Old Timers Blues
CHASING THE BLUES, CHAPTER 13: Memphis, TN
With nothing planned beyond going to hear ‘Dr. Feelgood’ on Beale Street tonight, we decided to spend the morning planning where to go next. Reservations made through Saturday night in St. Louis, we finally emerged from our cocoon and strolled over to Rendezvous, hoping to have another shot of barbecue sauce before leaving town. Alas, Monday is their day off, so we walked to the six-block Main Street Pedestrian Mall, where we ate an adequate meal at Yao’s China Bistro.
The classic merchandise shares space with historic retail artifacts used in the store during the course of its history. Items local to Memphis are also featured, including an extensive collection of music. Even I fell into the memorabilia trap and bought a small Gumby and Pokey to travel with us.
The label reads: "This candle is fixed and dressed with Stop Gossip oil and herbs to ward off backbiting and malicious talk by jealous rivals. Set this light with your name-paper beneath, face up. Pray the 91st Psalm and burn the candle straight through, as you spiritually clean your self and home. Then fold a pinch of salt and pepper in the paper and wear it in your shoe to protect yourself."
From Schwab, we walked down to South 3rd Street and the Gibson Guitar Factory, hoping to get into the 3:00 tour. Little did we realize what a popular attraction this tour is. Not only was the 3:00 filled, the remainder of times today and tomorrow were booked solid. So we checked out the store, where we saw guitars offered from $100 to $10,000.
|Fine axes from Gibson|
|Rock 'n' Soul Museum|
Later, after dinner, we returned to Beale Street to hear our old friend Dr. Feelgood Potts, whose performance we had enjoyed so much in 2010 with my sister and brother-in-law. By the time we arrived at the Blues Hall Juke Joint, every table was occupied. We wrangled an invitation to join Heidi and her husband Dave from Buffalo at their table, where we spent the next several hours conversing with them between songs. Dave is retired and eager to move to Sarasota away from Buffalo winters, but Heidi wants to get their youngest settled in college up north first.
Their older son is a blues musician in Buffalo and helped guide their plans for this trip. Like us, they have been chasing the blues. After visiting family in Florida, they drove to New Orleans, then up the Blues Highway to Clarksdale before coming to Memphis. Whereas we’re continuing on US-61 to St. Louis, their next stop is Nashville, where they’ll check out another kind of music before heading back home to New York. We were grateful to the fortuitous series of events that put us at the same table so we could enjoy comparing notes on our common paths.
|The Dr. Feelgood Potts Band|
|Beale Street neon|
Before we leave, here's a little bit more Memphis blues.
Sonny Mack on Beale Street