Day 2: January 21, 2010
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That guy who had the spare ticket and I met up this morning for the first time in twenty-five years or so. I left the company where we worked together in 1983 and Dennis left sometime later. We headed to the Gibson factory where we skipped the first tour available in order to be sure that workers were not at lunch. The factory is down that hallway next to the giant Lucille on the wall but no pictures are permitted beyond that point. They were when I visited the place in 2005 but new plant management outlawed them sometime in 2009. Dennis tried out the last unsold Mike Bloomfield Signature Les Paul but the guitar was still unsold when we left.

Dennis had flown in this morning with little sleep so headed to his motel to attempt a nap. I walked around an increasingly breezy Memphis for a bit and got within view of the Mississippi.

Then I headed up Beale to ramble through A. Schwab's Dry Goods Store. The whole store is a little like a museum but a balcony section is officially set aside for that purpose. Unlike the rest of the store, nothing in the museum is for sale but is there for looking and, unlike other museums, touching. Their slogan is "If you can't find it at A. Schwab's, you're probably better off without it!" While I realize that I was probably better off without the wooden milk can, I feel a little better for spending a couple bucks at this 134 year old business.

With 224 acts, there's no way to see them all. I "organized" my night around acts with a southwest Ohio connection and rounded things out with folks performing before and after. That approach introduced me to the Twisters, from Vancouver, and the Afrosippi Blues Band, from Colorado, when I went to see the Sonny Moorman Group. Sonny is representing the Columbus Blues Alliance this year. The group's performance was excellent and even included some "wireless" activity by Sonny.

Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts, from Connecticut, are managed by a friend of a friend. She didn't tell me that Ben Stein plays harmonica with them. I got inside the beautiful Old Daisy Theater for the first time ever to see Dick & the Roadmasters. Dick is representing the Kentuckiana Blues Society and was present at a preview/warm-up show in Covington, Kentucky, last Sunday. "Guitar" is a popular middle name in blues circles and here we have Earnest "Guitar" Roy & the Clarksdale Rockers and Eric "Guitar" Davis & the Troublemakers. The Dayton Blues Society sent Earnest and the Illinois Central Blues Club sent Eric.

ADDENDUM: Feb 5, 2010 - Ryan Hartt discovered this posting and chastised me very lightheartedly for the "friend of a friend" thing. Although I don't believe any one is at all upset, I want to apologize to Ryan for referencing a non-existent manager, to my friend for misquoting her (she said "represents" not "manages"), and to the friend of a friend for the sake of completeness. Ryan's February 1, 2010 note and my response can be seen in the guestbook.

Eric Davis actually followed this group but I put his picture in slightly out of sequence so I could have a panel for Cheryl Renee with Them Bones. This is Cincy Blues Society's entry and they were at that Sunday night warm-up, too. Think that's a harmless little blue-haired lady? Think again. Dave, Cheryl, Larry & Al tore it up tonight and hopes are high.

Yep, that hat in the first picture's lower left belongs to Cincinnati's Pat in the Hat. Her pal Susan drove her to Memphis so the two of them could cheer on the locals and soak up some more blues. Cincinnati's solo/duo entry, Ricky Nye, went on a half-hour earlier than planned so I missed him tonight. I won't do that tomorrow, though.

I caught the last group of the day at Rum Boogie Cafe but got no pictures. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready to jump back and do it again tomorrow.

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