Monday, November 30, 2015

Big Mojo Tour

After finishing up at Graceland we hopped on the free bus and headed back to Memphis.  We had a tour to catch at 1:30 so we needed a quick lunch which we found at The Blues City Cafe.  Mac had a cup of Gumbo and I had a plate of small tamales, both were good.  Then we ran across the street to catch our tour.  It was to be a 3 1/2 hour tour hitting the highlights of Memphis and then we'd finish up at Sun Studios.

Miss Peggy

 We took the Big Mojo Extended tour and our tour guide was Miss Peggy, who handed out tambourines and shakers so we could accompany her on our musical journey.  It was a great tour.  Saw where Elvis's family lived when they moved to Memphis (he was 13), they had a sticker on his bedroom window.  We saw where Johnny Cash and his wife lived, St. Jude's Children's Hospital (founded by Danny Thomas), Stax Records (home of soul music), the rich part of town where Machine Gun Kelly came from, the park shell where Elvis gave one of his first performances (he was opening for Slim Whitman the yodeling cowboy)---he thought the audience hated him, but they were screaming for more.  We drove by the Rock and Soul Museum --we'd visited it in October---and the Gibson Guitar Factory.   At each stop Miss Peggy would play her guitar and sing while we accompanied her.  She was very knowledgeable and made the tour a lot of fun.  Near the end we drove to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King had been shot, large crowds were there.
At the end most people, who were on the shorter tour, got off and the rest of us went to Sun Studios, the studio started by Sam Phillips and where rock and roll was born.  We went upstairs first, looked at memorabilia, saw the dj booth (it had been brought there from the ruins of the hotel it had been in) where Elvis's first record (That's All Right) had been played.  The DJ, Dewey Phillips  liked it so much he played it 14 times in 2 hours.
The drum kit belongs to U2 who came and recorded part of their Rattle and Hum CD at Sun Studios,

And then we went down to the holy of holies, where Elvis first recorded.  Our tour guide walked us through how it all came about, pointed out X's on the floor where Elvis, Bill Black and Sonny Moore had stood.   She put 3 people on the X's and they mimed what happened  and  then she played the recording.  Talk about chills.  Then you could hold the microphone that Elvis held and have you picture taken.  It was incredible.  A little room covered in acoustic tiles and magic was made.
This is where I felt Elvis, not at Graceland, but in that room with all his hopes and dreams.


  1. What fun. You must have had a great Thanksgiving weekend!
    Isn't this weather wonderful? And we are finally having some lovely fall colors on top of it.

  2. A great and authentic tour, it seems.

  3. Wasn't Elvis just a genius. What a fantastic tour it sounds.

  4. really enjoyed hearing about your tour and Sun Studio. I posted recently about a trip we made to Graceland and the Heartbreak Hotel and agree with you that Elvis was just a memory at both those places, no presence at all. Will be taking the tour bus next time we're in Memphis, you made it sound so fun.

  5. Memphis sounds like a cool place to visit! I enjoyed the tour you gave us today. Though I would have liked a tambourine, too :-)

  6. I am not an Elvis fan but I do get some of your enthusiasm from your writing - any 'hero' that one has is worth exploring further and going to their special place is an experience never forgotten, so pleased you got such a lot from it.

  7. What an interesting tour. I've never been to Memphis but I feel I have now! I hope you're feeling less bruised after your trip (last weeks one).

  8. It seems like your tour was really very interesting. I'd like to visit Memphis, too. It seems like there are a lot of places to see.


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