Sunday, November 04, 2007

Traveling around

Thought I'd better post something about our trip before Roberta takes off for her more distant destination. We did indeed have an excellent time -- enjoying Birmingham, Memphis, and our stops in between, being Tupelo, where we spent the night, and Oxford, where we walked the square and then toured William Faulkner's home.His novels are almost all set in the fictional town of Jefferson based on Oxford.

Our three days in Memphis included tours of music studios where Elvis (and many others) first recorded, and listening to some good music in the evenings in places with names like the Rum Boogie Cafe, Club 152, and BB King's Blues Cafe. We did NOT go to Graceland. We walked along the river and saw the ducks at theh Peabody Hotel.Other than raining the whole time we were in Tennessee and during our accidental side trip to Arkansas which resulted from trying to follow internet directions to get to our hotel, the music/tourist scene seemed "hopping". Beale Street reminded us of New Orleans.

The highlight in Birmingham was unexpectedly the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame where we paid a dollar extra ($3 instead of $2) for a personalized tour. Our tour guide was himself a member of the Jazz Hall of Fame, Frank "Doc" Adams, who told personal stories about the music scene in the south during the 30s and 40s and the impact of his High School music teacher, Professor "Fess" Whatley at the then all black high school in Birmingham, who instilled a sense of perfection and professionalism in his students and had I don't know how many go on to musical careers. "Doc" (he got his doctorate in music) played with the Duke Ellington band. He played clarinet for us. In this picture he is playing for the Ambassador from Hungary with a picture of "Fess" Whatley in the background.


Mary Uible Crowson said...

Catherine, I enjoyed the comments and we went to several of those places in Memphis (including Graceland) when I took the Youth Choir in 2006. Trust me, you did not miss anything in bypassing Graceland. We toured the studios, ate lunch at Rum Boogie, Peabody Ducks, etc. Some of the best fried chicken I've ever had was in Memphis at GUS' Fried Chicken, this little hole in the wall not far from Beale Street.

Serena said...


I'd be vaguely interested in seeing Graceland if only for the kitsch factor, but probably not worth the time and expense just for that.

Mary Uible Crowson said...

The graceland tour was like $25 as I recall. It was actually worth about $2---a waste of gas and would be next to "TOURIST TRAP" if it were in the dictionary.

Items from Uible photo album