and the Live Sex Show
Panama Red Plays Roosendaal
to Amsterdam, Buffy
PANAMA TWISTS ONE UP AND RETURNS TO FRANCE
Nashville, TN, August
1, 2004 - - I'm getting ready to go to France once again this
August. Somebody has to maintain some kind of tenable
relationship with Les Frogeres while the usual gang of idiots and
religious zealots is in over here, and so I guess it's up to me.
On top of the France
deal, things have been pretty hectic around the bus,
what with getting ready to move the extended Panama family into
a larger compound near the university in Murfreesboro.
Also I've been for the
last few months seriously hitting the recording
studios in St Petersburg and Muscle Shoals trying to piece together
another CD, as the fans can't be expected to buy "HomeGrown"
more than twice each, and have begun to complain. So far, Dick Cooper,
uber-producer, and I have gotten about seven items in the can, and
steadily steaming toward a finish, which may or may not include
sessions with my French friends, the band Mary-Lou, to be collected
France this time over. Seeing Cooper, known on these shores as "Dick
O'Steele", in France will be one of the highlights of the trip,
especially when I introduce him by his French pseudonym, Dick DuJour.
This process has been
somewhat more complicated than "HomeGrown" was, seeing
as how there are other players than only me involved on this
effort, and I'm not living in my bus just outside the studio. And
reminded of something Kinky Friedman once said when we were working
on his second album, which is that you have all your life to write
your first and about six months to write your second. In my case
three years, but the principle's the same.
Anyway, the sessions
for "ChoiceBuds" have been mostly productive. Some of
the tunes were written and recorded in St Petersburg/Tampa with
my old loco siempre compadre and producer Ronny Elliott, and my
friends from his records, Walt Bucklin and Harry Hayward. Joining
us on a couple of sessions was my fellow Bethlehem Asylum alum (and
long-standing Hall and Oates sideman) Charlie DeChant.
I had my reasons for
wanting to do some of the work in St Pete; I wanted to write and
work with Ronny, for one. Jim Neiman, another Bethlehem Asylum mate,
now gone to wherever we go when we stop being here, inhabits the
song, perhaps more comfortably than he inhabited the planet.
I wanted to record some
in St Pete also because whenever I'm in St Pete I can literally
feel the ghost of Jack Kerouac, who died there in the 70's; and
because St Pete was the real hometown, if he had one, of my choice
bud Fred Neil. St Pete was what Freddie and I would talk about in
nearly every conversation we had; we knew the same street characters
from the old Million Dollar Pier. That was back when a million dollars
was impressive. I mean you could build a pier with only that much.
And mostly I wanted
to include a Fred Neil tune on these sessions, and I
felt that, for me at least, the ambience of St Petersburg would
the spirit of doing it. So we did "Dolphins", and Charlie,
who is also
on Freddie's last, soon-to-be-released sessions, brought exactly
right notes with him. Freddie would be very happy with the tune,
The sessions in the
Shoals have included Jason and Shonna from the Drive By Truckers,
Topper, Spooner, and the ever-helpful and able Scott Boyer, another
fellow alum from our old Capricorn daze. They have helped me to
realize some Southern soul that would be unattainable in other locales.
To those of you who
have been kind enough to express an interest in why it is that I
haven't been my usually pithy essay self, I thank you. I've
just been otherwise occupied.
I'll write from France.