Showing posts with label Memphis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memphis. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nothing says 'Merry Christmas' like a good brawl

The Mormons must be thrilled by that sucker punch by BYU defensive back Kai Nacua. Uh . . . yeah.
Where's Robert Earl Keen when you need him to write a Christmas song about this.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rock-a-bye, baby!

If I'm tossin' and turnin', turnin' and tossin' all night. . . .

And if I kick the blankets on the floor, too. . . . 

Well, then my lovely bride can just blame Bill Black and His Combo.

More likely, though, she'll blame me for making this my choice for before-bedtime listening.

You do know Bill Black, right? Elvis' bass player in the early days?

WELL, this absolute period piece of an instrumental R&B LP is what Black did with his time when Elvis was off fulfilling his commitment to Uncle Sam with the U.S. Army in West Germany.

Listening to this absolute period piece of an instrumental R&B LP is what I do when it's time to go to bed . . . but not quite yet. Night owl that I am.

Yeah, it'll show up on 3 Chords & the Truth by and by. Of that, you can be sure.

Sadly, Bill Black died in 1965 during a third surgery to remove a brain tumor. He was only 39.

Praise God for records and used record stores, where musicians and their music live forever.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our misspent vacation: Memphis

The Mississippi delta was shining
Like a national guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war
I'm going to Graceland
In Memphis, Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland
-- Paul Simon

Saturday, April 05, 2008

3 Chords & the Truth: In the name of love

Forty years ago, I had no clue.

As a 7-year-old, I knew that a bad, bad thing had happened to an important man. I knew the man was dead. I knew people were rioting because he was dead.

BUT AS A Southern child growing up in a working-class, white and illiberal milieu, the only thing I knew about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was that he was not afforded the commonly benign label of "colored" and certainly not the formal moniker of "Negro" -- which you only heard on the TV and radio, anyway.

I had heard that he was something called a "communiss."

What I would find out later -- as I grew in knowledge and as my world grew in size and scope -- was that Martin Luther King Jr,. died not only so that African-Americans could be free in this "land of the free," but so that I might be free, too.

We may not be totally free yet, but we're getting there. And because one man obeyed his God all the way to his own Calvary, we -- all of us, black and white -- are a lot closer than we would be otherwise.

This week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is dedicated to remembering and mourning what happened in Memphis, Tenn., four decades ago Friday. America is a much changed country for the assassinations of King and, a mere two months later, Sen. Robert Kennedy.

That change was a profoundly tragic one from which we've yet to recover. All these years later, the wounds still bleed.

But the Big Show also celebrates a momentous life -- and the profound difference it made in this country and in the world.

On this week's program, you won't hear me getting in the way of the music . . . or the message. Thus, I'll publish this week's playlist below.

Enjoy the show.

Say It (Over and Over Again)
John Coltrane Quartet
w/ McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass),
Elvin Jones (drums)

It Feels Like Rain
Aaron Neville

Help Us, Somebody
Chris Thomas

The Sky Is Crying
Elmore James

Keep On Pushing
Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Redemption Song
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros

Memphis Blues Again
Bob Dylan

Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Green Day

Inner City Blues
Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Don't Burn Baby
Sly & the Family Stone

We Gotta Live Together
Jimi Hendrix

Motherless Child
Hootie & the Blowfish

Nothing Lasts
Matthew Sweet

Faithful To Me (Reprise)
Jennifer Knapp

Lay My Burden Down
(feat. Mavis Staples & the Dirty Dozen Brass Band)
Dr. John

Forever Young
Joan Baez

Friday, April 04, 2008

I have been to the mountaintop. . . .

On April 3, 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last speech, in Memphis, Tenn.

HE WAS THERE in support of striking sanitation workers, who were protesting low pay and abysmal working conditions, and his oration that night -- prophetic, some called it -- would become one of his most famous.

Forty years ago today, on April 4, 1968, a bullet ripped into King's face and neck as he stood on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel.

It was about 5:45 p.m.

Doctors pronounced him dead about an hour and 15 minutes later. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was 39 years old.

From The Washington Post:

The Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles, a local minister and King friend who was there that night, believes King was forecasting his own death. "I am so certain he knew he would not get there," Kyles said. "He didn't want to say it to us, so he softened it -- that he may not get there." Later, Kyles would tell people that King "had preached himself through the fear of death."

What is often unremarked upon about that speech, however, is how resolute King was in his prescriptions for fighting the injustices suffered by the poor. He urged those at the meeting to tell their neighbors: Don't buy Coca-Cola, Sealtest milk and Wonder Bread. Up to now, only the garbage workers had been feeling pain, King noted. "Now we must kind of redistribute the pain."

The next day, King was in a good mood, almost giddy, Kyles remembered. Kyles was hosting a dinner for King at his home that evening. "I told him it was at 5 because he was never in a hurry." But when Kyles knocked on King's door, at Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, to hurry him along, King let him know he had uncovered the little ruse: He had found out the dinner was actually at 6. So they had some time, and King invited Kyles to sit down. Abernathy was there, too. King liked to eat and was anticipating a lavish soul-food feast, so he couldn't resist razzing Kyles. "I bet your wife can't cook," King told his friend. "She's too pretty."

Just to tease a little more, King asked Kyles: Didn't you just buy a new house? He then told the story of an Atlanta preacher who had purchased a big, fancy home and had King and Coretta over for dinner. "The Kool-Aid was hot, the ham was cold, the biscuits were hard," Kyles recalled King jiving. "If I go to your house and you don't have a decent dinner, I'm going to tell the networks that the Rev. Billy Kyles had a new house but couldn't afford to have a decent dinner."

It was about 5:45 when King and Kyles left the room and stepped onto the second-floor balcony. Abernathy stayed put. King leaned over the rail to gaze at a busy scene in the parking lot eight feet below, exchanging words with his young aide Jesse Jackson, among others. Kyles was just about to descend the steps, with King behind him, when he heard the shot. "And when I looked around, he had been knocked from the railing of the balcony back to the door," Kyles recalled. "I saw a gaping hole on the right side of his face."

Kyles ran back into the room and tried to call for an ambulance, but no one at the motel switchboard answered. He took a bedspread and draped it over King's body.

King was pronounced dead at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Hospital.

"Forty years ago, I had no words to express my feelings; I had stepped away from myself," recalled Kyles, now 73, the pastor at Monumental Baptist Church in Memphis. "Forty years later I still have no words to describe my feelings."

For years, Kyles struggled with an internal question: "Why was I there?" And at some point, he can't remember when, "God revealed to me, I was there to be a witness. Crucifixions have to have a witness."