Memphis Gold
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Memphis Gold

Arlington, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Arlington, Virginia, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Blues Soul




"Blues Artist Memphis Gold is on the Cover of Oldest Blues Magazine in the World, the Jefferson Blues Magazine"

“Blues Artist Memphis Gold is on the Cover of Oldest Blues Magazine in the World, the Jefferson Blues Magazine (Sweden) Issue #147 January 2006 “My father played piano and Wilkins and I played guitar, just the three of us together. Of all my family today,I’m the only one who plays the blues. My brothers and sisters are of the church. When we meet, they ask if I still play the "devil's music". I see it as a job, and I write my songs as stories. I have been married several times and my songs contain a lot of my own experiences.” ” - Jefferson Blues Magazine

"Blues Artist Memphis Gold is on the Cover of Living Blues Magazine (USA) Issue #199 /February/March 2009"

“Blues Artist Memphis Gold is on the Cover of Living Blues Magazine (USA) Issue #199 /February/March 2009 Chester Chandler, a.k.a. Memphis Gold, grew up in the early days of the COGIC church in Memphis learning to play guitar from the likes of Robert Wilkins and Rev. Utah Smith. As a young man he played in several legendary Memphis bands including the Fieldstones. After a nearly fatal accident in 2008, Chandler is back and busting out. “What I hear and what I play comes from both sides… It’s a heritage thing, and I want to try to keep it going on, keep it alive in a different form.”” - Scott Barretta - Living Blues Issue # 199

"Blues Artist Memphis Gold Graced the Cover of Blues and Rhythm Magazine (UK) Issue #233"

“Blues Artist Memphis Gold Graced the Cover of Blues and Rhythm Magazine (UK) Issue #233 October 2008 “Memphis Gold stands with one foot in the past and one foot in the present...[he] could be one of the youngest (and one of the last) to have picked cotton on the Dockery and Stovall plantations. Appreciative of his roots, yet too young to be completely anchored in the past, his original music moves forward with funky rhythms, odd chord changes and structures, and his own idiosyncratic view of life.”” - Blues And Rhythm Magazine (UK) #233

"Gibson Guitar Partners with Venerable D.C. Blues Club to Honor Memphis Gold."

Gibson Guitar is recognizing Memphis Gold for his contribution to the Blues and for his perseverance in getting back to his music after a tragic work-related accident on January 8, 2008. Memphis, a tree trimmer by day, fell 35 feet to the ground crushing his second, third and fourth vertebrae. Told he had only a small chance of walking again, Memphis has overcome tremendous obstacles to make a remarkable comeback with a coveted performance slot with Sly Stone, Harold Melvin's Blues Notes and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the Heroes Red, White and Blue Inaugural Ball, a February 2009 cover story in Living Blues Magazine and a brand new CD to be released at his award show on March 3. - Gibson Guitar

"War Vets Honored At Heroes Red, White and Blue Military Ball"

"...and the night was a huge success, with performances by Parliament Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton - who is renowned for his wild live shows - David Banner, Memphis Gold and others..." - MTV News

"Blues In the South (UK)"

Blues In the South (UK)
MEMPHIS GOLD – Pickin’ In High Cotton (Stackhouse SRC-1915)

Wow! This kind of down-home sound has not really been
heard since Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howling Wolf stopped walking the earth. The latter is a major influence on Mr. Gold (Chester Chandler to his parents) judging from numerous tracks here and the fact his is the first voice to be heard on the CD; Lightnin’ came to mind because of the occasional guitar licks, Gold’s propensity for very personal songs and the arrangements – a couple of guitars (Gold and the excellent Robert Lighthouse) over a loose rhythm section, acoustic based yet frequently driving. The material is not without controversy either: “How You Gonna Play The Blues?” restores the music to its African- American roots, ‘John Brown’ is a Muddy Waters flavoured account of a slave insurrection in 1859, and ‘Homeless Blues’ is drawn from first-person experience. Musically, Gold’s experience includes Reverend Robert Wilkins, R.L. Burnside, The Fieldstones, Big Lucky Carter, Uncle Ben Perry and other Mississippi/ Memphis blues performers. This album celebrates (if that is the right word) the fact that Gold’s background and upbringing are the same as that of many of the music’s true greats, and the raw, impassioned songs on this album certainly bear that out.

- Norman Darwen - MEMPHIS GOLD – Pickin’ In High Cotton (Stackhouse SRC-1915)


Even though Chet “Memphis Gold” Chandler primarily plays either an acoustic or clean hollow body guitar on his new release Pickin’ High Cotton, you could still categorize the music as heavy. He kicks off the album by declaring “if you ain't never had to pull no corn, if you ain't never had to slop no hogs, and if ain't never had to pick no cotton, you don’t know what the blues is all about, put your guitar down cause you aint never had the blues” on the heart wrenching march “How You Gonna Play the Blues,” Next Gold pleads the case of all African Americans on “Don’t Take My Blues Away,” sounding as if he stepped out of a Lomax recording form the depression. The relentless two beat stomp of the title track is a loving tribute to “Smokestack Lightnin’”featuring Robert Lighthouse on mournful slide guitar and Gold howling like the Wolf himself. The album hits its deepest point with “Homeless Blues,” with Gold giving personal testimony of life on the street thru this classic slow blues lament. His simple resolute chorus “if it were not for the grace of God, you’d be homeless too,” will stir the souls of believers and non believers alike. Gold is joined by Jay Summerour on harp for the historical juke shuffle “John Brown,” telling the tale of the abolitionist’s fate.
This third release from Memphis Gold since his nearly fatal accident in 2008 shows an artist dedicated to the preservation of deep grooves and roots of traditional delta blues.

- Rick J Bowen - RICK BOWEN




HOW YOU GONNA PLAY THE BLUES--BISCUIT BOOGIE--DON'T TAKE MY BLUES AWAY--PICKIN' IN HIGH COTTON--BACK PO'CH TENNESSEE--HOMELESS BLUES--MISSISSIPPI FLATLANDS--JOHN BROWN--ICE CREAM MAN--PLOW MY MULE--STANDIN' BY THE HIGHWAY Memphis Gold was born Chester Chandler in 1955, and was dancing for tips down on Beale Street as a wee lad. His Mississippi roots run deep, tho, and he pays a stirring tribute to those hardscrabble days of his youth in his latest release, "Pickin' In High Cotton.' These eleven cuts are reminiscent of the Hill Country artists that influenced him, such as Jessie Mae Hemphill, R. L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough, and many others. His guitar playing is clean and clear, and his vocal delivery would make his mentors proud.
The party starts with his autobiographical "How You Gonna Play The Blues," with its stories of "pullin' corn," "pickin' cotton," and "the worst part of the hog!" Pete Ragusa adds drums to the title cut, over Gold's driving slide, where "300 pounds before the sun goes down" is a good day's work. The slow pace of "Homeless Blues" paints a grim picture and reminds us where we all could be "if not for the grace of God." "Back Po'ch Tennessee" is a cool juke joint instrumental with plenty of deep slide, while the set closes with a rolling guitar shuffle of Gold's coming-of-age, "Standing By The Highway.'

We had two favorites, too. Jay Summerour adds harp to the tale of "goin' down to Harper's Ferry to get ole John Brown." And, Danny Blue adds guitar to the "endless boogie" of the just-a-little-bit-naughty "Ice Cream Man," which "hits just the right spot!"

Injuries sustained in a serious fall in 2008 temporarily slowed Memphis Gold, but, even tho doctors told him he might never walk again, he has recovered and continues to persevere. Staying true to his Memphis/Mississippi roots and traditions, he is definitively "Pickin' In High Cotton!" Until next time...Sheryl and Don Crow. - NASHVILLE BLUES SOCIETY

"STACKHOUSE MEMPHIS GOLD/Pickin’ in High Cotton:"

Chris Spector
Midwest Record

The way a folk fan likes Michael Hurley, the blues fan will like Memphis Gold. Coloring so far outside the lines that he’s off the page, Gold remembers the blues from before his time but feels them from down home fused with post industrial migration vibes and sounds. With a heart and soul that’s at least spiritually still out in the field, you almost hope Gold never makes it inside the house because this stuff cuts to the bone like a stone cold killer. Hot stuff that you can’t compare to anything, this is purely wake up call/outsider music that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. A wonderful, wild ride. 1915

Volume 35/Number 351
October 6, 2012

"Memphis Gold: Pickin' in High Cotton"

Stackhouse Recording Company SRC-1915

Guitarist Chester Chandler aka Memphis Gold has more than paid his dues. Having shared a stage with artists ranging from Sister Rosetta Tharpe through to more recent acts like Lil Jimmy Reed, his debut album only came in 1998. After breaking his back in 2008, Chandler, against the odds, has now returned to playing and performing.

The opening "How You Gonna Play the Blues", which explains the meaning of the blues, hints at Howling Wolf in the intro, before locking into the rolling groove that is the hallmark of several tracks, including the very fine "Don't Take My Blues Away". The other dominant style is boogie, with the influence of John Lee Hooker evident on several fine tracks including the instrumental "Back Po'ch Tennessee". Just to prove that he has more than two strings to his bow, Chandler finishes with the funky "Standin' by the Highway", a very classy way to close things out.

Given the quality of the musicianship on display, it is somewhat surprising that Memphis Gold does not have a higher profile in the UK. "Pickin' in High Cotton" is a very fine album, and Chester Chandler is a first rate singer, guitarist and songwriter to boot.



Chester Chandler, AKA "Memphisgold" proclaims that he was borm with the Blues on track one, "How You Gonna Play The Blues". Throughout this monologue of the greats it becomes quite evident that Memphisgold is certainly a throwback to an earlier time that the masters reigned supreme. This is not to say that Memphisgold is just another Southern Fried Bluesman from Memphis but is in fact a singer of outstanding quality who tells his stories with a conviction that takes you back to Charlie Patton and a time that was dominated by cotton. This is an authentic treasure as it takes us on a journey on every backwater road trudging from Juke Joint to Juke Joint to rent party's across the South. Memphisgold was well educated by his musician father who fathered 13 children. Beale Street became his second home from the age of 8 and it shows when Memphisgold pours his heart out on a slow Blues playing some slide . A potent combination. Throughout this album, l continually want the flick the dust from my shoulder's, such is the power of this album. For me l feel that if you wanted to teach someone about the Delta then this is the album to do so. Solid songs with a solid band, stunning guitar and the perfect voice to deliver these great songs. This could easily have come from an earlier time, such is the impact. All round a must have album of 2012.

There we have it Betsie, all three of these cd's have been getting plenty of airplay here at PBS 106-7 FM Melbourne Australia. They have really appealed to our listeners both locally and on our web casting. To have three albums of this calibre is a bonus for us and a big recognition of your high standing in the cut throat world music world. As always thank-you for your wonderful support.

regards peter.
PBS 106-7 FM.

"Memphis Gold Pickin’ In High Cotton"

From Suncoast Blues Society's "12 Bar Rag" - Nov-Dec-2012

Memphis Gold
Pickin’ In High Cotton
Stackhouse Recording Co. SRC-1915

I was glad to see this record pop up on the review list because I had been curious about this artist. Memphis Gold’s picture has been on the cover of Living Blues and his name appears on the web fairly frequently but I had never the opportunity to listen to his music.

One of my favorite tracks is #2, “Biscuit Boogie”! I’d like to dive into a pile of this light and fluffy Boogie, Mmmmm-Mmmmm, that hit’s the spot! The title track,Pickin’ In High Cotton, opens up like Smokestack Lightning then kinda’ slides into North Mississippi trance-Blues..Good stuff! The instrumental “Back Po’ch Tennessee is what it might sound like if John Lee Hooker and R.L. Burnside got into a no-holds-barred guitar throw-down…

There’s little doubt that Memphis Gold (true name Chet Chandler) was born to sing the Blues. Born in Memphis in 1955, he was the thirteenth of fourteen children. His father started him on guitar at age four and by the time he was eight he was busking on Beale St.! On this recording he shows flashes of Howlin’ Wolf as well overtones of Muddy, Lazy Lester and the aforementioned Johnny Lee and R.L. It doesn’t seem to be a conscious effort to sound like anyone else; it’s just the flavors from the stew he grew up in! -


"Memphis Gold Pickin’ in High Cotton"

‘Memphis Gold,’ who, in is day job as a tree surgeon is better known to his friends and colleagues as Chester Chandler, unfortunately it was his day job that nearly killed him and his career after he fell thirty five feet out of a pine tree in College Park, Maryland; even though his doctors felt that the idea of him ever walking again, would at the very least, be optimistic but, he not only confounded them, he also combined starting to walk again with recording this very moving album. All eleven numbers are acoustic based with drums, bass and guitar where needed. The atmosphere throughout is a measured slow walk through time with inherent spine-tingling shivers. This is achieved mostly by Memphis’s sometime strident, defiant and almost howling vocals yet, also reeking of suppressed ghosts and memories of the past, as recalled in “How You Gonna Play The Blues,” and “Pickin’ In High Cotton,” in these Memphis asks the open question, if you haven’t the memories of back breaking cotton pickin’ (he actually worked the cotton fields with his mother as a child), sloping out hogs and experiencing grinding poverty, how can you seriously claim to understand the blues?
Highly evocative and enjoyable is the very fine North Mississippi instrumental ”Back Po’ch Tennessee” as is the slowburning “Homeless Blues.” The jolly little acoustic number “Biscuit Boogie” and the John Lee Hooker inspired “Ice Cream Man,” slot easily alongside plaintive and endearing burners as “Don’t Take My Blues Away” and “John Brown.” As a contrast to the main themes of the album “Standing By the Highway,” is a foot stomper of the highest order, a slow bass building, seriously striding funker with almost no end in sight. Well worth investigation

- Brian Harman. - BRIAN HARMAN

"Memphis Gold"

Memphis Gold (a.k.a. Chester Chandler) learned guitar from the legendary Memphis guitarist, Reverend Robert Wilkins, and started a musical journey soon after that eventually found him playing guitar with one of the Bluff City’s most revered blues bands, the Fieldstones. For a number of years, he has resided in Washington, D.C. where he formed a duo with harmonica player Charlie Sayles, playing various D.C. clubs and serving a year-long stint in Deborah Coleman’s touring band before setting out on his own.

Pickin’ in High Cotton (Stackhouse Recording Co.) is Memphis Gold’s fourth release, and, like the others, it offers up traditional blues with modern touches. There’s plenty of greasy Memphis soul in the mix, too, as might be expected, but there’s definitely more emphasis on the traditional blues styles of artists like Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters.

Memphis Gold is one of those composers w ho can write a song about nearly any subject, and he covers a broad range on this release. “How You Gonna Play The Blues” is sort of an autobiographical track, about how he’s paid the same dues (picking cotton, working in the fields, wearing cardboard in his shoes) that his predecessors did. This is a strong, down-home track, with harmonica wailing in th background, as Memphis Gold declares, “I am the Blues, I own the Blues!”

Memphis Gold also takes on the plight of the homeless (he was himself homeless for a while in D.C.) on “Homeless Blues,” and also relates the story of the doomed 19th Century abolitionist in “John Brown,” while tracks like “Plow My Mule” and the title track discuss the hard work done in the fields, albeit in different ways (the former goes the urban blues route, while the latter does more of a down-home approach, with a “Smokestack Lightnin’” backdrop).

There’s also more lighthearted fare as well, with “Biscuit Boogie,” an upbeat track that will make you want to dance and grab a pan of biscuits at the same time, the Hooker-esque “Ice Cream Man,” the fine instrumental, “Back Po’ch Tennessee,” and the splendidly funky closer, “Standin’ By The Highway.”

Pickin’ in High Cotton is probably Memphis Gold’s most personal album yet. There’s lots of biographical references here in nearly every song. It’s the kind of disc that makes you think, but also makes you move your feet, thanks to Memphis Gold’s standout guitar work, plus contributions from artists like Jay Summerour, Linwood Taylor, and Robert Lighthouse.

Graham Clarke
Blues Bytes

"CD Review Memphis Gold “Pickin In High Cotton”"

Smokey Mtn. Blues Society
CD Review Memphis Gold “Pickin In High Cotton”
Blue Barry – Smoky Mtn.
Blues Society October, 2012

No fooling around here...right back down to the Delta. Want some mud between your toes, check out Memphis Gold’s new CD, “Pickin’ In High Cotton.” Now this ain’t electric good time music, this is acoustic, Delta blues, country style, no tube screamers, but slap your face Mississippi, well, Memphis Gold! A very most pleasing sound that never gets in its own way. Memphis Gold plays guitar and does the vocals, and is just all over that Delta sound. Robert Lighthouse helps out on slide and harmonica. Jay Summerour also plays some harp, and Linwood Taylor lays down some electric guitar on actually my favorite track, “Plow My Mule”. This is a really good acoustic CD. If you want some of the best contemporary, but old style barrelhouse, juke joint stuff here it is. Served up on a platter. Blue Plate is you will. Memphis Gold has learned his trade from the best, and you can just hear it. Driving blues, great rhythms, nothing loud and overbearing, just toe-tapping boogies, shuffles, and some great slow, and I mean slow blues. Lots of good ideas here for you acoustic guitar players. Great timing, you can hear every instrument, like a slow freight train plowing through the Delta fog. I love it “Homeless Blues” is kinda’ like Robert Petaway’s “Catfish Blues” and the real old stuff the greats used to play. “Back Porch” is an instrumental that sticks in my head as well. “Pickin’ In High Cotton” has some very nice slide in it. Sounds like Blues in E to me. Sparse and rangy. On the money. “Ice Cream Man” is coming through your neighborhood with lots of flavors, and I know you love ice cream. Danny Blue plays guitar on “Ice Cream Man” as well. The CD is co-produced by Eric “High Cotton” Selby who also plays drums on most of the tracks. Overall this is just a great acoustic CD. Even got some history in there with “John Brown” and the Harper’s Ferry incident. You need to give it a listen. Let’s try to find and see what you think. Hey man, sitting on the back porch by the firepit, in the cool of the evening with some iced tea, and some ‘Honey’ Jack Daniels…….Memphis Gold baby! Welcome to Tennessee. Now I know you Yankees lost the war, but you’ll love this offering from the Southland just the same.

One love, blue barry – smoky mountain blues society - Smokey Mtn. Blues Society


Memphis Gold

"Gator Gon Bitechu"

Pickin In High Cotton

Prodigal Son



"He is the genuine article, perhaps a throwback to the blues men of yore who learned their licks at the knee of legendary patriarch like Charlie Patton. And having done so, serves as one of the last links to the days when cotton was king on the Mississippi Delta," says Larry Benicewicz of Music Monthly. "I`m happy to report that, no, Memphis Gold did not tell me that he sold his soul to the devil down at the Crossroads of highway 49 and 61 in order to play like the guitar wizard that he is."

Memphis Gold has come a long way in the Mid Atlantic, including the crowning achievement of recording 3 full albums. He has shared the stage with such artists as Bernard Allison, James Brown, R.L. Burnside, Debra Coleman, Robert Cray, John Hammond, Little Jimmy King, Johnny Lang, Taj Mahal, Bobby Parker, Little Jimmy Reed, Martha Reeves, Charlie Sayles, Guitar Shorty, Mavis Staples, Hubert Sumlin, Beat Daddys, Joyce Cobb, Shemeika Copland, Junior Kimbrough, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Roomful of Blues, Otis Rush, Temptations and Jimmy Vaughn, and many more celebrities.

He has performed 9 USO tours to far flung military posts throughout the world including Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, Egypt, Sinai, Japan, Korea, Marshall Islands, Guam, Okinawa, Honduras, Cuba and many more, giving time back to the troops. As a Vietnam Veteran, who served for 10 years, he knows how it is to be along way from home.

"This hidden treasure recently turned 50, and has been in the DC area since 1992, having moved from Memphis wherein as a youth he learned his guitar licks at the knee of legendary Delta picker, later gospel player, Reverend Robert Tim Wilkins and formed his first soul band, the Reflections, in the late 60s, before eventually assuming the guitar chores of the renowned blues outfit, the Fieldstones, who recorded for High Water (Jessie Mae Hemphill, Junior Kimbrough, Hammie Nixon, etc.), in the early 80s. Just prior to leaving the Home of the Blues, he was fronting his own group, the J.J. Blues Band.

Down and out and homeless after landing in the Nations Capital, he played in the streets for tips, making an important connection to the famed harp player, Charlie Sayles, who also earned his meager existence in this manner. As a duo, they later helped in the debut of Baltimores Spike & Charlies (restaurant) in a blues concert series sponsored by the Coalition for Celebrating African Music of the Americas. And encouraged immensely by another noted D.C.-based bluesman, Bobby Parker, he soon started finding regular club work at the Jet Lounge on 14th St., later the Rock Bottom in Bethesda, JVs and Whitlows in Northern VA, and the Bohemian Caverns on U Street. In 1995, he served a year-long stint as lead in Debra Colemans touring band (with the late Willie Hicks on bass) before finally venturing out on his own. By 1998, he issued his first and very well-received eponymous CD which was produced by Parker, an undertaking which was highly influential in his selection as the top headliner in Brad and Marcia Selkos annual Hot August Blues Festival in Manor, MD, the following year. In 2004, came an invitation to perform at the prestigious Poconos Blues Festival."- Larry Benicewicz

In addition to the PBF, he has performed at the Monsteras Blues Festival (2006), DC Blues Society Festival (2006), headlined the Amal`s Blues Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden (July 2005), and toured the Koh Samui Islands of Thailand (January 2006).

Chester Chandler (aka Memphis Gold) was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 4, 1955. Chester was the thirteenth child of fourteen, born to John and Reada Chandler. John his father and also a musician, played the bass fiddle and piano in the Church of God in Christ- where at the tender age of 4, Chester was first introduced to the guitar. Chester was quickly recognized as a promising musician, by the age of 8, he was a regular on Beale Street in Memphis, where he played the guitar and danced for pocket change from the crowd.

In February of 1996, Chester Chandler rescued 9 children from a train crash in Silver Springs, Md., which was coming from the Harpers Ferry Job Corps, West Virginia. Ironically he, had performed a blues seminar for the children several months before. Memphis Gold has appeared on the Leeza Show, NBC Dateline, and the Discovery Channel for his heroic effects.

Recently Memphis Gold was featured on the cover of the oldest blues magazine in the world, Jefferson Magazine.

Band Members