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 blues.org
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.
- 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:
CHARBROILED PORK RIBS Large Order 22.75
CHARBROILED PORK RIBS Small Order 18.25
CHARBROILED PORK RIBS Full Slab for Two
COMES WITH TWO BEANS, TWO SLAW 33.00
PORK RIBS & SHOULDER COMBINATION 23.50PORK RIBS & CHICKEN BREAST COMBINATION 23.50
PORK RIBS & BRISKET COMBINATION 23.50
GRILLED HALF CHICKEN 18.50
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST 14.50
BEEF BRISKET 19.50
LAMB RIBLETS MKT
PORK SHOULDER PLATE 12.50
*All of the above served with Beans & Mustard Vinegar Based Slaw.
MEATLESS RED BEANS & RICE 12.00
Served with slaw, pickles, peppers, cheese & crackers
SKILLET OF SHRIMP
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.