I am reminded that Mickey Hart is maintaining a Trip Diary for the Dead’s summer tour. The Flash-based interface is a little wiggy (doesn’t work at all for me in Mozilla) but the first journal entry is worth the effort to find (here’s a direct link to it), just for Mickey’s take on Memphis:
[T]his part of the country birthed rock n roll. It is what Mesopotamia was to the ancient world, Memphis was the place it all rolled together to make a great gumbo of music. This is where the powerful trance music of West Africa came together in the fields and front porches of the Delta. The musical trade winds blew hard from Bahia in Brazil, traveling up through Central America to the Caribbean, to Haiti and Cuba and finally arriving at our shores in New Orleans. In places like Congo Square and Lake Ponchartrain, where the slaves were first allowed to practice “their” music, the upper class whites would come to see this spectacle, but had no idea that this would evolve into American popular music.
(Thanks to Mike Presky for the tip.)