What had been a layered reference in a smoky song became a delicious, life and live music affirming experience for us last week when we went walking in Memphis.
Beale Street pulsates with a captivating combination of history and good ole American fun. Its bars and juke joints beckon from a street named officially by a 1971 Act of Congress, the Birthplace of the Blues.
We strolled aimlessly and poked our heads in random places, summoned by the deceptively mellow sounds of the blues. We put our feet up and relaxed in a patio as the talented Sonny Mack and The Mack II Band played. Then, Molly and I jumped up and danced with people we had never met. Molly enjoyed a spontaneous, mid-song guitar lesson from Sonny himself.
That would have been enough, Memphis, but you offered more.
We ate ribs so tender and tasty our teeth took a backseat to our taste buds, and forked breaded catfish so fresh it flaked.
Your food was delicious, Memphis, then you showed us more.
We wandered down to the river, past the historic Orpheum Theatre, to work off our heavy meal. Magnolia blossoms shook petals in our path, the setting sun glinted off a Mississippi Riverboat and the Hernando de Soto bridge arched across it all. The Memphis Riverwalk features cool art, including a sculpture depicting an 1871 Yellow Fever epidemic, which led to Beale Street’s rise. It also houses a fitness trail, built in conjunction with the Memphis Grizzlies, which I discovered the following morning.
Eventually, we made our way back to Beale Street, where we happily frittered the night away, toasting, once again, the happy gift of live music on a street where one of its loveliest genres began.