Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Mighty Mississippi

I caught up on the Mighty Mississippi series last night, in which veteran newsreader Trevor McDonald takes an 'epic' trip along the Mississippi. I missed last week's series opener, in which Sir Trev visited New Orleans, but last night he visited Clarksdale and Memphis, both of which I've been to several times, including on my own 'epic' road trip in September.
To be fair, the programme was well done, with some excellent photography of the river and some interesting interviews. Trevor chatted to Morgan Freeman who was born in Mississippi and chose to move back there and become co-owner of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale (see photo above). He recalled the apartheid system of his youth and the fact that even today there is a separation between blacks and whites in the south. It's only three years since the first integrated school prom night in the town. This legacy was underlined by a sequence in Memphis dealing with the assassination of Martin Luther King and the subsequent decline of the city. It's never occurred to me that the two are linked, but certainly the depressed centre of the city, apart from the tourist trap of Beale Street, seems to have emerged since the tragic events of 1968. Prospects have improved somewhat since Fedex started taking over the airport at night to make it its international hub, employing 10,000 rather poorly paid mostly black people who do, at least, enjoy the sort of health insurance that we in the UK take for granted.
Music wise, the programme focused on Beale Street, Sun Studio and Elvis Presley, including an interview with an early girlfriend Barbara Hearn, now living in Trenton, Tennessee (see photo). There was no mention of Stax or Hi, but at least Sir Trev avoided the cliche of a visit to Graceland.
Next week he continues his trip in St Louis, where we began our own trip last year. I will watch with interest.


At 10:18 am , Blogger Nick said...

Lee said: The 1st Trevor McDonald prog was really good, so well worth seeing if repeated.

At 7:27 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've recorded these shows so looking forward to a quiet night in when I can get them watched
John S

At 10:46 pm , Blogger Nick said...

I enjoyed the final episode. I was surprised Trevor didn't go to the top of the Gateway Arch in St Louis (I bet he did and it was edited out). And it's a shame he didn't check out Chuck Berry's Blueberry Hill. But it was pretty good overall.


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