’s most popular films. “Viva Las Vegas” was released on May 20, 1964, at the height of Beatlemania, competing with “A Hard Day’s Night” for teen dollars. The sizzling on-screen chemistry between Elvis and Ann Margret must have worked because the movie went on to reach number 14 at the box office and was named one of the “Top 20 Movie Box Office Hits of 1964.”

On display at Graceland is the iconic red shirt Elvis wore during the talent show scenes in which he sings the title song.

photo by elvis.com

3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, TN 38116
Phone: +1 901-332-3322

Elvis and Ann-Margret recorded a duet called “You’re the Boss” but it was dropped from the film. No footage exists of their musical tête-à-tête but the song has since been released.

“B.B. King: The Life of Riley”

photo by Tom Beetz, Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the release of “B.B. King: The Life of Riley,” the first feature documentary about one of the most influential blues musicians of all time. Directed by Jon Brewer and narrated by Morgan Freeman, the film takes us from King’s humble beginnings as a Mississippi cotton picker overcoming poverty and racism to become an international star.  When he came to Memphis at 23, Riley King worked at WDIA radio as a disc jockey nicknamed “Beale Street Blues Boy.” While playing local clubs at night, he first recorded four sides at Bullet Records in 1949, and–thanks to talent and tireless touring–went on to play over 300 concerts a year and sell millions of records.

King’s shadow looms large. When he plays his Gibson guitar “Lucille” in his distinctive vibrato style, millions know that sound. Many high-profile musicians appear in the film, including Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Bono, Dr. John, Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger. The guy has staying power–over the decades, Riley B. King has outlasted most of his peers and several music styles, and at 88 he still plays the blues as he hears it. A true original.

“B.B. King: The Life of Riley” plays in select dates throughout the country.

Director Jon Brewer spent two years  on the project and waded through 250 hours of archive footage and interviews to assemble a complete portrait of the man. If it doesn’t show in your area, you can buy “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” on DVD at:

For those outside the United States, you can download the film from iTunes:

B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center

If you are heading south from Memphis along the Mississippi Blues Trail, the impressive B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS is a shrine for blues lovers.

B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center
400 Second Street, Indianola, MS 38751

Every year for the past 40 years, Mr. King has returned to Indianola to perform for his hometown. This year’s free B.B. King Homecoming Festival will be held at the museum grounds on Sunday, May 25th at 2:00 PM.

B.B. King Homecoming Festival

What People Order at Starbucks

photo by Ambernectar13, Flickr

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of coffee people order the most, this map lays it all out–from Seattle to Boston, San Francisco to Tampa, with Denver and Minneapolis in between. In an effort to track latte demographics, Starbucks studied customer orders and discovered some interesting regional differences. The top choice in Memphis over any other city is the white chocolate mocha.


Blues Music Award Winners

The winners of the 35th Blues Music Awards were announced in Memphis, May 8th. A Little Walter tribute album featuring harmonica masters Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, James Harman, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Mark Hummel received two awards, including album of the year. In various categories, John Németh, Shawn Holt & the Teardrops, Gary Clark Jr., Doug MacLeod, and Trampled Under Foot were all first time winners.  “Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas won for best Soul Blues Female Artist and Bobby Rush was awarded Best Soul Blues Album for his recording “Down in Louisiana.” From Chicago, the legendary Buddy Guy took home the B.B. King Entertainer Award.

For a complete list of winners:

The Blues Foundation

Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest


If you’re still in town and want more blues, check out the nearby
Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest. Now in its eighth year, the free festival is always held right after the Blues Music Awards. The line-up includes Super Chikan, Rip Lee Pryor, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Watermelon Slim, and Liz Mandeville.

Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest

2014 Blues Music Awards

001-Blues-Music-AwardsPresented by the Blues Foundation, the annual Blues Music Awards are held Thursday, May 8th at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis. Now in its 35th year, the awards showcase the best in blues and a who’s who of artist will be in town to celebrate the music and take home some hardware.

This year, legends like Charlie Musselwhite, Lurrie Bell, Buddy Guy, and James Cotton will be attending but here is a full list of deserving nominees:

If you are in Memphis (lucky you!), you can buy tickets for the evening’s event here:

The Blues Foundation


If you can’t be there in person, Sirius XM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville radio show is covering the evening’s events.  They are sending  hosts Tony Colter and Big Llou to provide colorful coverage, interviews, and live performances during the ceremony.




National Train Day May 10th

Everybody loves trains and once a year, Amtrak celebrates rail travel in America. They host parties in major rail hubs like Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, and Philadelphia, and in other cities around the country, too, to promote the benefits of rail travel. This free family event includes train equipment displays, private coach tours, and model train layouts.AmtrakNationalTrainDay
photo by Mackensen, Wikimedia Commons

Over 200 locations in 43 states from coast to coast are celebrating the 7th annual National Train Day. It’s a great way to honor the past and tout the growing popularity of rail travel.

National Train Day


The Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum is hosting its own festivities with plans to have a passenger coach on display and the chance to board a freight locomotive to see the world from the engineer’s point of view. How cool is that!
Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum
Central Station, 545 South Main Street, Suite 121, Memphis, TN

To make you feel as if you are behind the throttle of a real train, Dovetail Games will be offering a free download of their hit game Train Simulator 2014 that follows Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner route.

Dovetail Games

If you have children, many National Train Day events will include the Chuggington Kids Depot with fun, hands-on activities. Set in the fictional town of Chuggington, the animated series follows three junior locomotives (or “Trainees”) as they go on adventures and learn life lessons along the way.