A West Virginia Christmas from Panama Red


By Panama Red

Amsterdam, December 20, 2001 – – Had it not been for my
brother Del I probably would not have been either afflicted
or blessed, depending on how you look at it, with guitar.
Or with country music, for that matter. Among my earliest
memories are those of Del singing and playing, a strong
baritone doing “Philippino Baby” or “Riding Down the
Canyon”, one melody line and one set of changes that would
later stand me in good stead.

He was, I know my two surviving brothers would agree, the
best one of us. Of us all, he had the most of our mother’s
natural wisdom.

By the age of twelve I had been fooling around with guitars
in one form or another for more than half my life. I had
been abetted in this behaviour by my cousins, the Hazeletts
and by my Aunt Juanita’s brothers the Adkinses, who got me
hooked early with the melody line to “Poison Love”. But
the biggest contributor to my delinquency was my brother,
Del. When he went to Germany he left at my mother’s house
a factory-second Beltone guitar that I sanded and scraped
the finish off and painted with shellac. I still don’t
know why…

(read the rest)



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