Saturday, August 25, 2007

A fool such as I?

I must be a fool to come back from such a great vacation.

Maybe I should just pack my bags and go back to Nashville tonight!


It's tough to go from a relaxing seven day vacation to a hectic work day in just a matter of hours but that's the way it is. After leaving Nashville, Tennessee Wednesday afternoon we arrived back in Charlotte around 10:30 PM. In bed by 12:00, I was up early and back at it making deliveries and picking up where I left off the week before. Thursday and Friday were both hectic and very busy days. I have to close my eyes and only believe I am back in my cozy hotel room in Memphis to get away from it all but hey, that's alright.

The guys who took care of things for me while I was away did a great job with little or no trouble although they were very busy. Looks like I picked a bad week to go away but it is hard to predict when business will be slow or hot in this line of work. My hat's off to Bob, Ken and Harry for taking care of business while I was away.

Janet, my good luck charm, and I went to Memphis Tennessee for a few days, had a side trip to Tunica, Mississippi and then finished up our vacation in Nashville. The Memphis part of the trip was centered around the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. We went to the BIG concert at the fed ex forum on the 16th after visiting Graceland that morning. This was my fourth trip to Graceland and Janet's first. She really enjoyed it and so did I. We will have great memories from this trip for a long time to come. Check out this site to see more.

Graceland - Elvis

Here is a couple of pics from inside Graceland I took.

The concert was fantastic and we met people from all over. I plan to do an in depth review of the concert later but for now trust me it was Awesome! There were fan clubs there from nearly every country in the world. To name just a few there were folks from Canada, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, and many more of course. Many folks decided to follow that dream and come to Memphis for this one and I am sure they all found it too much to handle in one trip. Many will return again once they have been to Graceland, the promised land of rock and roll.

Here's some from the concert.

We toured Beale street where the Blues music style was born and later had lunch at Corky's BBQ on Poplar St. We also visited the Peabody Hotel downtown and saw the famous Peabody ducks. We went to Sun Studios waydown Union Ave., where Elvis recorded his first records and was discovered of course by a young lady named Marion Keisker. Sam Phillips owned the studio and was not really interested in Elvis but the persistence of Marion finally broke Sam's will and he had Elvis come in about a year later and record some songs. One thing led to another and Elvis started singing "That's Alright Mama" and Rock and Roll history was begun. It was fun to see all the history of Rock music right there including the very same microphone Elvis sang into. I myself was able to sing a few bars from Jailhouse Rock into that very mic Elvis used. I was glad they let me be there do just pretend I was Elvis for a moment in time.

This is the mic as we saw it, standing in the middle of the room and then in the past as Elvis used it.

Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash also used that mic and were artists that got their starts at Sun Studios. You can't really mention Memphis and Sun Studious without mentioning that Sam Phillips was into the Blues. He started the studio to record the black blues artists of the day, living in Memphis playing down on Beale Street. Some of those included BB King, The Howling Wolf and even Ike Turner playing piano with a band who recorded what many call the first ever rock and roll song entitled "Rocket 88". Later when the studio had closed then reopened again in the 80's many more recent artists recorded at Sun Studios like Tom Petty, Def Leopard and U2. Check out the website it is a good one

Here is an interview with Scotty Moore Elvis's first guitarist if you want to read something nostalgic about the early days of Elvis.

Moving on I must say that Memphis is a nice city in places but all in all it is a poor city with most of the areas we saw being very downtrodden and in need of a Renaissance. It seems that Elvis is bringing a much needed influx of money to the city but I do not see where the local political structure is using it. Perhaps they are spending it all downtown but it is hard to tell. They are in dire need of major change in that city. I would venture to say if it were not for Elvis Presley, Memphis would be in serious trouble and on the verge of becoming like New Orleans before Katrina. There is a great history of the Blues in Memphis and from the looks of the city I can understand why people were always singing the blues. For the most part however when your in any particular part of Memphis you'll find yourself in the ghetto.

We stayed at the Memphis Hilton right off Poplar street and let me tell you it was as nice a Hotel room as I have ever stayed in. The bed was so comfortable I hated to leave. We picked a good place although it was about 8 or 10 miles from downtown. For the price it was more than I expected. It was more for business folks than Graceland tourists but we enjoyed it anyway. Our room was on the 14th floor so we had a nice view out over the area.

We went to Tunica for one evening and gambled a bit. We wound up winning a little money while we were there and ate at one of the buffets. It was fun and I hope to go back there again someday. Tunica was only about 45 minutes from Memphis so it was an easy drive for us. There were three casinos right next to each other in one spot so we settled in there and tried them all out. It was over 100 degrees outside so it was nice to spend the day indoors where the air conditioners were on full blast.

We stayed at the Wyndham Resort of Nasvhille just across from the OpryLand Hotel and where the knew Opryland building is located. The Hotel was amazing, I've never seen anything like it except maybe in Vegas. I would like to stay there next time I go to Nashville.

Inside the Opryland Hotel complex.

While in downtown Nashville we toured a place that is legendary to Country music and Elvis fans alike. It is called Studio B and Elvis recorded over 250 songs there. many more folks recorded there including Jim Reeves, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, Charlie Pride, Chet atkins, Floyd Cramer and Dolly Parton to name only a few. The tour guide told us about Dolly's first recording session. She was so nervous when she pulled into the parking lot she hit the wall and knocked some of the blocks out. In other words she had a tremendous impact on country music and the studio itself! (hehehe) They had some of the original equipment set up in the studio that these famous artists used to record with. There is a 1939 piano that Floyd Cramer used and Elvis also played many times during the 20 years he recorded there.

We walked up and down Broadway which is the main drag where musicians play and various clubs in Nashville. It is full of bars, saloons, souvenir shops, and restaurants. We ran across a small Charlie Daniels museum there while we looked around and I of course had to go in and check it out. He is one of my all time favorites.

The Country Music Hall of Fame was a very interesting place with lots of exhibits and memorabilia. We enjoyed our visit there and it was fun to see the history of the music I grew up with. Here is a link that that website.

Country Music Hall of Fame

We also visited the Zoo while we were there and it was nothing special, just another Zoo. After you have been to the Zoo in any city they all seem to look the same, it was too hot to be walking around outside anyway and since we visited during the week hardly no one was there. Perhaps it's better on the weekend when they gear up for the bigger crowds.

So that's about it. another vacation under our belts. I am thankful to God that he has blessed us with the good fortune to be able to travel and see things we like to see. Next we plan to go to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park. Still trying to decide which one to go see first.

Well I hope this little blog allowed you to walk a mile in my shoes even if it was only make believe for a few minutes of your day. For now it's over yet if your ever in Nashville or Memphis Tennessee one night and you run into Elvis just tell him Jim said hello.

He'll know what you mean.

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