Elvis Week 8.12.10 – Back in Memphis: a benefit for Myrna Smith

My Elvis Week finally started, and I couldn’t be happier. Although tonight’s event could have had a better turnout. It was benefit for Myrna Smith, one of the Sweet Inspirations who toured with Elvis in the 70s. She has become very ill and needs help with her medical bills. So Unlimited Elvis, a group from Denmark, turned their annual Back to Memphis event into a benefit for Myrna. It was a small convention and concert held at the Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis.

Back to Memphis at the U of M

There was a small convention from 6 to 8 with Elvis memorabilia and Elvis’ friends. Sonny West (part of the Memphis mafia), Barbara Hearn (Elvis’ girlfriend in the 50s) and WS Holland (Johnny Cash’s drummer) were in attendance. I bought 3 books and a tcb ring. 

Sonny West

WS Holland (center) & Barbara Hearn (right) at the 'convention'

first purchases of Elvis Week

I bought ‘The Memphis Boys,’ and the author Roben Jones signed it for me. I bought June Moore’s book about Kathy Westmoreland, and it was signed but she wasn’t there. And I bought the new book from the Commercial Appeal called ‘Elvis Presley’s Memphis.’ My TCB ring is great. It’s smaller than it should be but big enough, and silver instead of gold but I don’t like gold.

my autograpphed copy of Memphis Boys

my TCB ring

They finally let us into the auditorium around 7:40. I had been finished with the ‘convention’ for an hour. I was surprised to see that hardly anyone was coming in the doors. Maybe 5 rows were full by 8 when the show started. Very sad that more people wanted to see Elvis impersonators at the Orpheum rather than true legends such as Cowboy Jack Clement!

stage is set

Cowboy Jack Clement was the producer/engineer at Sun Studio who recorded Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, the Million Dollar Quartet on that fatefull night in December, as well as U2 when they were there recording songs for Rattle and Hum. He is also a singer and songwriter. Tonight Jack Clement sang 3 songs that he had written, 2 of which Johnny Cash made famous.

Cowboy Jack Clement

The band consisted of Reggie Young from the Memphis Boys at American Studios who recorded with Elvis, Norbert Goodman who was Elvis’ session bassist, guitarist Billy Burnett who was in Fleetwood Mac and whose dad was in the rockabilly group the Burnett Trio, and drummer Jerry Carrigan. There were 2 other singers who did Elvis songs and Billy Burnett did a Fleetwood Mac song as well.  

the band

I am glad I went because it was a benefit for Myrna Smith, and I got to hear Jack Clement perform. I had seen WS Holland and Barbara Hearn before. And while I had never seen Sonny West before, he is not my favorite member of the Memphis Mafia. The event was a little disappointing because of the low attendance. I left at intermission.

Please watch my video of the Back in Memphis event http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XL0ybwpxtg


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