Breakfast in Memphis was at the Cupboard, a Memphis institution. The cooking was classic Southern cooking. I had fried shrimp with mac & cheese and fried green tomatoes. All were excellent. These are people who know how to fry things. The tomatoes had a nice thick, crunchy well-seasoned coating. The shrimp were butterflied and fried with a similar coating. Service was friendly and pretty quick for the place being as busy as it was.
We were in the neighborhood, so I had to stop at Sun Studios. We got talked into doing the tour. It wasn't the spiel that sold us as much as the price. With the AAA discount, it was only $8.00. It seemed worthwhile, so after buying a Johnny Cash CD and a Sun Studio mug, we bought tickets and waited for the tour. The tour included a small museum section containing instruments, records and recording equipment, along with a short history of Sun complete with song clips. Following that, we got to see the actual studio, which is again a working studio at night after the tours end.
It's amazing that the building stood virtually unchanged for as long as it did after Sun closed. There were a couple of businesses in the space, but they didn't change anything. It was pretty amazing to be standing in the space where Johnny Cash recorded "I Walk the Line," not to mention all of the other amazing records made there.
We also stopped around the corner at Sam Phillips Studios, where Phillips set up shop after the lease on the Sun building was up. The first Cramps album, Songs the Lord Taught Us, was recorded here in 1979.
We also drove by Stax. We were running short on time, so we couldn't go through the museum. We took a few pictures and bought some CDs in the gift shop. On the way out, the children were getting out of the music school in the other half of the building. Many were waiting for their parents to pick them up out front, but there were also several in a group towards the back of the breezeway joining the two buildings. We walked by them on the way to the parking lot. As we passed, we heard a girl exclaim, "I can't believe I got his autograph!" Liz nudged me and asked, "Did you see who that was?" I hadn't, and looked back to see Isaac Hayes walking towards the street in front of Stax.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007