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Auld Lang Syne-in’ ~ Memphis Style

December 30, 2012

There’s an unwritten rule for everyone who pens a column or blog:

Must write year-end reflection on times gone by and times to come.

No rule-breakers, we!

ron weasley breaking the rules

And so, on this sixth day of Christmas (we’re not slow, we’re  Anglican), Dear Readers, we pause to muse on 2012 as it begins to slip our grasp, and await with hope the new year. We’ll do this in two posts, with Part II our take on Memphis’ top stories of 2012.

[NOTE OF APOLOGY TO EMAIL FOLLOWERS: If you are a Loyal Follower who receives new Back in River City posts by email (and we love you for this), you may have noticed that the embedded videos never work.  This is a WordPress  failing that apparently won’t be remedied until we have the re$ource$ to build our own website.  So, to get the full impact of this and every fun-filled post, you will need to click over to  We have included a number of  memorable videos in this post, so click to enjoy!]

If you’re not one of the 6.5 million people who has already watched it, Google has a great video of the top searches of 2012:

Meanwhile, Memphis mourned greatly in 2012.

We suffered the loss of some of our most heralded and beloved musical legends last year, including Duck Dunn of Booker T and the MG’s,

Andrew Love of the incomparable Memphis Horns (both of whom played the soundtrack of my youth),

and adopted Memphian Marguerite Piazza, a music star of international magnitude from the Greatest Generation who was treasured also for her philanthropic work for local arts and St. Jude.

Another Boomer music icon, BB Cunningham of the rare and unforgettable Memphis-rockabilly-goes-psychedelic genre “Let it All Hang Out”

was shot and killed while working as a security guard, a gig that paid the bills when he wasn’t touring with the Jerry Lee Lewis band.

wher1955_lsWe also lost Marge Thrasher White, another Memphis icon, whose lengthy radio and television career began at Sam Phillips‘ groundbreaking “All Girls Station” WHER in the 1950’s. (Marge is third from right in the back row. My beautiful mother  Laura Willins Yeargain Walker, whom we lost in 2011, is on the far right. Such is the perquisite of bloggers to shamelessly include pictures of their loved ones at any opportunity.)

Finally, and most tragically, Memphis lost a brave police officer at the end of martoiya lang2012 that darkened Christmas for all of us. Martoiya Lang served our community with her life. There is a Facebook page for Officer Lang where all can pay tribute. The page contains information about how to contribute to a trust fund being set up at SunTrust Bank for her school aged children. Please pray for these children and remember daily our police and fire fighters, whose protection we so often take for granted.

Just as Memphis music has  so many times brought us together, so does the loss of one of our own.

And now, because I can, I’ll leave you with my all-time Stax favorite, a live recording  of Otis Redding‘s “Try a Little Tenderness” from his 1967 European tour. (The album cut from “Otis Redding: Live in Europe” is THE definitive version. This is close.)  Otis’ passion and Andrew Love’s genius horn playing have never failed to wrench every ounce of white chick soul I’ve got from inside me. Music doesn’t get any better than this, my friends. And we made it in Memphis.

Have a special memory associated with Duck Dunn, Booker T and the MGs, the Memphis Horns Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love,  BB Cunningham, Otis Redding, or Marguerite Piazza? Share it!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2012 7:07 pm

    Peace & Love – I agree with you. Reflection of our past, present, and future concerning our performing arts talent here in Memphis, Tennessee, is the best policy for preserving our cities overall viability.

    • December 30, 2012 10:50 pm

      Thanks, David. We appreciate your perspective as a Memphis performing artist!

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