Magazine article The World and I

Founding Father - A Musical Melting Pot

Magazine article The World and I

Founding Father - A Musical Melting Pot

Article excerpt

Roll over Chuck Berry, for the gleaming new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located not on the banks of the muddy Mississippi in Memphis but in (gulp) Cleveland.

But fans, take heart. The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, a world-class, state-of-the-art facility located in the cavernous new Gibson guitar factory just half a block from Beale Street, has righted an egregious error. The independently operated museum is a joint project with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and pays loving tribute both to the rich musical heritage of Memphis and to the music's roots from the neighboring Mississippi Delta.

"Millions of people appreciate rock and roll music, but few understand its origins," says Pete Daniel, the curator of the exhibition Rock 'n' Soul: Social Crossroads. "Rhythm and blues, country, rock and roll, and soul music derived from the confluence of centuries of musical exchange."

"Memphis is the city where America's black and white cultures met and sometimes collided throughout much of the twentieth century," adds Steve Masler, managing curator for the Rock 'n' Soul Museum. The museum, he says, "not only pays tribute to that [musical] legacy, but for the first time clearly and compellingly explains it. We call this museum a 'primer' for anyone wanting to learn more about America's rich musical history."

But don't be misled. More than a hand-holding lesson for the rhythmically challenged, this is a music shrine for ardent admirers of the blues, country, and rock and roll--the more ardent the better. …

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