Music Monday: Viva Las Vegas Edition

Hi, everyone.  I just made reservations yesterday for Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend 2018.  I’ve never attended the event, but it looks like a lot of fun.  The main reason I’m going is two musical acts:  Duane Eddy and Jerry Lee Lewis.  A friend told me she thought I’d also enjoy Narvel Felts, so I looked him up … and she’s right.  Here’s a little something from each of those three artists.


Music Monday: “Gimme Shelter,” by Playing for Change

Hi, everyone.  I’ve shared Playing for Change before.  Given the news from Las Vegas of the senseless violence there last night, it felt like the right time to do so again.  This video begins with an Irish proverb:  “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”  We are all connected, and we need to do better as a culture at remembering that.

Music Monday: Two Versions of “Sure to Fall”


Hi, everyone.  I’m still doing a lot of research and reading on the early Memphis music business.  One of the people I’m studying is the late Carl Perkins.  His popularity was eclipsed by Elvis Presley … even when it came to Perkins’ own “Blue Suede Shoes!”  People thought Perkins was covering Presley instead of the other way around.

A dejected Perkins eventually traveled to England for a show … where he found that he was greatly revered by the young musicians there.  In particular, he recalled George Harrison approaching him and asking how he’d played a particular section of “Matchbox” … and then telling his bandmates that they’d been doing it wrong.

Here are Carl Perkins and the Silver Beatles (as they were then calling themselves), each doing “Sure to Fall.”

Music Monday: Two Versions of “St Louis Blues”

I am reading a book right now called Beale Street Dynasty, by Preston Lauterbach.  It’s the story of Robert Church, the first African American millionaire … but it’s also the story of Memphis’ music scene and the influence of musicians of color thereon.

One of the most famous musicians discussed in the book is cornet player and composer W.C. Handy, who is considered by many to be the father of blues music.  He composed songs about issues of the day, such as “Mr. Crump,” which was about the mayor of Memphis.  He also wrote a song called “St. Louis Blues,” the idea for which came to him when he saw an inebriated woman wandering down Beale Street muttering about her hard-hearted man.

Handy also incorporated the concept of sundown towns and sundown orders (in which a given individual was ordered to leave town by sunset to avoid further prosecution or punishment) into the song.  The first line of the lyric is “I hate to see that evening sun go down.”

Here is Handy himself, performing the song on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town.”

Here is a version by Bessie Smith, so that you can hear the lyrics.

Music Monday: “Walking in Memphis”

Good morning, everyone!  One year ago today, I started this WordPress blog.  I’ve met some amazing people through the platform and am reading some fascinating blogs.  As of this writing, I have 77 followers … which is more than I ever envisioned.  I’m glad for every one of you who reads and shares my work.

Today’s song is Mark Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” … which is what I’m on my way to do today.  My regular features will be a little “off” this week as I do my research and exploration.

Thanks again, and enjoy the tune!