Ol’ Man River

No, not my puppy. 🙂

I’m originally from Memphis, home of the Blues, Beale Street, Elvis, and the world’s best barbecue. (Seriously — Memphis barbecue has ruined me for barbecue anywhere else. Problematic, because I love barbecue and don’t get home very often.)

Memphis is a town of music and festivals. One of the biggest festivals is Memphis in May, a month-long celebration with an international focus. It begins (sort of) with the Beale Street music festival at the end of April, includes a massive barbecue cooking contest, and wraps up with the Sunset Symphony in Tom Lee Park overlooking the mighty Mississippi.

Each year, the Sunset Symphony ends with the singing of “Ol’ Man River” and a fireworks display (timed to the 1812 Overture). When I was growing up — and, indeed, all the time I lived in Memphis — “Ol’ Man River” was sung by James Hyter, and his bass-baritone rendition of the song made him a beloved local performer.

Mr. Hyter retired in 1998 and passed away in 2009. I stumbled onto this YouTube copy of his final performance, and it still brings me to tears. You are missed, Mr. Hyter.

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3 Responses to Ol’ Man River

  1. Melissa says:

    Maybe we should try to make some! Mother taught me to make a shoulder in the crock pot. Not a smoker or grill, of course, but maybe if we got some rub and/or sauce from Corkys or The Rendezvous we could make something similar. Unless you’d rather try ribs.

  2. I think it’s worth a try! I haven’t a clue how to cook ribs, so maybe the crockpot kind. If I recall, you can actually order Rendezvous ribs! Probably costs a fortune.

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