that’s something I always
There’s a power, a grace
and a majesty in that song –
and I think it comes from walking
so close to being hackneyed.
But you feel the truth sneaking through
between the lines.
Everyone pegs it as an Elvis tribute because
he sings about boarding the plane in his
blue suede shoes, mentions the King and Graceland
but actually it’s more about place than person, and
if it’s about any one person at all it’s
about Marc Cohn.
This was him searching for a song, while searching
for himself – or maybe it was the other way around.
He jumped a plane to Memphis to go and see and
hear and feel the music his dad loved. He was also
aware that he needed to write a good
He hadn’t written anything that was up to much and
he knew it – he was embarrassed to be on a publishing
deal and with nothing to publish that felt very real.
But seeing Al Green in a church in the home of the
blues and being invited up to sing with the woman that
played the piano at the Hollywood Café every Friday
night (Muriel Davis Wilkins) – that meant something;
meant he had a song to sing and a reason to believe
and a place to go, as well as somewhere he’d just
When Walking In Memphis first hit the airwaves I
was a kid. Well, a teenager, just. And it was a strange
song, and a brave song and I loved it – it was deeply
unfashionable and felt a couple of decades old straight
I love the little hint of gospel, the hint of blues, the
trace of soul – it’s a musical autobiography. And it
must have been hard to compete with this song, Marc
Cohn wrote a few other gems but nobody seemed
to care too much.
But I care.
I check in now and then and enjoy some of the other
work he’s done.
But Walking In Memphis is one of those songs, man.
Okay, it’s not quite Wichita Lineman. But then again
you know what, man it is…tonight!