Essays: On The Road And A Little Off

Sign Panama's Guestbook

More essays
at KindaMuzik:

Panama and the Live Sex Show

Soulful Trip Revealed:
Panama Red Plays Roosendaal

Welcome to Amsterdam, Buffy

   "Choice Buds" BLOOMS

Nashville TN, October 10, 2004 - - Except for the packaging, Panama Red's newest CD opus, "Choice Buds", is complete, and we at the vast (yeah, right) Panama Red website complex are tired but happy little warriors.

I'm sitting in the office here at the Murfreesboro Panamansion listening for one last private time before it becomes available for and susceptible to criticism, and I'd like to be the first to review it, or at least the first to write about it.

The original idea of "Buds" was that it would be kind of an extension of the album HomeGrown, "Choice Buds" referring to the songs themselves. But as time went by and friends got involved in the project, the title's meaning grew to include them as well.

The Choice Buds playing on the CD are, in no especial order, Charlie DeChant and Buddy Helm, my old bandmates from Bethlehem Asylum; Ronnie Elliott and some of the Nationals crew from his recordings- -Walt Bucklin, Harry Hayward and Steve Connelly, all from the Tampa/StPete nexus; and the Muscle Shoals contingent: Spooner Oldham, Scott Boyer, Jason Isbell, Shonna Tucker, David Hood, Topper Price, Mike Dillon, N. C. Thurman, Bryan Owings, Owen Brown, Billy Swan, and Donnie Fritts. My friend and uber-producer Dick Cooper exhibited an admirable amount of patience, humor and determination in bringing it home.

Those who found HomeGrown to be too short will also be disappointed in ChoiceBuds, as it comes in at just over thirty-two minutes. Those who expect reverb on vocals will be keenly disappointed also, as the record is dry as toast, even when old Panama is struggling with Fred Neil's "Dolphins". The best review I ever got for HomeGrown was "There is no bullshit on this record," and Dick Cooper and I held that as a beacon in the fog for ChoiceBuds. There are a few falters and flaws. But, I hope, no bullshit.

The songs themselves come from a wide range of styles and time periods. I wrote "Bottom Dollar" back in the 70's here in Nashburg with my choice bud Billy Joe Shaver. "St Pete Jail" is new, having been written with Ronny Elliott back in June of this year. "Expat Blues" is a tune by my friend Rob (The Doc) Dokter with whom faithful readers have become familiar from my European diaries. And the aforementioned "Dolphins" is of course a tune by the late Fred Neil, which I wanted to do because of my admiration for and friendship with Freddy, but mostly because it's a great song. I would recommend that if you like the tune you go to one of his records and hear him do it because as anyone will tell you, nobody else can even come close to performing his songs as well as he did.

The rest of the songs I wrote alone: "Down in Sinaloa", "Duchess", "Over You Now", "Wyoming County Catamount", "I Don't Need No Doctor", and "All of My Dreams" are particular and peculiar to me. Some friends requested that other tunes of mine be included on this recording but, as these things go sometimes, they are not there. Something to live for, I guess.

Thanks to everyone whose support for whatever it is that I do makes it all possible. To attempt to credit you all by name would necesssarily mean that some would be omitted, so I won't try here. Thank you.

Thanks again
Yer faithful fan and correspondent
Panama Red

I'm packing up and heading for Florida again. I have a few dates there coming up in late October/early November. The production lines at the plant we will use in the manufacture of "Choice Buds" are jammed with pre-Christmas production already and so there will not be time to make the "Official" version of the CD for the Florida tour. As with the first unoffical version of "HomeGrown", we'll have a limited number of bootlegs to vend at the gigs. Buying those will be a good investment, just in case I get in a light plane accident or as seems more likely, am struck by lightning for impiety.