Iyse Gibson is one of Memphis’ more prominent young R & B artists, and is a descendent of the Steinberg family of musicians who were famous on Beale Street in Memphis and in the early history of Stax Records. on Friday May 16, he was performing at Perignon’s Restaurant and Lounge in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis, with a live band that included my homeboy Otis Logan on drums. I swung by there after I came off my gig at Mollie Fontaine’s, and my drummer partner Mike Mosby fell through after he finished his gig. Gibson is a talented singer, and the band was first-rate.
Big Star Third Live Kicks Off the Summer Concert Series at the @LevittShell
After two albums that had done little on the charts, Memphis rock band Big Star was basically falling apart when Jim Dickinson, Jody Stephens and Alex Chilton went into Ardent Studios to start work on an untitled new album. By some accounts, the album was tentatively named Beale Street Green, an indirect protest of the city’s demolition of the Black neighborhoods around legendary Beale Street. By others, the album (or perhaps even the band) was to be called Sister Lovers, since Jody Stephens and Alex Chilton were dating two sisters, Lesa and Halladay Aldridge. Today we know and love it as Big Star Third, but nothing prepared me for the experience of hearing that music played live by an all-star cast of musicians including a string orchestra to kick off the Levitt Shell’s Summer Music Concerts in Memphis. After a brief introduction by John Fry, the owner and founder of Ardent Records, all the songs from the album were performed by a whole host of great singers and musicians, including Pat Sansone of Wilco, Star and Micey, Van Duren, Jody Stephens and Lesa Aldridge herself. This presentation highlighted Alex Chilton’s amazing talent and the timeless quality of his songwriting. It’s just a pity that he didn’t live to see Memphis honor him as they should.
Triple Play Tuesdays at @IceBarMemphis @PartiKings with Oneday, 4 Soul Band and More
My homeboy Otis Logan had invited me to come out to the Ice Bar in Southwind because his band was playing behind a Memphis rap artist called Oneday, but what I didn’t know was that the event was the inauguration of a big event called Triple Play Tuesdays, sponsored by Memphis-based PartiKings Inc. which will be held on the first Tuesday of each month. Actually quite a few Memphis rap and hip-hop artists came out to perform, including a female artist named Ms. Racks, a rapper named BenOfficial (although apparently not the one from Los Angeles), and another rapper named Lil Buddy. With it being a Tuesday night, I had not expected a large crowd, but the place was actually full to overflowing.
Senseless Tragedy at the South Memphis Block Party
Every summer in June, the Memphis rapper Blac Youngsta sponsors a South Memphis Block Party on McMillan Street in honor of a neighborhood youth named King Craddy that was killed a few years ago. It usually is a fun time for the kids, with a bounce house, and there is usually a DJ, plenty of good food and lots of dancing. This year, things took a turn for the worse when out of nowhere, a young man pulled out a gun and began shooting. I hadn’t even heard any arguing or confrontation leading up to it. We ended up having to get down, run to the back of the houses and then struggle through the underbrush and out the chain link fence on the other side on Ely Street. The gunshots continued from over on the other street before we finally heard the sirens of the police coming. We soon learned that a 3-year-old boy had been shot. There is absolutely nothing that can justify shooting into a crowd including women and children during a neighborhood block party. Nothing whatsoever.
A Lamar Avenue Mural
Hooping in The Mound at the Orange Mound Basketball Tournament
Memphis has exceptional talent in all sports, but our city is particularly known for basketball, and much of this is due to the frequency and quality of street ball in the city. Each summer, the Orange Mound neighborhood sponsors a basketball tournament at a neighborhood park that pits the best hoopers from the neighborhood against each other. Although the competition can be fierce, it’s always nothing but good fun and good food. This year, Memphis R & B artist Iyse Gibson also performed a couple of songs for those who weren’t in the thick of the game.
Colorful Mural in Cooper-Young at Midtown Market @PreauXX @gsbmusic
Memphis rap artist Preauxx and his friends painted this brightly-colored mural on the wall of the Midtown Market in the Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis. The mural was used in a video, and the convenience store’s parking lot has actually been the venue for concerts in Memphis.
South Memphis is the Baddest
#MemShop Block Party in South Memphis @Choose901 @apollo_mighty
MemShop is a local effort to revitalize Memphis neighborhoods by placing temporary shops in vacant store space in strategically located areas. The organization has recently been involved in trying to turn around the intersection at Mississippi Boulevard and Walker near the LeMoyne-Owen College campus, and Saturday MemShop held a block party at the intersection to celebrate the opening of two new shops, Klassy Chics and @ Home Computer Service. The block party featured performances by Memphis alternative/neo-soul singer Apollo Mighty, and the dance team from Knowledge Quest Kids Camp. The hope is that the temporary shops will encourage permanent tenants to move into the space.