When I finally got to Memphis in 2007 (I think) I decided to avoid Gracelands. However much as I tried to stay away it kept pulling me in.
I’d almost managed to escape its clutches until the Sunday morning when I travelled west along Elvis Presley Boulevard towards the church where the Rev. Al Green is the pastor. I’d made no real plan (not finding out when the Rev’s service was to start didn’t help) and, inevitably I was disappointed to have missed church with Al.
It was then that I thought I could ‘nip in’ to Gracelands. After all, I reasoned, it’s near and it looks quite small. How long could it take? It is here I can hear you snorting and can feel the heads being shaken at the naivety of your on-line blogging friend. In short, nothing quite prepared me for the experience. It was only when I’d bought a ticket (fairly easily) and been told that I was in queue 15 or something ghastly that I realised I was now in some anti-room to hell which was destined to last all day. 6 hours later I staggered out having had to kill time queueing for the house with visits to Elvis’s auto collection, some dreadful souvenir shops and only managed to escape the guided airplane treck.
The house was what I’d half expected…a modest nouveau-riche 50s new-build designed like a Mike Leigh set. I got out fairly quickly after I’d paid my respects in the garden of remembrance. So what good could this dull day in Memphis ever bring? Over the tannoy all day had been a great mash up of Elvis material which, if anything, focussed more closely on the obscure and the good. It was there again that I realised no one could easily right off the impact of Elvis and his impact on rock’n’roll. Unlike The Boss (who famously tried to break-in) I found myself wanting to break out of Gracelands but with a new resolve to re discover and celebrate the music.
On Friday we’ll do just that. We’ll also have some great new stuff to play you from Jesca Hoop, Sara Watkins, Vetiver and brand new music from Grizzly bear and Bon Iver.
Another Country, BBC Radio Scotland, 8 – 10 p.m. Friday 8th January.
Great to have the show back and really enjoyed last weeks programme.
Never been to Graceland and really would love to go, maybe Miami Steve would care to break in with me one day!
Great to have the program back again…..I now have a reason to stay awake through Friday…..
Can hardly believe old Elvis would be 75…..My cousin and I watched him on the Ed Sullivan Show the first time he appeared on the TV here in the states…..Yes I am older than dirt, but not as old as Elvis.
My dad had a fit. We were all going to hell because of “Swivel Hips.”
Instead I moved to Arizona which is similar to hell.
You have the best radio, best music and truly awesome listeners who are so-so well informed on their music.
I was so looking forward to this latest instalment, which I was once again having to catch via the iPlayer, only to find that the link from the BBC Radio Scotland page was broken! Happily, that’s been fixed and I’m listening right now.
Another great show, and one that coincided with my own birthday too — for the first time I’m more than half the age Elvis would’ve been. I’ve been pleased to share my birthday with him ever since I discovered the fact, even if it is sheer coincidence. I’m also very excited to be seeing him live (well, ish) at the O2 next month as a birthday gift; I’m so looking forward to that night. We have a huge collection of his music and I’m always discovering new favourites that reveal themselves from his back catalogue. I’ve yet to make it to Graceland, but… someday.
So great to have you back on the air, Ricky, and I’ll be sure to be listening week in, week out.
Also thanks for featuring the new Bon Iver song in this show. I’ve been listening to the “Blood Bank” EP in recent days, walking through the snow here in London and it fits the landscape perfectly.
I’m not a “Twilight” fan (although I am quite partial to vampires thanks to the likes of “Buffy”, “Angel” and — latterly — “True Blood”) but I have to wonder if the title of this song owes something to the great “Northern Exposure”. I know Justin Vernon was a fan of the show, taking the title for the band from the episode “First Snow”, and Roslyn WA is the beautiful town where the show was filmed as well as the name of a character who co-founded the fictional Cicely AK in the show!
Anyway… random fact and I could be completely wrong, but I was struck by the coincidence anyway and felt moved to share!