So long Mississippi, it was real fun y’all….

It was strangely sad to cross the border into Tennessee on Thursday.  We had only spent 5 days there but for various reasons i.e. the blues connection and some very nice people we met, we had grown a genuine fondness for this unique somewhat unspoilt state.  I haven’t done a count yet, however I estimate that we covered around 1000 miles zigzagging around the state mopping up as many iconic blues related places as we could.  With hindsight one could easily spend two weeks in Mississippi on the blues trail, which would be great for me, however, although the present Mrs F is something of a convert, I wouldn’t wish to push my luck.

So we are now in Memphis having arrived on Thursday and leaving today, Saturday. We are headed for Nashville which is a particular choice of Linda’s.  I’m sure that I will grow to love all that country & western music…….but it does have the added bonus of being the home of Gruhn Guitars, an iconic shop run by arguably the worlds expert on the subject.  Anticipate lots more on this venue later!  Excited?

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Before leaving Mississippi we stopped for lunch at this iconic restaurant.  The original site in Tunica burned down some years ago.  No matter, this venue is very atmospheric efficiently run and we got to meet Passion, a lovely girl with a smile to match.

 

 

Above is the wholesome and gigantic fried chicken meal we had for lunch.  The piece of memorabilia, a guitar made from a bed pan naturally caught my eye.  Now thats the hospital for me.

From the restaurant we moved onto our very last port of call in Mississippi.  The inaptly, in our case, ‘Gateway to The Blues Museum’.  For some reason it is assumed that most folk on the Blues Trail start from Chicago and work downwards.  Never mind, this was a little gem.  Easily the best collection of guitars we’d encountered.  Some of which are extremely valuable.  I photographed so many guitars that I have spared you task of wading through them all.  On returning to England I will be holding special viewing for you avid followers.  After all, we all love to sit through an evening looking at someone else’s holiday snaps don’t we!  Entrance will be 5 shillings.

 

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Jimmy Hendrix’s jacket.  We plan to visit his grave in Seattle 

 

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Just the one guitar selected for you.  Good ‘ole Muddy.
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Guess where we are?  Most visitors to Graceland’s first comment is about how small it is.  Well it is.  Elvis added many extensions to the house which makes it feel like Dr Who’s Tardis inside.  Despite this however none of the rooms are very big.  Also, I’m afraid to say that his massive musical talent wasn’t matched my his interior design skills or taste.  Sorry Elvis.  Nevertheless it was a long ambition fulfilled and interestingly still very sad despite his passing 41 years ago at the age of 42.
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The road outside is appropriately named Elvis Presely Boulevard. Before this however, and on the deeds to the property for which he paid $100,000 in 1955ish it was called Winchester Road.  Which is only interesting if you happen to live in Winchester UK.  As we do!  Below is Elvis’s grave alongside his mother, father and grandmother Minnie Mae who outlived all of them.  Linda is standing in front of the paddock at the front of the property which leads down to the road.  Elvis and his friends would gallop up and down this paddock in full view of anyone passing by.  Can you imagine that today in this security obsessed world.  
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Here you see Sun Studios Memphis where Elvis recored his first demo.  Sam Philips the owner was out for the day so Elvis was in fact recored by his secretary Marion.  On returning to the office Sam listened to the tape and rejected it stating that it was another boring ballad.  It took Elvis another 12 months to persuade Sam to re record him.

Above are various photos of Beale Street in Memphis.  The neon sign at the top says ‘Home of the Blues’.  I don’t wish to be picky, but the blues actually started in the Mississippi Delta.  Details, details.  Whereas Bourbon Street in New Orleans is atmospheric and a party street, Beale Street would fit well into Blackpool.  Not the friendly atmosphere we encountered in Bourbon Street and police were everywhere.  Still every bar has live blues music and one or two bands were excellent.  Alfred’s above, is apparently world famous.  Ever heard of it?  No me neither!

Just packing up to drive the 4 hours to Nashville.  See you on the other side.  Toodaloo!

One thought on “So long Mississippi, it was real fun y’all….

  1. Sounds like a very educational ‘Blues ‘trip Nigel. All new to me as one of the few parts of USA I have not travelled. Best wishes to Linda…..hope she is not eating all that food!! ( just back from a fab week in the RAF Club, where we celebrated 50 years marriage and dinner with Michael Caine’s daughter at the IVY, plus a weekend with the family treating them to private dining in St Albans). Looking forward to Seattle etc, which I know well!!

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