Murphy’s, a divey Irish bar in Midtown is not a place one would usually go for blues, although I remember catching Willie Hall on drums there with somebody back in the early 1990’s. But perhaps because of B. B. King’s recent death, I noticed that Memphis bluesman Earl “The Pearl” Banks was scheduled to perform there with his band extremely early on a Friday night so I headed down to Midtown to check it out. Although Murphy’s doesn’t usually book blues, it is not a bad venue for blues, and there was plenty of available seating and no cover. Banks is an authentic traditional bluesman, and during the course of the evening, he played a number of standard tunes, including “Chain Gang”, which the Skatalites recorded under the title “Christine Keeler”, and of course “The Thrill Is Gone”, as was appropriate for a B. B. King tribute, with a hard rain falling outside. The crowd was an interesting mix of locals and a handful of people in town for the barbecue festival. All of them were treated to some of the best music Memphis has to offer.
Keep up with Earl “The Pearl” Banks: