Beale Street,Memphis

Beale street is good fun and it’s mostly free from the people watching to the street musicians.Hordes of bikers take to the street every wednesday among a strong police look on.And they number in the hundreds with their shiney beasts parked for the tourists to gawk at.My Strand New York Books t shirt stands out because it looks like a biker t shirt and I get hard nods from the bikers ,probably because I don’t look the part of a tourist .I know how to dress down partly because it’s a little bit of a walk back to the hotel and you never know.I notice the names of some buildings from the early turn of the century bearing Jewish names,Lippman,Schwab,and others.Yes there were jews in the south .In fact the treasurer for the Confederacy was jewish,Judah Benjamin.I notice only one afro american biker,the others hard nosed redneck southern scrappers with pot bellies ,tattoos and gang colours.The Outlaws,one proudly shows but the fellow looks way past his prime.
The blues music coming out of the clubs is cool but a bit contrived but saying that it is a precious link to it’s roots and I respect that .One song I hear starts off with the refrain ,”Standing on the corner with a cell phone in my hand.But still somewhere among the din of present day Beale street with it’s tourist tackiness and mawkish display I can envision a young Robert Johnson,fitfully clutching his guitar ,right after he sold his soul to the devil at the Crossroads,and stepping in between the crowds and getting up to play a song.And that was the essence of Beale street.

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