The Greatest Ride of Our Lives, Part 2: Graceland and Sun Studio
From Knoxville, we took off for Memphis, bypassing Nashville which, for all its historical importance, seemed less relevant to our own magical musical tour. I’ve been to Nashville before; I can take it or leave it. I’ve been to Memphis before, as well, once on the way back from South by South West in 1987, where we (the band 3 Colors and myself) parked our RV at the Graceland campground overnight and toured what I recall as a much less commercialized Graceland the following morning, and again in the early 1990s where I spent a weekend filming a clip with Linda Gail Lewis, Jerry Lee’s little sister; that was an adventure I will never forget though I have yet to properly tell it.
This time, when we parked up at the Graceland campground, we pitched tent. We arrived just as Elvis Week was winding down; the buzz from the annual pilgrimage to the home of Elvis Presley was still evident. We spent Monday morning touring Graceland as a family. I could, at another time, offer a more detailed observation than the captions under the pictures, but let those suffice for now. At $36, Graceland is not cheap, but nor is it a rip-off, and there were more exhibitions offered for our ticket price than we could take in in one half day. However, it was hard to keep the kids amused at Graceland for too long: I had been educating Noel about the King for weeks in advance, but he rightly came to the conclusion that he preferred Young Elvis to Old Elvis – and much of Graceland celebrates the older period.
We left the kids at home at the camp ground that afternoon when Posie and I went to Sun Studio. In retrospect, I wish I had taken Noel there instead of Graceland; the guided tour of the two-story building was brief, it was fun, it was personal, and it connected the items on display with the songs they generated, songs that I know Noel appreciates. Any which way, standing in that recording room, holding that microphone, just thinking of all the people who have recorded there over the years was an experience I will not forget. As you can surmise from the photographs…
(As per the previous photo gallery, click on the image below to start up the slide show; click on the 1:1 button in that slide show to view the image in a larger size. Unfortunately, the full captions don’t appear on the slide show; for that, you must click on the actual number of each image below this first photo. Double-click again to view it full size.)
…Posie and I briefly took in Beale Street, the former heart of the Memphis music scene, after Sun Studios, but passed up on the idea of visting with the family that evening because it wasn’t kid-friendly. Instead, we partook a meal out at a bar-be-que joint close to Graceland that willingly fed us all vegetarian and vegan food, along with a highly recommended local brew, the Ghost River Golden Ale. The next day was to have us driving on, but not before my real reason for staying in Memphis: the Stax Museum. That, as they sort of say, is a different photo story.