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August 2006 Archives

Memphis in the Meantime

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10:34 p.m. Aug. 11

MEMPHIS, TN.---There are few better places to have a cold beer than in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. And a beer in Memphis in August is special as beads of condensation drip down the bottle like tears in a Bobby Bland song. That's why they serve beer with a white napkin down here. First you wipe off the bottle then you dry off your eyes.
I've been visiting Memphis on almost an annual basis for 20 years and a stop at the Peabody (built in 1869, closed in 1923, reopened in its present location in 1925) is always on my list of things to do. The Peabody lobby is the launching point of the Delta as argued by historian David Cohen in 1935. He wrote, "The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of he Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. The Peabody is the Paris Ritz; the Cairo Shepherds, the London Savoy of this section. If you stand near its fountain in the middle of the lobby...ultimately you will see everybody who is anybody in the Delta........"

Family Tradition

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11:33 p.m. Aug. 9

NASHVILLE, TN.---A long day on the road began by touring the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg (pop. 400), located in Moore County--which is dry. What a cruel joke. But they do put Jack in their candied apples. Over lunch Lynne Tolley, the great grandniece of Jack, told me, "Anything that comes with vanilla, you can use Jack Daniel's instead." See?
This is one blog that gives you a belt.
Then there was the matter of tracking down some of that new Hank Williams Jr' Family Tradition B.B.Q. Sauce for my pal John Soss (no pun intended)......

Tennessee Plates

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8:56 p.m. August 7

I'm listening to Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheto (part of the fine Fania Records reissues) while packing for a road trip. Nope, I'm not going to liberate Cuba.
I'm heading to Nashville and Memphis, the country and soul of American music respectively.
Maybe I will bump into that great American Toby Keith, who once had his road manager call me to pick a fight six months after I criticized Keith's daughter's performance and too-tight jeans at the CMA Awards. If they had given me more than a few hours notice, I would have gone backstage at the Tweeter Center, outside of Chicago. Toby Keith nails me with one left hook and I'm set for life listening to Jimmy Buffett in Turks & Caicos. The E-mails mysteriously stopped coming in 2006 after Keith recorded "Runnin' Block," where he's a wingman for a night out with a buddy but ends up with an overweight woman. Keith sings about "I keep tryin' to drink her skinny/But she's still about 215/Sometimes you gotta' bow up/and take one for the team...." Toby Keith, full of integrity.
Also gotta go down to Lynchburg, Tn. and try to see if that Jack Daniel's works for me like it did for Floyd Landis. Although I will only be in Memphis for 48 hours, look for reports on Elvis Week. I'm already all jacked up for Elvis Karaoke at Hernando's Hideaway.
Tennessee: Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum.
That's one of 50 "state mottos" sent to me by my good friend "rt66roadologist".
I won't bother with all of the other 49, states, but here are a few of my favorites:

Chicago To New Orleans

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2:00 p.m. Aug. 2

Sun Ra didn't say it, but if he were around today he would think it:
Cyberspace is the place.

Since our blog about Dr. John's (Malcom Rebennack) tender once-in-a-lifetime Chicago concert in honor of New Orleans composer Wardell Quezergue, the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund [NOMRF] received a nice random donation. Thank you.
"I've heard Mac play many, many times," Quezergue said after the show. "And I thought he was brilliant that night. It was one of the best shows I've ever heard him play." Former dBs bass player Jeff Beninato co-founded NOMRF, came to Chicago for the show and sat in with the house band. Wardell is legally blind. Jeff said, "I consider him Mr. Ears because when you lose one of your main senses the other ones sharpen. That's probably why Wardell is so gifted as an arranger. I was getting chills sitting behind him at the show watching his head bob and sway to the music. The next day we asked if he had a good night and he said, 'Did I ! I must have been jigging because I slept so good. We're going to keep him out again for the Katrina Anti-Versary."
Wardell is back at his home in New Orleans. His friends and neighbors are asking him about his Sunday night in Chicago. He is telling them that Chicago is one town that won't let you down.


Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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