The legendary Jimi Hendrix once wandered into a small club in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and did what he did best, played the guitar. The Eldorado Club, which was also known as Dance Land, was mainly attended by African Americans in the 1950's and 60's. It was located on Asbury Road near the Stones River Battlefield. It is now just a shell as the roof has fallen in and growth has taken over the building and the surrounding land.
I walked through the building with 75-year old saxophonist Raymond Summerour who once played in the club with his band called The Dukes. Summerour told me he came to Murfreesboro in 1960 and his band played at the club on Friday and Saturday nights, sometimes up until 4 AM. He told me that he remembers the day Hendrix walked in like it was yesterday.
“When Jimmy walked in we didn’t know who he was,” he told me. He said he singled to him that he wanted to sit on the stage and play along. Summerour invited him on up and stated, “When Jimmy unleashed, he got up on the stage and we were just playing regular rock n’ roll, we didn’t play the stuff that Jimmy played before he died, that hard rock type stuff, but Jimmy got up there and man let me tell you - - when he unleashed he really got down on that guitar. He was playing with his teeth, he was playing with that guitar behind his head and the crowd just went wild.”
At the time, Hendrix was in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Clarksville, Tennessee and part of the 101st Airborne Division in 1962.
Summerour mentioned a few more names that visited the club in the 1960’s. He told me that Ike and Tina Turner were there, William Bell, Bobby Marchan and Jerry Butler all visited the club. The famous blues musician who died in 1965 known as Sonny Boy Williamson also played at the club once in Murfreesboro.
Today, the club sits in ruins on a small county road. No one would ever suspect it is where history was made.
"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music." - Jimi Hendrix