Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Call Me: Memphis, Tennessee

Bill Morrissey and Greg Brown: Memphis, Tennessee


In 1993, Greg Brown and Bill Morrissey were big names in folk music, so the news that they had done an album together was big news. Friend of Mine has some traditional songs, songs by folk artists old a new, and some ringers, like this one, originally by Chuck Berry. But try finding more versions of this song. There are simply too many. Memphis, Tennessee has been done in country, punk, rockabilly, and rock versions. Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, and Sammy Kershaw have all done it. So this is a song that has become part of the culture. That’s because Chuck Berry expressed something universal here, the yearning of a father who has been separated from his daughter. So Memphis, Tennessee has become part of the culture and has a universal theme. Maybe that means that it is a folk song after all. And maybe it’s really not so surprising that Brown and Morrissey recorded it.

blog comments powered by Disqus