- Essays: On The Road (And A Little Off)

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More essays
at KindaMuzik:

Panama and the Live Sex Show

Soulful Trip Revealed:
Panama Red Plays Roosendaal

Welcome to Amsterdam, Buffy




Deerfield Beach FL, May 17th 2002
TUESDAY AFTERNOON MAY 14. Ric O'Barry comes in with
me to the Bamboo Room, has a water while I have a beer, then
heads back down to Miami early enough to beat the traffic.
I have been looking forward to playing the Bamboo Room: it
has a reputation as a premier venue in Florida, or the
entire United States for that matter, and I have some
HomeGrown CDs to sell and some songs to test for the next
one. Far from being like the dives we used to play in the
chicken-wire days, the Bamboo Room treats its artists as
treasures. Furnished apartment to stay in, kitchen with
stocked refrigerator and microwave, cable TV. Good money.
Friendly staff. Great audiences.
I have some relatives here from this side of the state, so
there is a little additional pressure to perform well.
Marie Nofsinger, who is co-hosting BackToTheRoots Night
here at the Bamboo, touts my CDs and gives me a great
introduction and the show is under way.

I have a policy of not reviewing my own shows, but it seems
to go somewhat well judging by the whooping and hollering,
I sell a buncha CDs, and I am invited to return in the near
future by Da Boss, Russell Hibbard. I cannot tout The
Bamboo Room too highly; if you get a chance to play there
you should and if you get a chance to go to a show there
you should do that, too.
Toward the end of the evening, we get a whole panorama of
players up at once, have a regular hootenanny. Rod
MacDonald, an awesome folkie himself, who has been
instrumental in helping me set up this Soulful Trip, joins
Russell, me and the others on stage and then at the bar for
a tequila nightcap or five. After I drink Rod and Russell
over the table, I crawl across the street to the famous #8
band apartment and pass blissfully out.
I wake up ravenous at ten am. I have been, in a sense,
sleeping with Maria Muldaur, as she came through here and
slept in THIS VERY BED!!! a couple of weeks ago.
OlFolkieJim is to pick me up at eleven, so Maria and I hie
out to the nearest restaurant and sit up and take
I have no agenda this day.
Another place I have been looking forward to playing is the
Main Street Cafe in Homestead. Music biz types here bemoan
the fact that there are relatively few places for
"acoustic" acts to play, but they are too young to remember
what a folk music desert South Florida was thirty years
ago. Those to whom I've spoken seem to think we were just
running wild with our Martin D28s back then. But in all
truth, folk music in South Florida had dried up by 1970.
Which may explain why Fred Neil found it so relatively easy
to hide out here.

The Main Street Cafe is just as renowned as The Bamboo
Room, in fact Bamboo's Russell Hibbard had strongly
recommended it to me as a venue. It is beautifully owned
and managed by a beautiful willowy woman named Laurie.
It's patrons are more lyric-, less groove-, oriented than
the Bamboo Room's clientele, a fact that takes me a whole
set to begin to figure out. But in the end I get hold of a
chair and finish the show sitting down doing "the intimate
Panama Red", which works okay.

I manage to sell a few more CDs, and a couple of the new
"Disco Still Sucks" Panama Red Soulful Florida Trip
T-shirts(get yours now before it ends up on eBay). I also
almost have a near-life experience with a Babe, but end up
back on the slab heading up to Deerfield Beach.

It is night on the beach and in my soul. I have seen some
old friends and made a few new ones on this return to South
Florida. Very memorable to me was getting to jam once
again with my old buds Kevin Hurley and Bobby Ingram at
Kevin's gig at whatever they're calling Captain Dick's
these days.. But most of the time I have been surrounded
by people who, maybe except for the music and the press
handouts, do not know me at all. I have been working
offstage as much as on.

The Atlantic surf pounds relentlessly against the Deerfield
Beach Pier's pilings tonight, and I identify more with the
pilings than the surf. Despite the financial and critical
success of this leg of the soulful trip, I have been pretty
emotionally buffeted on the East coast of Florida. My life
over here on the East side was ever and always more
tumultuous than my days around Tampa Bay.

Tomorrow, Friday, my sister and brother-in-law will pick me
up and carry me inland to their house on Lake Okeechobee,
and we will not talk about music. I will sit on their dock
and catch bream and let them go again. I will look at
alligators and ibises.

Saturday and Sunday nights I will be in Bradenton at
Fogartyville Cafe, and while the surf pounds the pilings on
this Atlantic coast I hope to be looking into the Mexican
Gulf's gentle lapping at the opposite shore, phosphorescent
contrails as the snook and cobia and sting ray go by.

Tonight I feel impossibly lonely.

-to be continued-