Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Let it All Hang Out

When I meet people here, they invariably ask where I'm from. If they know anything about Memphis at all, they then invariably ask me what kind of place it is. My stock answer is that it's beautiful in parts, that its musical DNA (past and present) is unique and powerful, and that there's also a lot of senseless violence. The sad events of 14 October underscore this more clearly than ever. I never had the pleasure of meeting B.B. Cunningham, though I do recall seeing him play this immortal classic at a gig at the Antenna many years ago, backed (if I recall correctly) by both the Easley brothers, among others. Since the sad news of his pointless death, I have seen an immense outpouring of grief and admiration on Facebook, and I know that some of my friends who were close to him have nothing but good things to say about the man, and it's a sad commentary on Memphis and America in general that such a creative and energetic soul should die working the night shift as a security guard at the age of 70, shot by some fucking punk-ass gang-banger, doubtless over some meaningless dispute. Easley - McCain Studios, where Linda Heck's Transformed was recorded, and where I have spent such happy hours, is housed in a building which once housed B.B.'s studio, and he maintained an office there until the end (perhaps he owned the building, I don't know). When I was doing some work with Linda and Doug Easley there this past summer, I wandered around in the front part of the building, where I could hear, from behind a closed office door, a bird chirping loudly. "That's B.B.'s bird," said Doug.

"Nobody knows what it's all about, it's too much, man, let it all hang out."

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