'Memphis Bob': Along the Way

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In a city of 'must see' attractions, there's one, not listed in the tourist guides, but maybe,should be.
His stage is a downtown street corner--no ticket required.

In this week's edition, we go "Along the Way" with a man locals know as 'Memphis Bob'--but know little else about.

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

At the corner of 6th and St. Joseph...

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

...is a living breathing harmonica jukebox.

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

If you've heard it, he probably plays it.

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

He estimates he knows about a thousand songs...and on sunny summer days, right around lunchtime, you'll often find him playing, always in the same spot.

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

His trusty sidekick Scowler the dog never leaves Bob's side. He says he used to live in Memphis, now he's known as Memphis Bob.

Memphis Bob says, "Friend of mine stuck it on me. Yeah, I can't stand Memphis. That's okay, it can't stand me either."

His real name is Robert Snider, although nobody calls him that. And for about 17 years he says he's claimed this: as his corner.

Musician "Memphis Bob" says, "There's 16 places in this town you can play, this one's mine. You got 15 more to choose from, usually they got the idea."

He says he served in the Marines from 1973 to 75: never deployed as the war in Vietnam was wrapping up. But it was during that time he got his first harmonica.

Musician "Memphis Bob" says, "Oh yeah they used to throw things at me back in the barracks,"
He says, "And that wasn't even when the lights were out. But I was trying to learn you know."

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

And he did learn, using the harmonica for years now to make some extra money.

A man drops a donation into Bob's bucket.
Bob says, "Thank you"
The other man says, "Have a good one."
Bob says, "Take care."

It's money he never could have guessed he would need, made all the more impressive considering this:

Memphis Bob says "I used to be a welder, lost my arm: auto accident years ago,"he says.
"It's still there, it just has no feeling," he says.

While his arm has no feeling his music does.

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

A living breathing harmonica jukebox.

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

If you've heard it, he probably plays it

(We hear Memphis Bob playing music on his harmonica)

At 11 years old Scow has just one eye, losing the other Bob says, to Glaucoma.
When they're done, Bob packs up his cart, crosses the street, and fades into the crowd...until next time.
Not yet a Rapid City tourist attraction, but maybe he should be.

I asked him what he hopes people get out of his music, and Bob said, "A happy feeling".
And with that as a goal, I think it's safe to say he achieves that every time he plays.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call us, or e-mail me at stevel@blackhillsfox.com, to us to let us know.