The West Memphis Rhythm and Blues Society is throwing a two-day event in remembrance of the Plantation Inn, the legendary West Memphis blues and soul club where a lot of folks contend the Memphis sound was born. Lots of early white and black mixing. Folks like Jim Dickinson and Wayne Jackson (not Elvis in the picture on the left) were hugely influenced by Plantation Inn regulars like Willie Mitchell (the legendary producer at Hi), Phineas Newborn and Ben Branch.
Unless you leave right now, you're going to miss the symposium, "Ben Branch, Bowlegs, and the Birth of the Memphis Sound" that's running from 9:30 to 3:30 p.m. But tonight, Jackson, the Memphis horn great, will join forces with Marvell Thomas' band from 8 to 11 p.m. And on Saturday, at 5:30 p.m., there's a huge amateur blues contest.
Background from the Commercial-Appeal
And more info on the festivities
Also, Robert Gordon's fascinating "It Came From Memphis"
has a chapter on the Plantation Inn for anyone who's REALLY interested. And a lot of stuff about Jerry Lawler and other Memphis weirdos.