GHOSTS BEHIND THE SUN: Memphis: Splendor, Enigma & Death
Tav Falco's sprawling study of Memphis begins with the Civil War massacre at Fort Pillow, the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878 and the grisly murders of the Harp Brothers. Falco traces these legends of Reconstruction-era Memphis to an equally brutal twentieth century underworld ― Beale Street kingpin Jim Canaan, Edward Crump's political machine, the Dixie Mafia, and others. Also included are revelatory dialogues concerning the city's many music legends, from rockabilly icons Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Feathers to more underground figures such as Jim Dickinson and country blues wailer Jessie Mae Hemphill. Interwoven with these accounts is an autobiographical history of Falco's own time in Memphis, including his involvement with performance art ensemble Insect Trust, working with pop/rock maverick Alex Chilton, and the formation of his seminal rock and roll band, Panther Burns. The book also contains over 80 illuminating photographs, mostly previously unseen originals by Falco.
GHOSTS BEHIND THE SUN is Volume One of MONDO MEMPHIS, a dual encyclopedic history of Memphis written by Tav Falco and cultural critic Erik Morse. Volume Two, Morse's roman noir, BLUFF CITY UNDERGROUND, will be published in 2012.
MONDO MEMPHIS is both an original history of the gothic South and an intertext of the urban legends, rural fables and literary clichés that have made the Bluff City both a metropolis of dreams and a necropolis of terrors..