“the Place Of Good Abode”


My mother told me once about a turn-of-the-century dance down home that had Bud Scott’s band at one end of the floor and W. C. Handy’s at the other. I would certainly like to have been there, even though it would have me crowding a hundred by now. Handy, not Elvis, is for me the providing and presiding spirit of Memphis. “I’d rather be here than any place I know,” he said of his hometown in the 1917 “Beale Street Blues,” and later, when words were added to “The Memphis Blues” of 1911—the first ever put on paper—he offered an explanation of why he loved the place. “It wraps a spell around your heart,” he sang. And so it does. So it does.