Sunday, October 16, 2011

Memphis to Greenville MS

Memphis to Greenville MS
Saturday October 15, 2011

Very lazy start for us today – we left our “resort” beside the Mississippi about 10:30 and made our way to Sun Studios for a tour. When we arrived we had to wait about 45 minutes for the next group to go in for the tour of the recording area and to see the memorabilia. We sat down in the soda shop part of the gift store which was FULL of every possible thing they could put the SUN logo on – shirts, cups, buttons, decals, etc. You could buy Sun Records – from $35 to $70. You could have your own recording made…any way they could think of to make a buck they were doing it!  We did our part by having a chocolate malt – and it was VERY good!  

When it was time for our tour we first entered a room where there were lots of memorabilia from Sam Phillips days in the recording business. He was instrumental in the discovery and first recordings of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison… oh the list goes on and on…They played music for the enjoyment of the group.  Then we went into the recording studio and heard how they made records, how Sam Phillips sold Elvis recording rights to RCA for $35,000 in 1954. He still saw a lot of Elvis and one  such occasion was  a  famous photos of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins – just jammin’ – called the million dollar quartet.  
  Million Dollar Quartet
One of Elvis' Guitars

We heard more songs and got the opportunity to take a photo at the microphone that was original to the studio in the 50’s so all the artists had used it…

 Jane at the Famous Microphone

Our short stay in Memphis was over and we headed south on the Great River Road headed into Mississippi.  We stopped in Tunica at the Welcome Station and Jane was able to post some of the last 3 days of blog. We ate lunch and decided we did not want to stay here and visit casinos for the afternoon so we headed on south. We had two possible campgrounds both of which ended up being closed due to water damage earlier this year.
 One of many casinos in Tunica

Cotton is definitely the crop in Mississippi. These two photos show they use different types of baling here. Some the square we had seen in TN and the second looks like the hay bales of IL, IA, etc.

 Round and Square Cotton Bales

We stopped in Clarksdale MS but it was 4 PM and all the Blues museums were closing. We did stop at one of the two competing “Hot Tamale” spots and bought some “to-go” to have for dinner with our left-over ribs from last night. This was quite an experience. We stopped at Hicks Hot Tamale and BBQ which was one of the two written up in most sites.  At first we thought we could not get in. The first door we opened was into a banquet room that was full of probably 100 people eating at large tables. The second door was locked and so was the third. Finally at the 3rd door someone waved us back to the 2nd door. Mr. Hicks himself let us in – saying “you just can’t be too careful around here, lot’s of bad stuff going on.” We talked a while about the tamales, his special slaw with Italian dressing and spices -  NO mayonnaise! Then we talked about the military service display he had prominently displayed on the wall. Now this place was nothing fancy.  The banquet hall looked like a church fellowship hall in a small church and the room we were in had very little seating and was primarily for take-out orders.  This military display of purple heart, numerous letters, other medals, other memorabilia and an Alaskan flag covered a whole wall.  Mr. Hicks has been in business for 30+ years – a young man came to work for him when he was very young and he had no family. Mr. Hicks was his male role model I guess you could say and followed the guy as he went on to other communities and he finally settled in Baltimore. This guy had a son who ended up in the military and was deployed to Afghanistan. He was killed and the father said he did not have any place to display his son’s medals etc. and asked if they could be in Mr. Hicks restaurant since he was like a grandfather to the soldier.  The AK flag was given to each deceased military member coming back to the states through Alaska – interesting story and rather sad. 

 Ben and Mr. Hicks

We left with 6 tamales and some of the special slaw and quite an appreciation of the work ethic of Mr. Hicks. As we left a black guy in shirt and tie was standing beside the building just where he had been as we went in – Ben said he guesses either Mr. Hicks had a guard or the group having the banquet had a guard. We felt glad we were leaving and that our van was still with all its’ parts!   

We just headed on south to Greeneville where we discovered the second campground was closed. We were been unable to locate another campground and it was 6 PM so we pulled in to a motel for the night. We had the tamales, slaw, and leftover ribs from last night thus ending a 3 day spree of eating very good but fairly unhealthy food! The tamales were really good – neither of us had much to compare them with but we enjoyed them. 
 Tamales swimming in grease !

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