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Bobby Blue Bland

 

With the passing of blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland over the weekend, another link to the Beale Street of long ago is lost.

Bland parked cars at the foot of Beale Street as he worked on making it in the clubs as a black man singing country or “hillbilly” music, he told Margaret McKee and Fred Chisenhall in their 1981 book “Beale Black & Blue.”

“When I moved to Memphis it was very, very tough,” he said of his move to the city after World War II from nearby Rosemark. “Not many places blacks could venture into. It was the wrong time and the wrong place for a black singer to make it singing white country blues.”

But he got some help from another earlier arrival on Beale Street, B.B. King, who had Bland on his WDIA radio program. Bland caught on with a song he wrote called “Army Blues.”

King was a fellow competitor at amateur night contests at the old Palace Theater on Beale Street. Decades later, King talked of being able to recognize Bland’s car in Beale Street traffic by the sound its glass packs made.

“Army Blues” was Bland’s first recording for Memphis-based Duke Records and it was followed shortly by a draft notice.

Read more »

Shane Battier, and regressing to the mean

Former Memphis Grizzlies player Shane Battier had some interesting data-focused comments to share with the media after Game 7 of the NBA finals.

When asked by an ESPN reporter if he’d paid attention to the numbers to know how much of a shooting slump he was in, Battier brushed it off by saying essentially that things would smooth out over time. That he would “regress to the mean.”

“My mantra was I’ll regress to the mean, and I believe in that,” he said, suggesting that slumps and streaks are more aberrations than they are indicative. “I knew I’m a better shooter than the numbers right now.”

Here’s the clip, via Business Insider.

Congressional Panel Tours FedEx, Port of Memphis

A Congressional panel visited Memphis this week in an effort to find ways to improve U.S. freight transportation.

The bipartisan panel toured FedEx facilities and the Port of Memphis, in addition to meeting with representatives of the region’s freight transportation community. The freight panel is a special panel of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Transportation accounts for up to 10 percent of a product’s total cost, so bottlenecks and limitations in our transportation system can significantly drive up the cost of everything we buy,” said Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), who chairs the freight panel. “By coming to Memphis, an important hub for U.S. freight transportation, the panel was able to see firsthand how efficiencies can be replicated and where challenges continue to exist throughout our national transportation system.”

Owners of historic home due in court Monday, June 24

The owners of the historic Nineteenth Century Club building on Union Avenue will be in Environmental Court Monday, June 24, according to a group dedicated to preserving historic structures.

Memphis Heritage said Thursday, June 2o, that the owner of the property, Liang Lin of  Arkansas, doing business as The Union Group, LLC., is charged with owning or maintaining a dangerous or neglected building and will be in General Sessions Division 14.

The stately but decaying mansion at 1433 Union Ave. was  built in 1907 by Rowland Jones Darne, a Memphis lumber king, according to Memphis Heritage.

In 1926, the 15,813-square-foot house was acquired by the Nineteenth Century Club, a philanthropic women’s organization. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The owners won a competitive bidding process for the home in January, paying $550,000 for the property, according to the Shelby County Registrar. The three-story wood frame structure is commercially zoned and sits on 1.2 acres at Union between Kimbrough and Cleveland streets.

“The house has had few alterations making it a rare example of Colonial Revival architecture and an important part of our early architectural history,” said Memphis Heritage on its website. “Once amid a streetscape of imposing mansions, now it remains as the last to exemplify the elegant residential character formerly displayed along a street now dominated by commercial establishments.”

You can find out more about the home and efforts to save it here and here .

Gasol Foundation wants your help to design a logo

The Gasol Foundation is hosting a contest running through July 14 in which it’s asking for fans to help come up with a design for the foundation’s logo.

From the foundation:

“To enter your logo into the contest, send a tweet with a link to your original logo you have designed for the foundation to @GasolFoundation using the #GasolLogo hashtag, or post a link to your logo on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GasolFoundation.

The mission of the Gasol Foundation is to empower young people to live healthier lives, so keep that in mind as you work on your design. Pau and Marc will select their favorite, and the winning artist will be awarded a signed Marc Gasol jersey, a signed Pau Gasol jersey, and a basketball signed by both Marc and Pau! We can’t wait to see the designs that you come up with! Official Terms and Conditions are below, and if there are further questions you can email us. Good luck!”

Dansette

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