Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beale Street and BB

Memphis ...  Beale Street and BB King ... we did it all ... and loved every minute of it.

Today, we traveled from Knoxville to Memphis in beautiful sunny weather.  Tennessee is a gorgeous state.  We did take a 16 mile detour off I40-W. We never did find the restaurant that was supposed to be 8.5 miles off the interstate ... and wasn't ...  but it was worth it, since the drive was spectacular ... green lush countryside everywhere we looked. Our poor GPS lady was repeatedly "recalculating," but we continued to ignore her!  We ended up at a restaurant that served fried baloney sandwiches .. only in Tennessee. Ed was in hog heaven!

We reached Memphis about 3:30.  Our hotel was right across the street from the Fed Ex Forum and around the corner from Beale Street.  After changing into shorts and tank tops (it was 97 degrees here), we headed for Mecca ... Beale Street.

First stop: BB King's ... for a quick drink ... only to learn the music didn't start until 6 or so.  So on to Silky's O'Sullivan Bar ... only in Memphis can you find a "Blues bar" with an Irish theme ... check out Ed's glass.

There was live music at Silky's, but sitting outside in the patio in 97 degree weather got old in a hurry. We left there and were lured into King's Palace Cafe for Happy Hour in the air conditioned bar. We had a delightful bartender who had no front teeth ... top or bottom.  I understood about 50% of what he said.  Ed claimed to understand 75%.  He was a nice man, but wiped his nose with the side of his hand and then put a lime into Ed's vodka tonic. Sorry, Ed. I should have told you sooner!

About 5:30, the live music started with David Bowen singing and playing guitar.  He was really good, so were faced with a dilemma. What to do since Ed's dream was to eat at BB King's House of Blues and listen to music there.  Not wanting to betray BB, we skipped across the street to his establishment, only to find a couple of young white men playing rock.  Say what?  We were in Memphis .... where were the Blues???  We left (sorry, BB) and headed back to King's Palace and spent the next 2 hours listening to David play and sing wonderful blues music ... Eric Clapton, Marvin Gaye, BB King, the Temptations, etc. We are even bringing home an autographed copy of David's CD ... at $15, quite a deal I'm sure. The night was everything Ed had hoped it would be .. and more.  At one point, Ed left (I thought he went to the bathroom).  When he came back, he told me he had gone outside and tried to get people to come inside.  Ever the huckster!  Hey, BECOTS ... a trip to Beale Street might be just the ticket for the next Convention!

It's amazing how many bars there are on Beale Street ... all with music ... and alcohol of course.  I wonder how many other talented musicians there were that we missed ... somehow, we didn't feel deprived.

A little bit of rain chased away the street acrobats and some spectators, but it did bring out the folks in their weird rain outfits. Where DID those people find them? Do they sell those outfits at the street bars? People watching ... doesn't get much better. It was a fabulous night.  We love Memphis .. and especially Beale Street.  

Tomorrow ... Graceland and Elvis!

No comments: