Title Picture

Currumbin Beach, South East Queensland.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Back in 1909  Beale Street was the hub of the black community and Blues music. Every night club, dance hall, gambling den had a stage and live music. Every street corner had a jug band collecting pennies. Beale St to musicians was like Broadway to actors.
In the 50's Sam Phillips started recording the music at Sun Studios and he was instrumental in the birth of Rock 'n Roll. Beale Street was alive with music again. Even though there is still music coming from the bars and the street is blocked off at night for entertainers, Beale Street is looking tired and grotty. It is like a living museum of earlier dynamic times.
However, we enjoyed strolling up and down the famous street.

 Bill chats to some buskers.

 It was hard to decide which bar/restaurant to go in for lunch.

 One of the few buildings looking clean and tidy. More were like this, boarded up and run down.

 We found a place to eat with a stage and live band. It was fun being part of the history. (But my sand which was awful)

In the evening we found a Hop on Hop off bus stop but after waiting a long time none came at the time displayed. So we walked a few blocks and caught a regular bus back to the hotel for $1.

Bill was keen to visit Sun Studios while we were in Memphis, not that he was a Rock'n Roll fan but he is very interested in the history of recording music. This building is no longer a recording studio but a museum. The new studios are built behind. 
 We went on an interesting guided tour of the studio as it was back in the 50's. It is where Elvis as a teenager paid $4:00 dollars for Sam Phillips to record a song, with hopes of being asked back. It took a year before he was invited to play with the studio band. Sam still wasn't happy with Elvis until he heard him messing around in a break.  He recorded "That's All Right" it was blues like he had never heard before. Rock'n Roll was born.

The museum rescued this WDIA radio studio from a building being gutted. It was where the famous DJ Dewey Phillips played many blues songs and became a teenage idol. He was the first DJ to play a song recorded by an unknown teenager named Elvis Presley.

The Sun recording studio is just as it was back in the 50's. They still have the mike that Elvis used and visitors are allowed to touch it, which is unusual for a museum. But Bill enjoyed having a go.

There is a history of the recording artists in pictures around the walls of the studio. Sun Studio was responsible for making Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins famous. They were all poor kids when that started. One day the four of them turned up at the studio together and had a jam session. The photo is called "The Million Dollar Quartet". It was an interesting trip down memory lane.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


You know you have arrived in Memphis when you see a statue of Elvis on every corner.  
 It was a 7 hour drive from Gatlinburg to Memphis but our friend, Rob, did a great job of driving and the highways are so good in the States.

We stayed at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel as this was where we were going to meet up with our tour group for the Mississippi cruise.

However, we planned to have a few days exploring Memphis. We decided to use the Hop on Hop off bus to get a feel of the city and places to see.

The first stop we wanted to see was Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion and museum. We walked to where the bus was to stop but we couldn't find the bus stop sign or the bus. Finally, a city tourist helper flagged down the so called bus. It was a bomb, a small van which shuddered its way noisily around the city and we paid 23 bucks for this. Just as well the ticket lasted for 2 days.
Surprisingly the driver got us to Graceland, which is a bit out of town. It is a slick tourist attraction. There were a variety of ticket prices depending on how many buildings you wanted to see.

 We started with the mansion. It was quite impressive. 

 The lounge, dining room and parents bedroom were on the ground floor. We were given iPads and earphones to guide us around the rooms and it gave interesting onfo about each room and collection.

 His den,

 The Jungle room

 His gold records, there were so many.

 More of his records, achievements and some of his outfits. This was in the handball courts near where he died. There were many more rooms full of his outfits.

There was a whole building full of his cars.

It was a very good tour but then we had to hope our battered old bus would be there to pick us up at the end of the day. It did turn up but not on time. However, we arrived back in town safely after another bumpy, rattling ride.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Continuing our trip to USA.

Monday 17/11/14

Cades Cove is a fertile valley in the Smoky Mts National Park. It used to be inhabited with subsistence farmers from the early 1800's to the early 1900's. It was a close community until the Civil War. The community continued for a while but In the early 20th century owners started selling their land to the government, who were turning the area into a National Park. Some people didn't want to sell. They were allowed to stay until they died but the next generation had to move on. There is an 11 mile long loop road around the valley and there are original cabins, houses, churches, and barns to explore and photograph.

The pretty drive through the National Park to Cades Cove.

 The John Oliver Cabin built c. 1822. The Olivers were the first permanent European settlers.

 This is the  Primitive Baptist Church. The baptist religion split in 1830's into the Primitive Baptist Church and the Missionary Baptist Church. There was also a Methodist Church.

 Cades Cove is registered on the National Register of historic places.  This is Becky Cable House built in 1879. Owned by the spinster daughter of John Cable. She refused to get married after her father broke off her childhood romance.

 The John Cable Grist Mill.

 John Cable had to build diversions from Mill Creek and Forge Creek to get enough water for the overshot wheel.

 Tipton Cabin

 Double cantilever barn at Tipton Place. You can see it was a cold wet day but we still enjoyed this fascinating place.

That night we drove into town for our last dinner in Gatlinburg. Sick of huge meals we opted for soup and sandwiches this night. 

Bill stayed home so we got him a burger to go.(take away in Oz). We ate here often and got to know the server well. She looked after us nicely. She wants to come to Australia one day so Kathy and Rob offered her a job in their son's cafe and we offered her a bed.