Tag Archives: music

Now Open: Memphis and Shelby County Room Listening Station

listening station

Today we are pleased to announce the addition of a Memphis Music Listening Station to the Memphis and Shelby County Room. This listening station, which contains 594 CDs, will allow easy patron access to our large archive of Memphis Music.  This listening station contains materials representing every stage of music written and recorded by Memphians and in Memphis.  From the Memphis Jug Band, to Justin Timberlake; from Memphis Minnie to Packy Axton; classical, country, jazz, soul, rockabilly, R&B and more can all be listened to and enjoyed in one spot. Additionally, many rare and out-of-print albums are included in the listening station along with local independent releases (of course, Elvis and Stax are here too!).

Feel free to browse through the Guide of available music and come by anytime to listen to some great tunes!




Filed under Audio, Elvis, Music

Memphis in May Sunset Symphony Broadcasts Now Available!


Today we are very excited to announce that the Memphis & Shelby County Room is the new repository for WREG Channel 3’s broadcasts of the Memphis in May Sunset Symphony. Late last year WREG graciously donated their broadcasts to the library and we have been hard at work preparing these to go up on Dig Memphis for your enjoyment. The broadcasts span a 12 year period from 1988 -2000 and include such highlights as the 20th Anniversary concert (1996), performances from Ruby Wilson (1992) and Isaac Hayes (1994), a symphonic work composed by the King of Thailand (1995) and, of course, many renditions of “Ol’ Man River” by the inimitable James Hyter (1988-1998).

We are going to be rolling out all these broadcasts over the next few weeks but today you can view both the entirety of the 1994 and 1998 broadcasts on Dig Memphis (all the broadcasts will also be available on our Vimeo channel).  While every concert is a treat, we have chosen to post these two broadcasts first because of their special significance:  the 1994 broadcast features a special performance from Isaac Hayes (including the “Theme from ‘Shaft'”) and the 1998 broadcast represents the end of an era with the final performances of both Maestro Alan Balter and James Hyter.

We would once again like to give a large and sincere Thank You to WREG for the donation of these videos, insuring that, although the Sunset Symphony is no longer a part of Memphis in May, music lovers the world over can watch these incredible performances whenever they desire. Enjoy!

The 1994 broadcast may be viewed by following these links:  Part 1, Part 2.

The 1998 broadcast may be viewed by following these links:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.



Filed under History Department, Memphis History, Music, TV, Video

Memphis Sounds with George Klein

In 2004, the library’s TV station (WYPL) first aired a new show called “Memphis Sounds with George Klein.”  Each month George Klein would sit down with local musicians, legends and others related to the music industry to discuss the past, present, and future of our city’s musical heritage.  We have digitized a few episodes of that show and they are now available for your viewing pleasure on Dig Memphis.  They will eventually be added to our Vimeo channel as well. So if you’d like to hear from Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Jim Dickinson, Sid Selvidge, Sam the Sham, Kallen Esperian and many, many more… take a look and listen.

Memphis Sounds with George Klein – Episode 32 from Dig Memphis on Vimeo.

As G.K. would say, “Rock on, Memphis!”


Filed under Dig Memphis, Memphis History, Music, TV, Video

Marguerite Piazza, 1926-2012

A fond farewell to longtime Memphian Marguerite Piazza, a musical legend…

Dig Memphis:  Images of Marguerite Piazza

Commercial Appeal:  Obituary

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Filed under In Memoriam, Music, Photographs, Portraits

Celebrate our Archival Fellows…

… and the opening of the Rowlett Paine Collection, the W.C. Handy Beale Street Collection, and the Memphis Women’s Suffrage Collection.  Help us thank our three wonderful archival fellows from Rhodes College — Chris Hanewald, Mathew Jehl, and Laura Fogarty — for all of their incredible work this summer.

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Filed under Archival Fellows, Collections, Events, History Department

New Collections in the Memphis Room

We’ve added quite a few collections over the past few months, and while their records have been added to the Collection of Collections, these newly processed collections deserve a little attention here on the blog:

The Memphis Park Properties Collection contains records donated by the City of Memphis pertaining to the history and development of many of Memphis’ parks.  Processed by Joan Cannon.




The Chandler Collection contains extensive property records, from 1968 to 2002.  Processed by Carol Maynard.





The NOW – Memphis Chapter Collection provides a record of the Memphis chapter of the National Organization for Women during the pivotal years of the 1970s and 1980s.  Processed by Jordan Redmon.




The documents of the Central Gardens Historic District Collection shed light on the history of the iconic Midtown neighborhood.  Processed by Lauren Peterson.




View programs and flyers from the oldest music society in Memphis — and probably Tennessee — in the Beethoven Club Programs Collection.  Processed by Joan Cannon.




The Douglass Oral History Collection provides a wealth of information about the legendary Douglass community, as well as documentation for those interested in embarking on their own oral history project.  Processed by Sarah Frierson.




The Edwin D. Thompson Trolley and Streetcar Collection contains extensive documentation on streetcar and trolley companies in Memphis.  The collection includes numerous photographs.  Processed by Joan Cannon.




The Peggy Jemison Neighborhood Collection covers Annesdale Park, Beale Street, Bethel-LaBelle, Cherokee, Cooper-Young, Greenlaw, Smokey City, South Main, and Vollintine-Evergreen.  Processed by Betty Blaylock and Clara McMillan.




The Edward LeMaster Downtown Real Estate Survey Collection provides a glimpse at the commercial and industrial landscape of downtown Memphis in the late-1940s.  Processed by Joan Cannon.

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Filed under Collections, Memphis History

All That Jazz

If you haven’t heard, the Central Library is hosting an incredible jazz exhibit through September 14th.  (Read more about it here.) Really, it is well worth a visit.

So, for the digital exhibit this month, we have compiled news clippings which feature jazz in Memphis.  Though we may be known as the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll”, it turns out there is a pretty impressive jazz legacy in Memphis as well.

To view all of the Memphis Jazz clippings, please click here.

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Filed under Clippings, Events, Music