Welcome to the second edition of my dinner and a song list series. If you missed the first installment, “Music Pairings; Dinner and a Song List- Recipes for a Memorable Dining Experience Series; Italian Night with Spaghetti Bolognese” you can find it here.
It seems everyone is so interested in wine pairings; which wine goes with a specific dish, but I’ve not yet seen anyone match a pairing for specific foods, or meals with just the right music to accompany it. Choosing the right music to go along with your dinner could only enhance your experience and make for a truly enchanted evening. And I’ve got a gift for finding just the right musical piece to make any meal more memorable. (geesch, do you think I could I have added another “m” word to that last sentence?).
Anyway, back to the point, when I think of Memphis BBQ, I think of- you guessed it- Blues, spicy rib rubs and sultry nights. That sounds like a great combination to me. (And a little side note; It also brings to mind that new show airing Tuesdays at 10/9 central on TNT starring Jason Lee aptly named “Memphis Beat” about a quirky detective “Southern gentleman” with a passion for Memphis, blues music and his mother ).
But, let’s get back to BBQ; according to Wikipedia, “The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is always held at the Memphis in May festival, Memphis, Tennessee, and is listed as the world’s largest pork barbecue contest by the Guinness Book of World Records.” So I’d say if anyone knows anything about ribs and BBQ, it’d be Memphis.
Ok, so let’s get down to business here. BBQ is serious business and there just ain’t no messin;’ around when it comes to doin’ ribs the right way. The best (and only) way to do ribs- at least in my humble opinion- is to slink on some sexy blues to get yur blood pumpin’. Try “Sugar in My Bowl” sung by Nina Simone (see video below).
“The Memphis blues is a style of blues music that was created in the 1920s and 1930s by Memphis-area musicians like Frank Stokes, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and Memphis Minnie. The style was popular in vaudeville and medicine shows, and was associated with Memphis’ main entertainment area, Beale Street.”
Here’s some great Memphis Blues Favorites:
Creator of the Memphis Blues Frank Stokes, Hoodoo Lady 1933-37 Memphis Minnie, Memphis Country Blues Greatest Hits 1, The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969, Vol. 3. These are all great starters, but I’ve got my real choices further on down the line.
Now that you’ve got a good start on yur Southern style blues wailin’, grab yur slab o’ ribs an’ give ’em a good wash first, then give ’em a good rub down with a hot ‘n spicy dry rub, coat ’em with brown sugar for a crunchy sweet coating an’ throw ’em in the oven covered with foil.
Dry Rub Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup good Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
Bake ’em for a couple hours (nice ‘n slow on low), then fire up the grill and baste ’em with a tangy sauce to make your mouth water. Slap on some fresh shucked corn-on-the-cob nestled up to those fine finger-lickin’ ribs and grill ’em up nice. Here’s your recipe for the finest BBQ sauce south of the arctic…an’ that’s a cool tip from the best.
Best BBQ Ribs Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups Heinz ketchup
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 large cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup plain yellow mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Backdraft Hot Sauce (BAM!)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. hickory liquid smoke
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Cool and blend in a blender if desired. And slather over ribs while grilling to achieve BBQ perfection.
Mmmmmm-mmmmm, just the thought of these ribs makes my mouth water. Oh, and don’t forget the grilled corn-on-the-cob to go with ’em. You’ll definitely need a pile of napkins to go along side these finger-lickin’ vittles, ‘cuz they do get messy.
Before you even think of sittin’ down to nosh on these beauties, queue up this playlist of some good-time blues to kick up your meal another ten notches.
My pics for Memphis BBQ Night
Choice #1; Family Style Blues BBQ:
Even kids deserve to enjoy some blues and what better way to introduce them to this great genre than giving this cd a whirl; Big Blues; music for little people. It’s actually a pretty good play and will have those tots boppin’ to the beats.
Choice #2; Lovers Only Style Blues BBQ:
I had to split this one into two types because there’s just no way I could choose between these and still feel good about my recommendation. The choice really depends on how hot n’ spicy you want your Memphis Blues BBQ night to be.
A. Romantic Blues;Come Away With Me by Norah Jones. Ok, this really isn’t necessarily Memphis Blues, but Norah’s bluesy voice just takes me away and is perfect for a romantic interlude, and if you’re serving ribs too…man oh man, you can count on some lovin’ fo’ sho’!
OR Our Day Will Come: Very Best of Ruby and the Romantics; this one’s not really Memphis Blues either but Ruby’s sweet melodic voice and the impeccable harmonies of the Romantics will work well for your romantic blues night and could set the mood for a wonderful candle light dinner, background for a low-key cocktail party or an intimate evening in front of a crackling fire.
B. Down and Dirty Blues; Eat to the Beat – The Dirtiest of them Dirty Blues. Has 17 of the best Dirty Blues recordings of all time with renowned artists as Bessie Smith, Lil Johnson, Alberta Hunter, Memphis Minnie, Rosetta Howard, Victoria Spivey, Lovin’ Sam Theard, Lucille Bogan, and many other Blues Legends, this compilation is sure to be greatly enjoyed by any fan of the Pre-War blues genre. This one isn’t for the faint of heart, and never, I repeat never, play this at a church gathering or PTA meeting…you’ll most likely be asked to never return.
OR Sugar in My Bowl – Hard Drivin’ Mamas – Vintage Sex Songs, 1923-1952. Welcome to the strange & curious world of the Buzzola label. This collection features 18 remastered tracks from such artists as, Bessie Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sippie Wallace, Lil Johnson, Dinah Washington, & many more,
Choice #3; Classic Blues, the Best of Memphis Blues BBQ:
When it came to deciding which musical melanges to list here I couldn’t pick between these, so I’ll leave that one up to you, they are both excellent snippets of the real sounds of Memphis Blues.
A. Memphis- Evolution of Memphis Blues ; an excellent choice for a full compilation which dates back to the beginning of the Memphis Blues traditions.
B. Masters of Memphis Blues; a fantastic compilation of Memphis Blues with everyone from Furry Lewis, Frank Stokes, Percy Grainger, Jazz Gillum, Dan Sane, Robert Wilkins, Allen Shaw, J.B. Lenoir, and Little Buddy Doyle.
So, there you have it, all the makings for a fabulous music pairing; dinner and a song list for a memorable Memphis BBQ Night, and that about wraps things up for the second edition. Stay tuned for the next pairing coming soon.
First in the series; Italian Night; Spaghetti Bolognese http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5603864/music_pairings_dinner_and_a_song_list.html?singlepage=true&cat=22
Little Junior Parker ; Feelin’ Good – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF_mhz08RQQ
Nina Simone ; Sugar in my Bowl; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZm0jYXZ_2I