Our trip through Memphis featured music, of course. After dinner at Central BBQ (read about that here) we walked to the Peabody Hotel to see the landmark and check out the rooftop party. It appeared to be an after-work or after-conference, midweek hotspot for the mostly middle-aged crowd. We fit right in. The Dantones Band were great and especially got folks going with, “Don’t Stop Believin'” and other 80s hits. The rooftop at the Peabody gives you a nice view of downtown Memphis. I was hoping to see the ducks but they were “sleeping” according to a bellman. After one beer (ginger for me), dark skies prompted us to cut our time on the rooftop short. Besides, the blues were calling.
Next we landed at the Blues Hall Juke Joint. The band playing was the Memphis Blues Masters featuring singer Queen Ann Hines and they were everything you hope for from Beale street. I’m not a blues expert but what we heard we liked a lot. Good playing — someone announced the drummer had once played with Reverend Al Green himself — and singing. Queen Ann is a powerful performer. At one point she walked out into the crowd during “Misty Blue” without a mic for a short tribute to service men and women, St. Jude patients and loved lost ones. It was a nice touch.
We moved over to the original BB King’s Blues Club for one set by the BB King All Stars. The 7-piece band, including horns, keys, drums and two guitars, leaned more toward jazz and pop than hard-core blues and they knew how to make the most of big moments. The set concluded with Prince’s Purple Rain which morphed into the National Anthem in the middle.
Gotta run, now. We are going to Graceland before we head to Tupelo. More later.