Hank – Today we visited Sun Studio, which is essentially the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll music. Sam Phillips started out as a recording service, the Memphis Recording Service, and later created the recording studio known as Sun Studio. It was cool to visit the place where so many pioneers recorded. The amplifier used when recording Rocket 88 is there. This was the first used of distortion for a guitar only because the amp had a damaged speaker cone and they stuffed newspaper inside to help the cone keep it’s shape. Sam liked the sound very much.
We also went to the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. They do a great job of showing how country, gospel, and blues music melded to create new sounds. There were quite a few artists I had never heard of. One particular entertaining example are the Mar-Keys, a group of kids who formed a band in high school and played rhythm & blues. When they’d get booked at a black venue the curtain would open and everyone would think they had been tricked because the band members were white. The band would have to play to prove they were the real deal. Probably not something that would happen today. But more importantly, the museum shows how blacks, more so, but also women, worked to overcome racial, gender, and socio-economic barriers.
There’s a display on WDIA, the first radio station programmed exclusively for African-Americans. Also WHER, the first radio station for women and staffed by women.
Kathy found some folding money on the floor. It was two tens and a five. There weren’t that many people in the place so I went around asking people if they had lost some money. Everybody said no. Since my back was sore from standing most of the day I went out to the front desk to sit and rest. While I was there a gentleman walked up and told the cashier his wife had dropped some money in the museum and asked if anyone had turned it in. I told him we had found some money and asked what was lost. Two tens and a five we’re reunited with their proper owner. Yay!
Next up was some gelato and then we went to Mud Island. The museum wasn’t open but there is a cool scale model of the lower Mississippi River you can walk alongside and travel from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana. I think the scale was 30 inches = 1 mile, so it’s a good walk.
After spending much of the day on our feet we returned to our room and started getting everything ready to get back on the road tomorrow.
Kathy – Hank summed up our day nicely. I really don’t have much to add. It was a good sunny day in Memphis for walking about. Enjoyed the museums and exploring Mud Island. Lots of hours on our feet today, now ready to get back on the saddle tomorrow. 🚴♀️ 🚴♂️
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