Sense Of Place

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"We went to Memphis looking for great music, barbecue and the ghost of Elvis."
-David Dye, World Cafe

Memphis Map

Sense of Place: Memphis

David Dye here. The World Cafe crew went to Memphis, Tennessee for our fifth visit in our Sense of Place series looking for great music, barbecue and the ghost of Elvis. We were drawn by the city's rich past honored in Memphis' outstanding museums, especially The National Civil Right Museum and The Stax Museum. And of course there’s Graceland. which - while preserving Elvis' exorbitant, over-the-top 1970's décor - surprised us by being smaller than it has become in our minds!

But the places that moved me the most were the living breathing parts of Memphis. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is just part of The Soulsville Foundation. The Stax Academy teaches music after school and The Soulsville Charter School prepares students for college. To see rows of kids marching from class to class and to witness the mentoring (attention to getting into college they get) from the staff was uplifting. It's all about the community using the past for the future at Soulsville. Another high point was being taken by Reverend John Wilkins to Royal Studios where Willie Mitchell recorded all of Al Green's hits. It's not a museum; in fact Boz Scaggs recently finished recording there. You can see my reaction walking into the vocal booth and seeing the microphone Al sang "Let's Stay Together" and "Tired Of Being Alone" into on our Reverend John Wilkins video. Then there was the late Saturday night hang at Wild Bill's juke joint, far from Beale Street, where locals got all the way down -on the floor - dancing while the quarts of Bud flowed freely.

We brought the Memphis vibe back. You can see it on the videos and hear it on the radio show. If you have a chance to visit, take it. Eat fried Chicken at Gus' and have a chopped pork sandwich at Payne's barbecue and discover where all that great American music came from.

Stax

Explore the sounds of what began as a tiny record store in an old movie theater at the corner of McLemore Avenue and College Street in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew to become one of the most important music recording studios in the world.

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Sun Studio

Explore the Birthplace of Rock N' Roll. A recording studio opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips and home to the "Million Dollar Quartet" - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

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Ardent Studios

In 1959, a 15 year old John Fry wanted a name for his new studio and label. He looked to the dictionary and the answer was given: Ardent: Hot, burning, fiery, passionate, spirited, intense: “an ardent music lover.”

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Royal Studios

Royal Studios is a recording studio located in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Established in 1956, it is one of the oldest continuously operated music recording studios in the world.

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American Studios

American Sound Studio was a recording studio located at 827 Thomas Street in Memphis, Tennessee. More than one hundred hit songs were recorded there between its founding 1967 and its closing in 1972, The music for these hits was played by the house band "The Memphis Boys", also known as the "827 Thomas Street Band". -Wikipedia

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Sense of Place series made possible by a grant from
The Wyncote Foundation

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