Stripper Session TWELVE ** Memphis Session TWO
July 7th was my longest day in Memphis. 7:00 AM I drove to Graceland to visit the meditation garden just to the right of the Elvis home. The tourist attraction is free and open to the public everyday from 7:30-8:30. At 8:30 I went a few miles down the road to Al Green’s church to see if there was someone there I could speak with about recording the gospel choir at the 11:30 service that morning. No one was around so I took off back to the house.
11:30 back to the church for the service - Bishop Al Green preached for 2 hours.
I got to the Civil Rights Museum at 4:00, they close at 5. Wrong place to feel rushed. I was distracted by the clock ticking and unsettled walking around the Lorainne Motel.
Got back to the house at 6 and shut down until my session.
Keep your cool - Keep it short
I hear Shawn Cripps is a trucker and plays in the Memphis band, Limes but that’s about all I know. Other than chatting about mic placement, we didn’t exchange much when I showed up to record him.
We had settled on 7pm but Shawn was having dinner with his daughter and didn’t get back to his place until 8. He came down to meet me at my car and helped carry the cases upstairs and inside. Shawn was quiet - I wasn’t sure if he was game for the session but he’d let me in so I kept about my business. I walked out onto the porch just off the living room. I could see a non-discript intersection from where I stood and liked the idea that the sound of cars in the background might make it onto the track so I suggested setting up there. There was also some evening light to work with. I told Shawn I needed a few minutes to get ready and he left the room to go smoke.
I started to feel strange when he’d been gone for 20 minutes. I killed some time snapping pictures but felt anxious. The light was fading, I was standing on a porch with my gear set up and there was no sign of this guy. I went into the apartment and called out but didn’t hear back. I texted Charles a quick note that said “dude is missing, I’m at ___________(I put down Shawn’s address)”. A cryptic shout out just incase. (in case of what, Wendy?) - I didn’t know this person, I was in his apartment with all of my gear and he’d left? I looked at the mess of chords I had created, rushing myself to get set up - the result of not feeling settled. Now I was wondering if I should pack up, if this guy had just split. I was loosing light and my idea of recording and shooting Shawn on the porch was fading away.
I walked inside and stood in the large living room. A vintage drum kit with glitter finish, a large elvis wall-hanging, old recording equipment, an issue of MOJO, amps, a velvet couch, a month’s clutter on the coffee table…. The room felt familiar enough to neutralize the bizarre paranoia. I walked towards the first dark hallway and called out. Nothing. A few more tentative steps and I could see Shawn sitting on a bed with his friend looking at a computer screen.
"Hey" I said, "I’m all good to go". He replied - "oh, ok" and we walked back to the porch.
The wave of self-induced anxiety subsided, but I still felt strange.
Shawn sat on the red metal bench, put an old Gretch amp on a little stool and pulled it close.
"Sleepy Trucker" followed. One take. I was packed and in my car by 8:45.
Too bad I got weirded out - this guy’s interesting and I like his songs. Still wondering if he really is a trucker.