Some photos from the road and the King Biscuit Blues Festival, October 4-7, 2017.
In addition to more rigorous research, I’ve been visiting and photographing Beale Street and chatting with tourists for the last three weeks. Beale was declared the official “Home of the Blues” in 1977. According to the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, the street receives over 4 million annual visitors, making it the top tourist attraction in Tennessee. There’s a lot to say about Beale, but for now I’m just sticking with some visuals that show the ebb and flow of visitors at different times of the day and on different days of the week.
Beale on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon
Beale on Friday afternoon and night
Beale on Saturday evening and late night
I’ve been trying to get in touch with the Beale Street Development Corporation for a few years. I’ve never received a reply and, since their office is on Beale, I decided to just knock on their door today (mid-day on a Tuesday). Well, there’s a serious locked and dusty gate on the stairway to their office, so I’m fairly certain they don’t use this facility anymore. April 2019 Correction! I have since met Lucille Catron, the executive director of the BSDC, which is and has been going for 45 years. She commented below, and here’s an excerpt: “Beale Street Development Corporation (BSDC) caused the redevelopment of Historical Beale Street, a $23 million dollar back in 1973. Todays dollars, that over $200 million dollars… Just so you will know, the gate is there for safety and security reasons. That gate has been there a lot of years as we are on the backside of Beale Street.”
I hope to have much more info on BSDC from Lucille in the near future!
Just a little post showing three of my favorite places on Jackson Ave in Memphis. Well, two are my favorite, but the Corned Beef House is all Josh Roberts. And yes, it’s open and passed health inspection last year.
Here’s a soul gem I came across this week, released in 1971 on the short-lived Memphis Records label, a Mercury subsidiarity founded by Jerry Butler of the Temptations. This was most likely recorded about a mile and a half from the photos above, at Universal Recording Studio, 261 Chelsea (according to info on Ollie’s other Memphis Records release). That is nearly a stone’s throw from the former location of American Studios (now a Family Dollar, I shit you not). There’s some info in old Billboard mags (use Google books) and on the Soul Detective blog if you want more.