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I’ve Got the Music in Me

April 12, 2012

Today I watched a heartrending video on You Tube of an elderly man whose life energy was regenerated with an iPod and the music of his youth (hat tip to Tony Settles).  Watch it here:

We all have a soundtrack of our lives. I strongly suspect that Adult Son Nelson, when he is not in Magister, Distinguished Teacher of Latin mode, still punctuates his days with snippets of songs from Queen to Bach and back again.

But when it comes to life soundtracks, there is nothing better than being a Memphis Boomer. We didn’t have deejays, my dear, we had the real thing:  Memphis music!  Thanks to the  high school Greek system in place in the 1960’s, we had glorious opportunities to listen and dance to Stax and soul legends like Sam and Dave, Rufus Thomas, Booker T and the MG’s, the Bar-kays, and let us never forget, the scandalous Doug Clark and his (unprintable band name). This is what less-seasoned generations now refer to as “Old School.”  Sheesh!

So my lifetrack has horns.  Lots of horns. Memphis horns!  And to my dying day, I will  never cease to thrill to Otis Redding’s world tour recording in France of “Try a Little Tenderness.”

We know instinctively that there is something non-Darwinian and transcendent about music. We aren’t really surprised when researchers document its compelling effects on our minds and bodies. And souls.

Because it’s soul music, part of the DNA of Memphis.  And the music lives on in River City. Yeah, baby!

What is your favorite Memphis music memory?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Cliff Fleenor permalink
    April 12, 2012 11:07 am

    Great post Eve. Remarkable video. How well I remember the Memphis sound on warm Spring/Summer nights cruisin with the windows down. My fav memory is probably a large function in big downtown ballroom with Sam & Dave if I recall correctly. Doesn’t matter. Next best thing was really just as good back then. Rock, Memphis, Motown, all seemed connected. We seemlessly moved from one song in one genre to another of both without notice. Best wishes on the Memphis project. I’m 43 years gone from my hometown but still wish everyone today could know the city we knew back then. CJF

  2. April 12, 2012 11:29 am

    Hi, Cliff! How wonderful to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your memories. Yes, you must have been at the Peabody for Sam and Dave. Maybe someone still has a flyer they will share. You are sorely missed, Cliff. Don’t forget us and please consider coming down for a visit. God bless!

  3. April 13, 2012 5:58 am

    In 1980 The Blues Brothers toured here in a show at the Mid-South Coliseum. A group of us from the movie theater where I worked bought out the 13th row on the floor. Best. Show. Ever. We were on our feet the entire time. John Belushi’s energy was incredible to behold. Paul Schaeffer led that band while they toured, so in one night I got to see some phenomenal performers.
    Later on that year some of these same friends and I went down to Overton Square and snuck into a club to see Calculated X, a local band that was garnering attention as a new wave power pop group. Their synth sound was fantastic, covering Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran” and outdoing them. They released a little record and then disbanded, one of the members giving up the band for his dentistry practice (I know, right?).
    In the next few years I went to the Coliseum to see Genesis, The Police, Hall and Oates (featuring another Saturday Night Live alum, guitarist G.E. Smith), and Fleetwood Mac, whom Glenn Frye opened for. Good shows and good memories, to have graduated from high school (and college!) on the same stage where these groups played.

    • April 13, 2012 10:10 am

      Sounds awesome, Darrell. Great performers, great memories of music-filled nights in Memphis. I would have loved to have seen the Blues Brothers. Thanks for posting!

  4. Luke Prescott permalink
    April 14, 2012 6:20 pm

    Hey Eve . . .and Eddie,
    Great video from the nursing home. I hope they’ll give me my iPod when my time comes to join the “home”.

    I grew up with Stax in Memphis, too. My favorite Memphis Music memory was a summer twilight concert by Booker T & the MGs at the Overton Park Shell (late 60’s) with my friends Mick, Mary Ann, & Diana. I can still picture Al Jackson Jr. tapping one final bell-like lingering tone on the cymbal to finish a song… I think it was “Summertime”.

    And you picked the exact version of my favorite song, “Try A Little Tenderness” . . . I heard it first on the “Stax – Live in Paris” album.

    Also, I guess you’ve heard by now that we lost Andrew Love from the “Memphis Horns” this week. He was the sax player with Wayne Jackson (on trumpet) who backed up most of Stax sessions.

    • April 14, 2012 8:09 pm

      Hi, Luke! What an awesome (and quintessential) Memphis music memory! Wish I had been there. Summertime is a song that emanates from deep in the soul of the South. Probably my favorite song of all time.

      I did read today about the passing of Andrew Love. What an extraordinary talent he was. The story of his partnership with Wayne Jackson is one of those slices of Memphis history we hear too little about. Music has done more to reconcile the races than any other effort. And in Memphis, in the South–didn’t it really start with Elvis?

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