From Stax To Beale

The final piece of the Memphis triumvirate was Stax Records.Stax

I found it to be an interesting tour but it didn’t leave as much of an impression on me as Graceland and Sun Studios.

It seemed more sterile and business like where as Graceland and Sun Studios had a much more intimate feel.  Stax was more like they took the space and revamped it into a museum rather than preserving the space as it was when it was a working studio pumping out hits in the 60’s and 70’s.

Even when you walked into the big studio room I just couldn’t get any vibe off or it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an interesting and an enjoyable experience.  It just didn’t hit me like Sun and Graceland.   I definitely recommend if you’re a musician or just a music lover that you stop by and take the tour.

The most disappointing part of Memphis for me was Beale Street.

BealeI was excited to take in the sights and sounds of Beale Street but I found it to be more of a tourist venue.

There was music and bands everywhere.  Some of them were quite good and some were quite average.

It was almost like a Top 40 of Blues venue.  Every band was doing the same blues or what I would call Memphis songs.

The vast majority of tourist probably dictates this as they come to Memphis expecting to hear the popular Johnny Cash and Elvis songs, or the more standard, better known blues songs.

I, on the other hand was looking for the current Memphis music scene.  Where were the new artists with their original sound?  It wasn’t on Beale Street.

Maybe I should have researched this before my trip but with all the clubs on Beale Street I wasn’t expecting that they would all have bands playing the same songs.  If I knew the right person maybe they could have told me where to find the clubs and venues that featured what I was looking for.   I wasn’t very enamored with the idea of venturing off of Beale Street by myself at night.

Or perhaps there is no new original Memphis music scene.  Maybe all the locals are living off of the ghosts of Elvis, Johnny Cash and Sun Studios.  I hope that’s not the case and really don’t think it is in a city with as deep of musical roots as there are in Memphis.

If I ever get back I going to do my research ahead of my visit and find that scene.

My next music pilgrimage will be to the opposite end of Tennessee, Nashville.

But first I need to take my wife somewhere that’s a bit more interesting to her.

Not that she was totally bored or didn’t enjoy our time in Memphis but there is only so much of Elvis you can take in 3 days.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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