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Rhythms of Memphis Tours

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Product Description

Tour Descriptions

For prices and availability for groups of 20 or more call our Memphis office at 901-369-9838 or email Memphis@SweetMagnoliaTours.com

Beale Street Blues Tour

The lamenting sounds from the field hollers coming from the African American slaves in the Mississippi Delta cotton fields traveled to the juke joints on Beale St where musicians like W. C. Handy, B. B. King, Ma Rainey, Little Laura Dukes and Albert King mixed it in, beat it out and sent back out to the world as music that made Beale St. famous, the Down Home Blues. Memphis’ location at the northernmost point on the Mississippi Delta deemed it the beneficiary of the Blues, the building blocks of modern American music.

Our Rhythms of Memphis Blues tour features a narrated Blues history sightseeing tour that will include sites such as Cotton Row, the Memphis Riverfront and Tom Lee Park before stopping to tour the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum in the Beale St. Historic District. Why did Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Blues come to Memphis and Beale Street before going out to the world? You will find the answers woven in the exhibits of the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

The museum’s digital audio tour guide is packed with over 300 minutes of information, including over 100 songs, and takes visitors at their own pace through seven galleries featuring 3 audiovisual programs, more than 30 instruments, 40 costumes and other musical treasures.

The next stop on your Rhythms of Blues tour will be at the W. C. Handy House to hear the story of how a preachers’ son from Florence, Alabama became the first musician to pen the Blues. William Christopher Handy settled in Memphis, Tennessee, around 1909, using Beale Street’s Pee Wee’s Saloon as his headquarters. His greatest contributions to blues music were his compositions Memphis Blues, St. Louis Blues, Yellow Dog Blues, and Beale Street Blues. After a successful career as a music publisher, Handy died in New York City in 1958 and is today honored with the annual W.C. Handy Awards, The Blues Foundation’s equivalent to the Grammy’s.

Departing the Handy House, your guide will take you down Beale St., to see the Old Daisy Theater where many of the famous Beale Street musicians were discovered, W. C. Handy Park, the “Walk of Fame” and A. Schwab’s 125-year-old variety store. Beale St. features nightclubs and restaurants offering a variety of food and live music including traditional Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Shops and boutiques throughout the district provide visitors with the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, t-shirts, memorabilia, and novelties.

Rock N’ Roll Tours

“In 1912 W. C. Handy published a song called “Memphis Blues,” the first published version of a blues composition. Forty years later, Beale Street and those same rhythms infected a young aspiring musician named Elvis Aaron Presley. The contributions of these two musical innovators made Memphis the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.”In 1954 at Sun Studio Elvis recorded “That’s All Right Mama” and forever changed the face and the sound of American popular music. On our Rhythm’s of Memphis Rock ‘n’ Roll sightseeing tour you will visit hot spots where the Rock-a-Billy sound of early Rock ‘n’ Roll was heard, tour the original Sun Studio and the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

Imagine standing on the same spot where Elvis recorded what is considered by some to be the first Rock ‘n’ Roll song and Jerry Lee Lewis pounded out the Rock-a-Billy super hit “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.” And where B. B. King, Rufus Thomas, Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner and other talented black artists mixed in the sound of soul music while Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison added Country to the melting pot of Sam’s Phillips’ Sun Studio.

As our Rock ‘n’ Roll music adventure continues you will make two more “Hot Rock” stops. The first is at Pop Tunes, where a virtual “who’s who” of Memphis recording studio owners would gather to discuss business of the day and Elvis would hang out to see if anyone was buying his records. The next stop is at the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum where you will hear the original music; see genuine instruments and countless artifacts of this music that changed the world.

Soul Music Tour

For many years, the Memphis neighborhood, known as Soulsville USA, was a bustling and thriving community where a young grocery sacker named David Porter became one of Stax Records’ most famous songwriters, where Aretha Franklin was born and sang in her father’s Metropolitan Baptist Church, where Calvin and Phinneas Newborn honed their jazz skills, where Al Green recorded his super hits of the 1970s at Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios, where Maurice White grew up and grew into Earth Wind & Fire, and where Elvis Presley sneaked into Rev. Herbert Brewster’s East Trigg Avenue Baptist church as a teenager to listen to gospel music, much of which Rev. Brewster had written for Mahalia Jackson.

Our Rhythms of Memphis Soul Music Tour will take you to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the original site of the legendary Stax Records in the heart of Soulsville USA. What began as a tiny record store in an old movie theater at the corner of McLemore Avenue and College Street in Memphis, Tennessee, grew to become one of the most important music recording studios in the world. When the modest Capitol Theater in the heart of Soulsville USA was transformed into Stax Records in 1959, it began launching the careers of unknowns who would become icons, cranking out a massive catalog of smash soul hits by the likes of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Luther Ingram, Albert King, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MG’s, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and dozens of other artists whose influence remains vital in the music of today. On its many and varied labels, Stax Records also recorded such legends as Big Star, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley, and the Grammy-winning comedic genius Richard Pryor.

This tour features a narrated Soul–Rhythms & Blues music history sightseeing tour that will include sites in Soulsville not included on standard Memphis tours, such as Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studio where Al Green recorded and the early childhood home of “Lady Soul” Aretha Franklin. Aretha Franklin as one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop, as well, was born in Memphis on March 25, 1947. Her astonishing run of late -’60s hits with Atlantic Records included a song called “Respect” written by the legendary Stax writer/recording artist Otis Redding.

From Soulsville your Rhythms of Memphis Soul Tour will take you to the Beale St. Historic District to tour the Rock’n’Soul Museum. To hear the story of why it happened in Memphis and how Memphis possessed a kind of earthy electricity that spawned musical innovation, one that’s unique and sometimes beyond description. You will hear the original music, see genuine instruments and countless artifacts of the music that changed the world.

Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions:

A deposit of $100.00 will be due 30 days in advance. The balance is due two weeks in advance. After this time all monies are non-refundable. If you have questions or you wish to book your tour date please call 901-369-9838 or toll free 866-320-5295.

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