Delta Blues Museum Turns 36

photo by SueReed99, Flickr
photo by SueReed99, Flickr

Established on January 31, 1979, the museum began quite modestly by Sid Graves, director of Clarksdale’s Carnegie Public Library, as a showcase for the history of blues of the area. Graves originally housed his collection of blues memorabilia in a room of the Myrtle Hall Elementary School on Highway 61 and he took everything home with him at the end of the day. He only had few visitors at first but it gradually grew in popularity and moved to the Clarksdale Library in 1981. When the library was tight for space, Graves stored the display in the trunk of his car!

photo by VagabondMusicCo, Flickr
photo by VagabondMusicCo, Flickr

In 1988, rock guitarist Billy Gibson and his band ZZ Top accidentally discovered the museum and felt so passionate about the collection having a more permanent home that they began raising funds for the project. They sold “Muddywood” guitars constructed from fallen boards found at Muddy Waters’ old house.

photo by meantooth, Flickr
photo by meantooth, Flickr

Enough money was eventually raised to move the museum in 1999 to its to its current location, a former railroad passenger depot that dates back to 1926. About an hour’s drive from Memphis, the Delta Blues Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated to the blues, and it’s loaded with music displays and artefacts. Where else can you see Otis Spann’s keyboard, Super Chikan’s homemade guitar, or the shack where Muddy Waters lived on the Stovall Plantation!

photo by Visit Mississippi, Flickr
photo by Visit Mississippi, Flickr

Stop by for cupcakes on Friday, January 30th and on Saturday, January 31st, there will be performances by the Delta Museum Band, a special guest appearance by harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite, and a screening of the music documentary “Take Me to the River”

Delta Blues Museum
1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS 38614
Phone: (662) 627-6820
http://www.deltabluesmuseum.org/

photo by Steve Roake, Flickr
photo by Steve Roake, Flickr

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Sittin’ on The Dock of Bay

Dock of the Bay

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was released this week in 1968. Soul singer Otis Redding recorded the basic tracks at Stax Studios three days before his death in a plane crash on December 10, 1967 at Lake Monona, near Madison, Wisconsin. The song was completed by co-writer and guitarist Steve Cropper, and released posthumously in January, 1968.

dock-of-the-bay-volt

The tune came about in August, 1967 when Redding was sitting in a rented houseboat in Sausalito, California and started writing lyrics to the first verse of the song. While touring to back up his album “King & Queen” with Carla Thomas, he scribbled more lines for the song on napkins and hotel stationery. When Redding returned to Memphis, Steve Cropper helped finish the song in the studio with the Stax house band, Booker T. & the M.G.’s. The distinctive whistling at the end fade was recorded after Redding’s death by Sam “Bluzman” Taylor, his bandleader. It is considered the most famous whistling in any song.

Initially, there were concerns the song had too much of a pop feel for Redding but “Dock of the Bay” went on to sell more than four million copies and brought Otis the greatest success of his career. The single went on to win two Grammy Awards: Best R & B Song and Best Male R & B Vocal Performance and became a classic song. We can only imagine how many more hits Redding would have had in the next phase of his career if had lived!

International Blues Challenge

photo by Seeing Redder, Flickr
photo by Seeing Redder, Flickr

If you are a blues fan, all roads lead to Memphis this week. Hundreds of blues musicians come from all over the U.S. and the world to take part in this annual five-day event, held January 20th to January 24th this year. Performers for the challenge are chosen by local blues societies to compete in three categories: Best Band, Best Solo/Duet, and Best Self-Produced CD–all for cash, prizes, and industry recognition.

Last year, over 250 acts competed in semi-finals in the clubs on Beale Street so expect an explosion of the blues this year, too.

International Blues Challenge
The Blues Foundation
421 South Main, Memphis TN 38103
Phone: (901) 527-2583
http://www.blues.org/international-blues-challenge/2015-international-blues-challenge/

photo by Barsnbands.com, Flickr
photo by Barsnbands.com, Flickr

Since the IBC is a showcase for new talent, many of today’s top blues artists competed in the past, including Tommy Castro, Eden Brent, Albert Castiglia, Susan Tedeschi, Delta Moon, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, Larry Garner, Super Chikan, and more. Here is a list of this year’s participants, many of whom will be the stars of tomorrow:

2015 Blues Challenge Entries
http://www.blues.org/international-blues-challenge/2015-international-blues-challenge/current-entries/

photo by Mario, Flickr
photo by Mario, Flickr

The official list of this year’s IBC semi-finalists has been released so check out these artists live in the Beale Street clubs as they advance to the next round.

2015 Blues Challenge Semi-Finalists
http://www.blues.org/international-blues-challenge/2015-international-blues-challenge/2015-semi-finalists/

photo by f8inMemphis, Flickr
photo by f8inMemphis, Flickr

The winners will be chosen at the IBC final battle of the bands on Saturday night in the historic Orpheum Theatre. Cheer on your hometown favorite or just go for the amazing talent on stage.

Here is a list of the 2015 IBC winners:

http://www.blues.org/2015/01/2015-international-blues-challenge-winners/

The Orpheum Theatre
203 South Main Street (at Beale) Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 525-3000
http://www.orpheum-memphis.com/events/detail/2015-international-blues-challenge

photo by suz2337, Flickr
photo by suz2337, Flickr

Reviews: Two From Omnivore – Big Star, “Live in Memphis” and Roger Taylor, “The Best”

The Second Disc

Big Star - LiveWelcome to Part One of our two-part review round-up featuring some of Omnivore Recordings’ releases from late 2014!

Just when one thinks the Big Star well has run dry, Omnivore Recordings surprises with a treat of the magnitude of Live in Memphis (OVCD-107). On October 29, 1994 at Memphis’ New Daisy Theatre, Big Star founding members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, were joined by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies for an overflowing set of Big Star classics and covers in front of an appreciative hometown audience. The debut of this band lineup on April 25, 1993 was preserved on the Zoo Records album Columbia: Live at Missouri University 4/25/93; the concert of October 29, 1994 was billed as Big Star’s farewell U.S. performance. It turned out to be anything but – the band continued to tour together for another 16 years until Chilton’s untimely death in…

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B.B. King’s recipe for Carolina BBQ salmon

WREG.com

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B.B. King’s Carolina BBQ Salmon with Corn and Sausage Chowder

Servings for 2-4 people

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

1 16-ounce can whole kernel corn

1 whole andouille sausage link

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cajun seasoning, to taste

Green onions

Fresh salmon

B.B. King’s good old BBQ sauce

Method:

Chowder

Step 1: Heat olive or vegetable oil in pot or skillet.

Step 2: Add andouille sausage and sauté for three minutes until golden brown.

Step 3: Add corn and sauté for another three minutes to get the juices flowing.

Step 4: Add two cups heavy cream and salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to your preference.

Step 5: Let it come to boil and add one tablespoon if corn starch.

Step 6: Stir until chowder is smooth, chunky and thick but not too thick.

Salmon

Step 1: At the same time as the chowder…

View original post 96 more words

Happy Birthday, Elvis

 

 

elvis10

Born January 8, 1935, Elvis would have been 80 today. Most of us can’t picture him in some sad Tupelo retirement home; we think of him immortalized at the peak of his swaggering youth and his amazing talent. (That voice!)  If you are in Memphis this week, there are many events celebrating The King of Rock n’ Roll’s birthday.

photo by Natalie Curtiss, Flickr
photo by Natalie Curtiss, Flickr

Graceland is party central for most of the festivities including music tours, guest speakers, a gospel concert, and a double feature screening of Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas.

Graceland
3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38116
Phone: (901) 332-3322
http://www.graceland.com/

 

photo by Mike Freeman, Flickr
photo by Mike Freeman, Flickr

After moving from Tupelo, MS and living in a series of boarding rooms and apartments, in September, 1949, Vernon Presley moved his family to the Lauderdale Courts, a 433-unit public housing project on the north end of downtown Memphis. (They lived in apartment 328.) Elvis would practice his guitar in the basement laundry room and he played in a band with four other boys from Lauderdale Courts. It is still maintained in period detail with fixtures and furnishing from 1951 and you can tour the historic landmark, including his bedroom.

photo by Roadtripper
photo by Roadtripper

Lauderdale Courts
252 North Lauderdale
Memphis, TN 38105
Phone: 901-523-8662
https://www.facebook.com/LauderdaleCourts

 

photo by Richard Stables, Flickr
photo by Richard Stables, Flickr

Humes High School, where Elvis Presley attended from 1948 to 1953, is still standing and operating as a school. The building was constructed in 1924, and was placed on the list of National Register of Historic Places in 2004 due to its connection to Elvis.

photo by edward.tuten, Flickr
photo by edward.tuten, Flickr

In April of 1953, a few months before graduation, Elvis Presley performed in the annual talent show held at Ellis Auditorium in downtown Memphis. He was listed number sixteen of 22 acts (as ‘Elvis Prestly’) and stunned everyone in the audience with his rendition of Teresa Brewer’s ‘Till I Waltz Again with You.`(He never recorded it.) He received more applause than anyone else that night and won first prize, returning for an encore. His classmates say this stand-out performance was true beginning of his rise to stardom.

Humes High School
659 North Manassas Street
Memphis, TN 38107
Phone: (901) 416-3226

 

photo by Railroad Jack, Flickr
photo by Railroad Jack, Flickr

Elvis was always a snappy dresser so if you want to see where he bought all those fabulous clothes when he was young, visit Lansky`s. This is where he first came up with his distinctive pink and black combo.

The Lansky Brothers, Bernard and Guy, had an eye for cutting-edge fashion and they outfitted Elvis for his high school prom and later for his appearances on the Dorsey Brothers Show and Ed Sullivan.

Lansky
149 Union Avenue (at the Peabody Hotel)
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 529-9070
http://www.lanskybros.com/

 

photo by Thomas Hawk, Flickr
photo by Thomas Hawk, Flickr

Located in what has become the trendy South Main Historic District, the Arcade Restaurant was one of Elvis Presley’s top hangouts. His favorite booth is near the back of the restaurant. Built in 1925 by the Zepatos family, it is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Memphis. You can still order the fried peanut butter ‘n banana sandwich just like Elvis enjoyed.

photo by C-Monster, Flickr
photo by C-Monster, Flickr

The Arcade Restaurant
540 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 526-5757
http://arcaderestaurant.com/

 

photo by Mikkel Elbech, Flickr
photo by Mikkel Elbech, Flickr

No trip to Memphis is complete without a tour of Sun Studio. A young truck driver from Tupelo, MS walked into Sun on the evening of July 5th, 1954 to record three songs and one of them, “That’s All Right,” changed music history. He and his band mates, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, recorded the less-inspiring  “Harbor Lights” and  “I Love You Because” before launching into Mississippi bluesman Arthur Crudup’s 1954 song. Producer Sam Phillips knew a hit when he heard one and released the single 14 days later (with the B-side “Blue Moon of Kentucky”) and it went on to launch Elvis Presley’s recording career.

elvis-60-years-of-rock-and-roll-1

Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN, 38103
Phone: 800-441-6249
http://www.sunstudio.com/

 

Road Trip to Tupelo!

Tupelo_20to_20Memphis110

If you are on an Elvis pilgrimage, your trip should include a visit to his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. Hop in your pink Cadillac with the top down and travel in style.

photo by Ronnie Harris, Flickr
photo by Ronnie Harris, Flickr

Located about a hundred miles from Memphis, this little Southern town in northeast Mississippi is where Elvis spent his formative years, learning to play guitar and listening to a melting pot of American music–country, blues, and gospel.  There are several events around town to commemorate his birthday.

Tupelo Visitors Bureau
399 East Main Street
Tupelo, MS 38804
Phone: (662) 841-6521
E-mail: visittupelo@tupelo.net
http://tupelo.net/things/elvis_in_tupelo/default.aspx

 

photo by Stan, Flickr
photo by Stan, Flickr

You can visit Presley’s boyhood home, a two-room shotgun shack built for $180 by his father Vernon where the family lived for about three years. It’s still standing in the original spot! Also featured is a church Elvis attended and sang in, The Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, and a statue portraying Presley at thirteen.

Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum
306 Elvis Presley Drive
Tupelo, MS 38804
Phone: (662) 841-1245
http://www.elvispresleybirthplace.com/

 

graceland-poster-smaller-518x800This year, The Tupelo Community Theatre presents the one-act play “Graceland” by playwright Ellen Byron. The story takes place in June, 1982 as two women, Rootie and Bev, vie to be the first in line the day Graceland is opened to the public. As they wait for the gates to open, the two fans share their life stories and how much Elvis means to them.

Tupelo Community Theatre
201 North Broadway Street
Tupelo, MS 38804
Phone: (662) 844-1935
http://www.tct.ms/

 

Elvis at Graceland

Elvis may have left the building forever but you can still experience what it was like to attend one of his concerts thanks to tribute artist David Lee. Lee is ranked in the top 10 in the world and he captures the spirit of The King on stage.


David Lee
E-mail: info@DavidLeeRocks.com
http://www.thedavidleeshow.com/

 

photo by Joe Spake, Flickr
photo by Joe Spake, Flickr

If you can’t be there in person, Sirius Radio’s All-Elvis channel is covering the events live.

Sirius Radio – All-Elvis
http://www.siriusxm.com/elvisradio

photo by Joe Spake, Flickr
photo by Joe Spake, Flickr