Diane, we owe you big! Our trip to Memphis was a huge success, enjoyment wise, and it's tone was set when we took your advice and went to STAX the minute we hit town on Saturday. We spent the rest of the weekend driving around singing along with our new "Best of STAX" CD and talking about it. Later, at the Lorraine Motel and walking on Beale, there was more texture because of STAX. Even after we'd left Graceland we were talking about STAX.
Standing in the studio where Aretha stood, listening to the session tapes of Booker T and the MG's, I closed my eyes and felt a little of what it must have been like there. The intimacy of the place and those people, the passion for the music and the miraculous alignment of events that created that phenomenon in that small neighborhood in that uneasy time ... we left there with a sense of all of that, and it change the way I'll hear that music from now on.
I'm sad that they won't let you take pictures inside the museum. We've got 70 pictures of Graceland and Elvis's jumpsuits, and not one single shot of Tina Turner's hot-damn beaded yellow mini-dress and spike heels or Isaac Hayes' gold and faux fur Cadillac -- and both of those will stay with me a lot longer than all of Elvis's stage costumes and gold records put together.
Ev will write more, I know, but I just wanted to send a huge thank you to Diane, because we'd never have known to do this if you hadn't told us about it, and it certainly doesn't leap out at you and pull you in like that megalopolis of shops and mini-museums and paid parking lots that overshadows and serves as the life-support system for Graceland. We'd have missed the real Memphis.