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Beale Street Blues (Visit to
Carlos Santos, November 2000
Photo by Sandra Santos.
Whoever strolls by in this street can't
help imagining young Elvis walking by. That street has the scent of
tradition, the blues are listened in each blues bar, each shop and
restaurant; the commercial houses have speakers with the sound coming out
to the exterior and each one plays its blues. If someone tells you "Good
Morning" with every step you take, that's... Southern kindness.
Let's enter Elvis Presley's Memphis Restaurant. Whoever goes through the
big doors will find a spacious place, with a decoration that touches the
luxury, a stage with a giant screen where footage of some Elvis show are
being shown and those speakers always providing the sound of the big songs
of the legend that names this restaurant.
In several exhibitors you can see many Elvis belongings that will astound
you. In a Portuguese restaurant of that category, you'd come inside and
would be served if you were wearing a suit and tie; not over there. Dress
with jeans, shorts and t-shirt, go with tennis shoes or sandals, and
you'll be served with all the kindness and attention - you won't feel a
foreigner, you'll be wonderfully treated. The menu is great and you may
well ask for one of the king's favourite dishes. For €30 / 6.000$00 two
people are very sell served, surrounded by Elvis objects and music.
On the way out, after lunch, you can profit from admiring the windows of
several shops, decorated with old and beautiful guitars, the most of them
autographed by big blues legends. Be careful when you're walking, you may
step on the marks of Jerry Lee Lewis hands on the sidewalk. Whatever shop
you may visit, you'll see so many Elvis articles it will drive you out of
your mind: from guitars that cost €498,00 / 1.000.000$00, to nailcutters
that cost €2,50 / 500$00. If you want to visit a shop that has got
everything, step inside Shwabs - a three floors store, so big that you
hardly can move inside due to its many items for sale. Don't forget to
photograph Elvis' statue in front of the restaurant where you just had
your meal. Spend the afternoon shopping, since you don't have to spend
lots of money in order to buy a bunch of beautiful things - I advise the
great Elvis t-shirts. Stop in one of the many cafés to order a drink, it
can be a cold Budweiser, and stay there just talking and, who knows? maybe,
suddenly, you meet Jerry Schilling, a big Elvis friend. Talk to him, he's
quite nice and will easily give you an autograph.
Let the night catch you in Beale Street, the neon signs will light up to
greet you; they're so many, one more beautiful than the other, you'll want
to photograph and film everything... and then, you stop and realize you're
stepping the same grounds Elvis did, you're facing B.B. King's Blues Café
on a street by the name Beale, where Elvis drank the spirit of the great
men and became Elvis Presley. You thank Elvis for rock'n'roll... and then
you feel those tears that aren't the least funny...
THINK I’LL START ALL OVER, SWING MY GUITAR OVER MY BACK, GONNA GET
MYSELF DOWN ON THE TRACK AND NEVER NEVER GONNA LOOK BACK…!
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