Well, to Memphis anyway. By complete coincidence it was Elvis week. I spent the actual anniversary of his death at the Pink Palace, which is a genuinely great museum anyway, viewing the exhibit of Alfred Wertheimer’s mindbending candid photos of Elvis in ’56.

The next morning, I met a friend in a train station and he’s modern and all, so he carries a camera about with him. Hence, Friday morning went like this:

The approach to Mecca

The approach to Mecca…

Me being me in front of "the Door"...

Me being me in front of “the Door”…


It might look

Quiet time before the crowd arrives (about two minutes before as it happened…It may look like I’m praying…actually I’m engaging in another hallowed Southern tradition…I’m buying a coke. Prayer time was later.)

The first time I visited the Sun Studio was in the late eighties. They had just opened as a “museum” and it was basically a few 8 X 10 glossies (maybe 15 or 20) on the wall, some recording equipment, and a college age dude who knew less about the place than I did. You could walk in off the street. Can’t remember if they were charging money yet or not. Anyway, from all the photos on the wall back then, this girl was the one person I couldn’t place…Thought she might be local…These days, Miss Wood guards the entrance.


The tour begins...

The tour begins…

Trust me, I'm more impressed than I look...

Trust me, I’m more impressed than I look!

Gladys’ persistence pays off….

The way it was in ’53….Lest we forget.

The desk! Thank you Marion.

Ms. Keisker’s view in the summer of ’53…

The mystic chords of memory…

Don’t worry…I’m still impressed…The place just might be getting to me!

“If I thought it would do any good, I’d stand on the rock where Moses stood.”…Failing that, I’ll kneel on the floor where Elvis recorded “That’s All Right”! (This is not the camera being out of focus, incidentally. That’s just the ground shaking!)

And then…The lightning! (See, I told you it was getting to me!)

And that was it for Memphis…As there really wasn’t any way to top this, we headed to Shiloh on Friday afternoon…About which, more tomorrow. Call it the Southland tour.

(All photos courtesy of Dan Watson. Many thanks. For once, I’m actually glad there are pictures.)


4 thoughts on “I JOURNEYED LONG….

  1. Great post, Johnny! What a great time to coincidentally be in Memphis. I’ve only been there once, back in the early 1990s, and I missed out on Sun Studios. I had no idea until I saw your photos that it now has a soda fountain attached to it?!?!? Anyway, thanks for sharing your really cool experience with us.

  2. I hope you get to go back soon Troy…I commented on Sheila’s site about this a while back, but when I was visiting Memphis on a regular basis in the eighties and early nineties (I still have family there, though I haven’t seen them in a while now), the idea that there would be thriving museums devoted to both Sun and Stax was a pipe dream. Lots of great stuff to do there and I doubt anyone would appreciate the experience more than you. I feel really lucky to have been there last week.

  3. Tagging along……. on your tour of “Mecca” was a real treat. I was very glad to see that they had spruced up Marion Keiskers’ domain…….. since I was there in 2011. At that time, it was dusty and obviously neglected, also……. I felt……..somewhat, indifferent to Marions’ obvious place in the history of “Sun Studios”. Your turn at the famous “X”…….was a delight!!

  4. I think they are doing it right these days Clementine, esp. regarding MK. My only regret is that you sort of get rushed through. Understandable given the level of interest (and of course that’s a good thing). But I’ll always be glad I got to visit it in the late eighties when you could walk in off the street and spend as much time as you wanted!…Granted, they didn’t have the X then!!

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