So disappointed in Beale Street. Many years of envisioning how it what it would look like, what the music would sound like – the whole blues vibe. What I saw was a shabby, sad sight. Beale’s glory days are far behind it. Maybe if I had been there in the 1980’s, my experience would have been different. The music coming out of Alfred’s was not like any blues I have ever heard. All the neon was interesting, but walking up and down the street was far from rewarding. The only line was in front of BB Kings Blues Club, and it wound around the corner. Maybe that was the place to be.
We decided to check out Beale Street during the day (This was December 5th), and maybe try BB King’s for lunch, Their music started at 11:30am. The food was good,, and so was the music. Finally, I got to hear traditional blues — and the songs I came to hear. The Blues Trio started off with a bang, singing Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man”. They knew all the oldies, and my 5 all-time favorites– “Cross Road Blues” by Robert Johnson, “The Thrill is Gone” by BB King, “Red Rooster” by Howlin’ Wolf, “Boogie Chillen” by John Lee Hooker, and the aforementioned “Hoochie Coochie Man”. Now I was in blues heaven!!
At the end of Beale Street is the home of W. C. Handy, often referred to as the father of the blues. It is a museum now, but was still closed due to Covid.
We were leaving for home on the morning of December 6th, so we wanted to have our final meal be special. Our free meal at Vernon’s Smoke House at Graceland was an OK buffet. We couldn’t understand why Rendezvous Ribs was so highly recommended, even though it was very crowded when we ordered to go.
Itta Bena is a semi-secret restaurant on the 3rd floor of BB King’s Blues Club. There is a canopied entry door on the side of BB King’s. You walk up an old fire escape stairway, and open an old, well-worn door, and VOILA – a lovely dinner house complete with linens and flowers on the tables. The food was very good, beautifully plated, and accompanied by excellent service. After dinner, we went downstairs to hear a little more blues. The last 2 songs before we left were “I’d Rather Go Blind” (Etta James) and “Pride and Joy” (Stevie Ray Vaughn. This was a perfect evening and ending to our little getaway trip.
The Other Thing – A couple of disappointments, lots of fun, some new adventures, and sharing everything with my granddaughter – what’s better than that???!!!