Memphis, Tennessee: Part 2

The first day of 2017 and nothing much has happened yet so let’s look back to our trip to Memphis TN in September of last year to record at the legendary Sun Studios and to Wheelgrinders’ guitarist Greg’s pilgrimages around the fabled home of Rockabilly.

Before we even arrived in Memphis we spent a few days in Nashville and along the I-40 highway between the two cities is the town of Jackson, home to the Godfather of Rockabilly, Carl Perkins. Carl passed away in 1998 and is interred at Ridgecrest Cemetary where Greg visited to pay his respects to this giant of the Rockabilly scene…a guy who’s songs are a staple in The Wheelgrinders’ live shows.

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Paying respects to a Rockabilly hero

Carl played at the famous Memphis landmark, the Overton Park Shell on June 1st 1956. The Shell was also where Elvis, with Scotty and Bill, played his first professional gig on July 30th 1954 and filled the place on August 5th 1955 along with headliner Webb Pierce, Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson, Sonny James, Charlie Feathers and a host of other Country and Western acts.

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Carl rockin’ The Shell in 1956
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Capacity crowd at The Shell, 1955
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Aerial view of the Overton Park Shell in 1953

The Shell is still there in Overton Park but is renamed the Levitt Shell and still hosts many concerts every year.

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The Levitt (Overton Park) Shell in September 2016

Of course Greg had to stand on that same stage where Elvis, Scotty and Bill, Carl Perkins, Charlie Feathers, Wanda Jackson and Billy Riley had rocked Memphis teenagers’ world back in the mid 1950s.

levitt-shell_02
Standing in the footprints of Rockabilly giants

….and looking out at where an enraptured audience sat in the now removed bleacher seats at the very birth of Rockabilly and Rock ‘n’ Roll screamin’ and hollerin’ for Elvis, Scotty and Bill on July 30th 1954.

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Born in the wrong decade. Oh to be standing here in 1954!

More to come in Part 3. Stay tuned!


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