Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Road Trip: Memphis, Tennessee

Back from Beale Street, Memphis, which I'm told is not the original Beale Street, Memphis. I'm not surprised to hear that. It's about four blocks long and jumpin' in the way tourist streets are jumpin'. I was surprised to see that the average age of the people there was 65 to 75. I'm pretty old, but I'm not 65 yet. The average color was white, which I do cop to being.

They made me wonder what the average age of the blues listeners is these days. Or whether I'm misinterpreting wildly and the actual draw is the fact you can drink beer on the street, just like in wild Miami or wild New Orleans.

We saw a couple of blues bands in the raw playing on the street, and it's nice that they do. The smoky barbecue ovens, the sounds and the flashing neon make for quite an experience. But if someone asked me where to find the Blues, I guess I wouldn't say Beale Street.

Previously, this morning, we'd gone down to Tutwiler in Mississippi, a beautiful town of wooden American houses and cypress swamps that I'd like to kvell about, but can't, as I can't see the picturesqueness representing actual jobs. But dang, I'd like to live there. The houses are great, the delta is lovely, the people are just amazingly friendly and the food is good. But the overall vibe is of doomed. I'm reluctant to say that as I grew up forty years ago among farmers whose rusty equipment fronted their properties and who still, if not prosper, at least survive. But what the hell do I know, I was there for four hours. They've probably thought about it, y'know, at least as much as I have.

This is Tutwiler's city hall.

And this is one of Tutwiler's candy stores

Tutwiler is the resting site of Sonny Boy Williamson II, Rice Miller. It'd be nice if everyone knew and showed appropriate recognition, but that might take a while.

In the meantime, we saw catfish surface between cypress knees in deep muddy bayous between the remaining houses.

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