Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Searching for Northern Soul in the South

Memphis might not have been the gold mine every Mod record collector dreams of, but that didn't stop me from enjoying every second I spent in this city so rich in musical history. To get a sense of Memphis' contribution to the world of blues, R&B, Soul and Rock, I highly recommend spending a few hours in the Memphis Rock N Soul Museum

Significant pieces of Rock and Soul history will make any Mod wish he had them in his collection. A great feature of the museum is that you have a chance to listen to every piece of music that is featured in the displays on a portable MP3 player that is provided.

Aside from the other obvious tourist attractions like Stax, Sun Studios and Graceland, you have charming neighborhoods that wait around every corner. And like with almost every city I visit, it's always towards the end of the trip that I discover those hidden jewels. I hate leaving a city before I felt its soul and seen its underbelly.

Elvis worked at the Orpheum Theatre as a teenager
Sunset on the Mississippi from the rooftop terrace of the Madison Hotel
Madison Hotel lobby
Nice touch. Found in our room at the fine Madison Hotel
Entertainment on Beale Street. When was the last time you saw a Big Band live?
Food, beer and tattoos all in one convenient place

Memphis is also known for a tragedy that has left a mark on US history. A short 15-minute walk from our hotel is the Lorraine Motel, site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968. 

The Lorraine Motel is now the location of the National Civil Rights Museum. Make sure you set aside a few hours for a visit. It's a must. These places always leave me with more questions then answers. One thing is certain, I always end up being moved.

Finally, I had time to check out one last record shop. Audiomania is located at 1698 Madison Avenue, it's a short walking distance from the better-known Shangri-La Records. Not a flashy place by all means but it's still worth checking out. 

I would not bet on the chance of finding mint copies of ultra rare records but I did come up with a nice selection of 60s Garage and Soul 45s. You'll have to go through a few boxes of dusty singles, half of them sleeveless, to find something decent but your patience shall be rewarded eventually. They won't be in the best condition but I found that they were usually priced accordingly.

- Bulldog - The Fireballs - Top Rank International

- Let's Party - Rhinoceros - Elektra Records

- Attack - the Toys - DynoVoice Records

- We Need An Understanding - Ike & Tina Turner - London Records

- Secret Agent Man - Johnny Rivers - IR Imperial

- I'm so lonely - Jackie Wilson - Brunswick Records

- I Don't Want To Know - The Mugwumps - Warner Bros Records

- Funky Street - Arthur Conley - Atco Records

- The Horse - Cliff Nobbles & Co. - Phil-L.A. of Soul Records

- Backfield In Motion - Mel & Tim - Bamboo Records

- Holy Ghost - The Barkays - Stax

- Hot Smoke & Sasafrass - The Bubble Puppy - International Artists Record

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