Tag Archives: Memphis

August 16: Elvis Presley died in 1977


elvis presley 1969

When I first heard Elvis’ voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock & roll religion as it exists in today’s form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.
~Bob Dylan (1987)

His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.
~President Jimmy Carter
August 17, 1977

Elvis Presley is a supreme figure in American life, one whose presence, no matter how banal or predictable, brooks no real comparisons. … The cultural range of his music has expanded to the point where it includes not only the hits of the day, but also patriotic recitals, pure country gospel, and really dirty blues. … Elvis has emerged as a great artist, a great rocker, a great purveyor of schlock, a great heart throb, a great bore, a great symbol of potency, a great ham, a great nice person, and, yes, a great American.
~Greil Marcus (The Village Voice – Apr 7, 1975)

My Way:

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Continue reading August 16: Elvis Presley died in 1977

August 15: Jim Dickinson passed away in 2009

jim dickinson

August 15: Jim Dickinson passed away in 2009

“(Jim Dickinson is)…. that magical musical maestro from Memphis….   he was the kind of guy you could call to play piano, fix a tractor, or make red cole slaw from scratch.”
-Bob Dylan

“There are cool cats and there are cool Memphis cats but no one, not Elvis, not Jerry Lee, not even the Wolf came close to epitomizing Memphis and cool like Jim Dickinson did. He was the Top Cat Daddy, an inspiration, a mentor and my friend.

If you knew his music and understood his role as one of the links between black and white culture and between blues and rock and roll, you know what I’m talking about. If he is unfamiliar to you, now’s as good time as any to get to know him, even though he’s checked out of the motel.”
-Joe Nick Patoski

John Brown (from his great 1972 album “Dixie Fried” – words by Bob Dylan):

Continue reading August 15: Jim Dickinson passed away in 2009

July 11: Elvis recorded Mystery Train in 1955

elvis presley 1955

 

July 11: Elvis recorded Mystery Train in 1955

“Mystery Train” is one of Presley’s most haunting songs, a stark blues number that sounds ancient but was actually first cut only two years before by Memphis blues singer Junior Parker. Presley recorded it with the groove from the flip side of the same Parker single, “Love My Baby,” and Sun producer Phillips’ taut, rubbery echo effect made guitarist Scotty Moore’s every note sound doubled. Presley added a final verse — “Train . . . took my baby, but it never will again” — capped by a celebratory falsetto whoop that transformed a pastoral about death into a song about the power to overcome it.
~rollingstone.com

Train arrive, sixteen coaches long
Train arrive, sixteen coaches long
Well that long black train got my baby and gone

Train train, comin’ ’round, ’round the bend
Train train, comin’ ’round the bend
Well it took my baby, but it never will again (no, not again)

Train train, comin’ down, down the line
Train train, comin’ down the line
Well it’s bringin’ my baby, ’cause she’s mine all, all mine
(She’s mine, all, all mine)

Continue reading July 11: Elvis recorded Mystery Train in 1955

June 25: Eddie Floyd is 79 Happy Birthday

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eddie-floyd

.. a workmanlike singer and a very accomplished songwriter, who showed occasional flashes of brilliance.
~The Rough Guide to Soul and R&B

“…I’d had nothing directly to do with Motown while I’d been in Detroit, I’d still been around a lotta their artists and seen from a distance how they did things. And so, when I eventually got to Memphis, I could see that it was pretty much the SAME – you know, musicians getting together producing music, with everybody in the same groove… So yeah, working at Stax was very easy, because everybody was open-minded. You know, Al and I first met (legendary MGs guitarist) Steve Cropper at the same time we met Jim Stewart. So what would happen is, Cropper and I would more or less go off to the hotel, sit down and talk about music – and BOOM, almost immediately we’d WRITE something! While Al Bell and Jim Stewart would go off and talk about music and BUSINESS… So yeah, that’s the way it started – and it just moved on from THERE! I later went on to write with Booker T., which was great too. You know, Stax was all about TEAM-work. Like if an artist was recording and needing backing singers, I’d go and sing on THEIR record, and in turn they’d sing on MINE! That’s just the way we DID things.”
– Eddie Floyd (Blues&Soul.com, issue 1067)

Raise Your Hand – Live in Oslo 1967:

Continue reading June 25: Eddie Floyd is 79 Happy Birthday

June 17: Elvis Presley released From Elvis In Memphis in 1969

from-elvis-in-memphis

“Suddenly, Elvis had to be taken seriously because, suddenly, Elvis was taking the music seriously again. He was expressing his soul, which was plenty deep.”
~Robert Gordon

From Wikipedia:

From Elvis in Memphis is the ninth studio album by American rock and roll singer Elvis Presley, released on RCA Victor. The recording took place at American Sound Studio in Memphis in January and February 1969 under the direction of producer Chips Moman and with the backing of the house band, informally known as “The Memphis Boys”. A direct consequence of the success of Presley’s 1968 Christmas television special and its soundtrack, the recording marked the definite return of Presley to non-soundtrack albums after the completion of his movie contract with Paramount Pictures.

Continue reading June 17: Elvis Presley released From Elvis In Memphis in 1969