Thursday, May 11, 2006

Walking in Memphis

A few years back I had a chance to visit Memphis and walk down Beale Street. I was with two friends then, and we had good fun. So I went by again tonight, on my way to find a hotel in Tupelo.

I was amazed at how much more neon Beale Street has today, how many more places were open and serving up heaping helpings of music, to an ample crowd of pedestrians even at 9:30 on a weeknight, which is when I got there.

Schwab's Drugstore is still there, looking as good as ever.

B.B. King's joint was at the west end of Beale when we visited before, and it's still going strong.

Last time I was here, I had tamales at this joint. (Three Forks is an interesting logo for the cafe. Three Forks is the name of the place where Robert Johnson was poisoned, depending on which story you believe.) This time I didn't have time for a sit-down meal, but I was glad to see all the new joints on Beale haven't wiped out the old favorites.

While I was there, it crossed my mind that New Orleans' misfortune (Katrina) may have been a spell of good luck for Memphis. As musicians and audiences hunted for a new place to share tunes, Memphis at the north end of the Delta must have seemed a natural place to migrate to. I bet tourism in Memphis has picked up since Katrina ravaged New Orleans.


Andrew Shields said...

My Dad spent several weeks in intensive care in the hospital in Memphis last fall after his stroke. He had been at Morgan Freeman's blues club in Clarksdale, and Memphis was the closest hospital. Unfortunately, it was a very inhospitable hospital, and of course he did not get to hear any blues in Memphis before heading back to Seattle.

My associations with Memphis have, as a result, become much darker than they were before!

(BTW: He's much better now.)


Oushki said...

So Memphis finally rocks?
I mean... Wasn't it kind of dead 6-7 years ago?

Thanks for the update.