Day 17 – Memphis

Have you ever been to Memphis an’ you stopped at Uncle Jim Kinnane? He will pay more for a woman, any farmer pay for land. —Roosevelt Sykes, “Roosevelt’s Blues,” 1929

Sunday and it is a slow start to the day. Bernie and Hoff head over to Sun Studios for a tour. I have been to the studio two times and decided not to go.

  1. Beale St. 2. Sun Studios 3. National Civil Rights Museum 4. B.B. King’s Club 6. Peabody Hotel 7. Victorian Village Historical District 8. Main St. Trolley 9. Mud Island River Park 10. Stax Museum

One o’clock and Wendy and I head down to Beale St for lunch. Not much happening this time of the day. Beale Street looks a little sad when the lights are not blazing, the music blaring and the crowds are roaming the street. One of the shops that has been a bit of an institution, Tater Red’s, has closed for good. We decided to have lunch at the Tin Roof, we were the only people in the place, a few people wandered in a bit later.

We went back to the apartment and waited for Hoff and Bernie to come back. The plan is to go back to Beale, and have a look at the Rum Boogie Cafe and have a quiet afternoon of music. Chardonnay in Memphis (if you can find it) is of the cardboard box vintage. Apple Cider is mostly not available. I got the drinks in. I left my blogging book on the bar and the lovely bar attendant found it and returned it to me (a cunning plan). There is a blues singer on stage. Chris Gale, he is listenable. There are only eight of us seated around the bandstand. After about half an hour there are only us four and one other punter.

We left the bar around six. Hoff and Bernie have researched a fancy wine bar and are off to taste a few different vintages. Beale Street is starting to happen now as most of the bars are pumping out Blues standards and there are many more tourists about.

I am pretty tired so Wendy and I headed back for an early night. My plan was to get some take-out chicken from Gus’s but there was at least a half-hour wait. Hopefully with a long sleep tonight I will be up and about tomorrow.

Day 16 – Memphis

You went to Memphis, found a butter an’ egg man there And now you’re trying to, give your regular man the air. —Charlie Spand, “Ain’t Gonna Stand For That,” 1929

It is going to be a pleasant day for walking around Memphis, with no rain and 19 degrees.

Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy, won’t you look down over me?
Yeah, I got a first-class ticket
But I’m as blue as a boy can be

Then I’m walking in Memphis
Was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel? – (Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn)

Wendy and I took a Trolly to ride the length of Main Street. Interestingly we ride Trollys in Memphis and Street Cars in New Orleans. This is my third visit to Memphis and a lot of the sights are familiar to me. There are more people on the hustle than in the other cities we have so far visited. On our way back to the apartment I called into Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. It is only 11:30 and the restaurant is already full of people and many more are waiting for take-out. It is never too early for fried chicken. A good ‘ole boy complimented me on my Muscle Shoals Swampers t-shirt.

Lunch today was at Memphis’ oldest restaurant (est 1919) and the favorite hangout for Elvis. The Arcade restaurant is very busy due to the Elvis connection. I can’t go past the most famous sandwich in the world. Fried peanut butter, banana, and bacon. Good enough for the King, good enough for me. We all ordered our meal sans fries and the waitress has a look of disbelief on her face, even maybe distress. “What y’all don’t want fries?” The restaurant is trading on its fame as the food is very underwhelming.

Our first cultural visit for the day is the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame. The last time I was in Memphis the Hall of Fame was still in the planning process, it opened 1n 2015. The exhibits are all first class. As we read the names of all the inductees, Bernie and I decided to count the artists we had seen live. The count got very loud toward the end as we tried to outdo each other. Mighty proud to say R.R. 29 B.B. 26. The foundation hosts the International Blues Challenge each year and Australia has an incredible track record. This year WOW favorite Frank Sultana took out the solo/duo acoustic category. Another thing to note is that WOW has hosted at our club the following Inductees – Charlie Musselwhite, John Hammond, Big Jay McNeely, and Joe Louis Walker. Visit

Our next visit is to the Civil Rights Museum. The third visit for me and each time I go I feel the same raw emotions of sadness and at times disgust at what so-called civilized man can perpetrate so much pain and misery on another group of people. It is a sobering experience and, unfortunately, man’s inhumanity to man still continues around the world today. Of all the people I wished I had the chance to hear speak it would have to be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I know I have been leaving lots of links for you to enjoy. You just have to check this one for your own enlightenment. Dr. King was assassinated whilst most of us were living on this planet.

  1. The Infamous Balcony at the Lorraine Motel 2. Sister Rosa Parkes bus boycott 3. The shot was fired from this window

We head back to the apartment for a rest before dinner. Our location really is sensational We are able to walk to most of the attractions that are on our bucket list.

Tonight we are dining at the best-known rib place on the planet, Charlie Vergo’s Rendevous. Rendevous has been dishing up ribs for its basement premises since 1948. We had about a fifteen-minute wait to get a table (no reservations are allowed). We have two of Bernie’s very good friends Charles and Susanne meeting us at 6:30. Bernie and his wife Neva lived and worked in Cleveland, Ohio for some four years. Charles and Susanne were their neighbors and they all became lifelong friends. They are now back live in the suburbs of Memphis. They are a delightful couple and we had a great time talking about each of our countries. They are in real fear of the state of politics in the U.S.A. We shared an appetizer of sausage and cheese. I had a half-rack of ribs with sides of baked beans and a mustardy ‘slaw. Delicious, finger-licking good. If you are ever in Memphis you must give it a go.

A small section of the menu:











*All of the above served with Beans & Mustard Vinegar Based Slaw.

Served with slaw, pickles, peppers, cheese & crackers

Give us 24 hours notice and we’ll give you a big old skillet full of barbecue shrimp right there at your table … five mouth-watering pounds that’ll have up to eight people praising your name. For pricing and to place your order, just call a day ahead.