Sandlapper ParrotHead Telegraph
Volume III, Number 6
September 2000
The Sandlapper ParrotHead Club is a Charter Club of Parrot Heads in Paradise, Incorporated

Captain's Log

Greetings Sandlappers! Yes it's that time of year again. Our 3rd Annual Endless Carnival Party is scheduled for Saturday September 30th at the Commodore Yacht Club on Lake Wylie. We'll have Sandlapper Erik Smith of Hilton Head opening the evening's phestivities around 5PM and the Caribbean Cowboys of Asheville headlining the party for us. The deadline for registering is Saturday, September 16th, so send them on in ASAP. Check inside for more details.

We'll also be participating in the March of Dimes Walkathon on Saturday, September 23rd in Chester. We'll need volunteers to help hand out water, pop cycles and good cheer to the participants. More info as it comes in. The South Carolina Governor's Guardian Ad Litum Program is another area we'll be helping out with. Their Christmas Party is coming up and, as in the past, we'll be donating money and club merchandise to be presented to their volunteers for their tireless efforts in comforting the kids they deal with.

On Sunday October 8th, the SPHC will be working a concession stand at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC during the UAW-GM 500. This is an afternoon race with a 1:00 PM drop of the green flag. We need at least 20 members to volunteer for this event and we will probably bring in over $2000.00 for the club and our charities. Sandlapper Dwight Mercer of Davidson is our coordinator for this phunction, so give him a call at 704- 895-2238 if you're interested in working that day. Dwight can also be reached via e-mail at .

Our Christmas Party for the kids at the Children's Attention Home, as well as our own Christmas Party, is scheduled for Saturday, December 2nd. Details will be announced soon. And look for our annual guide to the upcoming Meeting of the Minds Parrot Head Convention in Key West in next month's issue of the Sandlapper PH Telegraph.


"My old red bike gets me around to the bars and the beaches of my town. There aren't many reasons I would leave, 'cause I have found me some peace"

The Margaritaville 500
by David Poole, Charlotte Observer

Bobby Labonte is a Parrot Head. Labonte, driver of the #18 Pontiacs owned by Joe Gibbs and the current leader of the Winston Cup standings after the 1st 22 races, is part of Jimmy Buffett's fun-loving following. While Labonte does have a tropical shirt or two in his closet, he doesn't take it too seriously. But that doesn't mean he's not a serious fan. Buffett played a concert in Raleigh last Tuesday (August 22nd) night and Labonte was there. He flew down in a helicopter from a test session in Richmond, then flew back after the concert for another day of testing before heading to Bristol for this weekend's 500. "My wife Donna got me listening to him a few years ago," Labonte said of Buffett. "When you get hooked up to it he's a pretty hard guy not to like. I think he's having a great time. It would be hard for me to believe he's not." Labonte said he's seen Buffett 10 ten times now. He likes almost all of the singer's songs, and says the song Cheeseburger in Paradise is his son Tyler's favorite. Labonte said being a Parrot Head has helped him understand the devotion that race fans often show to the sport they love. "I'd see people sitting in the grandstands during a rainout," Labonte said, "and they would just be sitting there watching and waiting for the race to start, and I would be amazed. Then again I have sat through a pelting rainstorm (Raleigh, July 4, 1998) and watched Buffett." Earlier this year, during the week of the Winston Cup race in California, Labonte and a group of friends went to another Buffett concert. He went backstage before the show and got to meet the singer. "It was just like before a race," Labonte said of the meeting. "He does his hospitality, meeting fans and sponsors…He does the same thing we do. I'm sure he meets so many people and it's hard to keep doing that time and time again. But he seems real genuine, too. That's a good trait. It was exciting. I was just a fan, standing there. I got my picture taken with him. It gives you a different perspective." As a successful Winston Cup driver, Labonte often finds himself on Buffett's side of that situation. He even admits that it sometimes surprises him when people want to have their picture taken with him. "I'm a normal guy in a very great position. You just try to appreciate the fans because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here. I've gotten used to it now, but it's still exciting to see people wearing a Bobby Labonte outfit. It doesn't really matter if a fan is a Mark Martin fan or a Bobby Labonte fan, as long as they're race fans." And like Jimmy Buffett, Labonte knows he's fortunate to be in a position to have people want to meet him and get a photo or an autograph. "I think it's great we can do what we love in front of people who love what we're doing."

"Full moon, so soon, wishin' every month of the year could be June"

Spotlight on Hugo Duarte

I recently had the opportunity to meet, get to know, and hear the music of a very talented song writer from Nashville. Hugo Duarte is a warm-hearted, peaceful man with an eye for a songline and a past that reads like a Hemingway novel. His father, also named Hugo, immigrated from Cuba in 1949, first touching American soil in Key West. He would soon meet Hugo's Mom Gwen and start a family in Tigerville, SC. Hugo's heritage is a mix of Cuban/Chinese and Scots/ Irish and claims to have problems sometimes deciding between meat & potatoes or chop suey & paella. During his teenage years, his family moved to Gastonia, NC where Hugo listened to the Allman Brothers and saw Marshall Tucker in concert for $1.00. This is also the time when he received his first guitar, a Stella, loaned to him by a friend, Darrell Stafford. Hugo's inspiration came from the 70's acoustic style country/rock scene with C S N & Y, Pure Prairie League, The Eagles and Poco being among his favorites. Imagine if you will a young Hugo sitting by the radio or flipping vinyl on the turntable and teaching himself to play guitar. Soul music, country, rock and beach music all seemed to melt into Hugo and reform into his own eclectic sound….a sound which began to emerge while he attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, when Hugo began writing his own songs (his first song was Dance For Me, an ode to a ballerina). After college, he began playing in bars ('Tween Waters in Captiva and the Crow's Nest in Hilton Head to name a couple) and realized he could make a living doing what he loved best. A few years later, in an attempt to discover his heritage, his journey took him as far south as an American can travel….the Florida Keys. Hugo and the Full Sail Band played at just about every club imaginable in Key West, including Turtle Kraals, Rick's, Sloppy Joes, Hogs Breath Saloon, The Bull, The Top, Casa Marina and many more. As far as his relationship with Jimmy Buffett, Hugo is thrilled to have met and developed a professional friendship with the Calypso Poet. Over the years, Jimmy would call or stop by when he was in town to sit in with Hugo and the band. They often played at a locally owned bar called Del Rios, which today is the site of the Margaritaville bar and restaurant. This October, Hugo and a crew of many will set sail from Boston to Key West on a reach that will take them to several eastern US ports-of-call along the way. Among the stops in our area will be Wilmington and Charleston with performances at each stop. After Charleston, the 125 foot Liberty Clipper will make a beeline for Key West and you can be on this gorgeous tall ship bound for the 2000 Meeting of the Minds. The details haven't been set in parrot poop yet, but keep your eyes on Hugo's web site ( ) for the big announcement. One last story for ya before I wind up this article….Last Monday night several of us were treated to an impromptu performance by Hugo in the Sports Magic tour bus while they were in Raleigh for Buffett's concert. He played several songs from his forth-coming CD which will be available in October. Pholks, whatever it takes, please pick up this new collection of tunes from Hugo. You won't be sorry and you may even find yourself on Hillbilly Beach singing the Pickup Truck Song.

"Then one day I met Diamond Lil. She was the sweetest thing, I declare, that the summer breeze had ever blown my way"

Spotlight on Willis Alan Ramsey
by John Schulian, New York Times

TRACE my fascination with Willis Alan Ramsey to a honky-tonk girl from Austin, Tex., a sweet hellion who coveted her reputation as a provider of favors. What she gave me 28 years ago, however, was no mere kiss or long-neck Lone Star.
It was a freshly pressed album by Mr. Ramsey that marked both his debut and Austin's emerging musical confluence of hippies and rednecks. Only later would I realize that owning the album was also the equivalent of induction into a secret society.
For how could this honky-tonk girl or I have known that Mr. Ramsey, after bursting on the scene at age 21, would recoil from the possibility of country-music stardom and head for the hills? That was what he did, though, taking with him a songwriting talent that defied categorization and turning the lone entry in his discography into a perplexing icon.

Soon enough I was on my own, which is how honky-tonk girls always leave you, but I still had that album, "Willis Alan Ramsey," and I played it everywhere I rambled as a newspaperman, until the vinyl nearly turned to dust. Played it in Baltimore, where the postman delivered it, and in Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia and my latest stop, the one that brought me to show business, Los Angeles.

Everywhere I went, I trolled for fellow believers, dropping Mr. Ramsey's name and telling unbidden the story of the one time I saw him perform live, in 1975: The newspaper deadline in Philadelphia, the Metroliner to Washington, the meatball sub on a wild ride across town and finally the sheer joy of slipping into a club called the Cellar Door as Mr. Ramsey was applying his drawling tenor to "Ballad of Spider John."

Every so often, someone would step forth to say he, too, had enlisted in the Cult of Willis Alan. A medical student in Baltimore halted his desperate search for an apartment when he heard Mr. Ramsey's voice coming out my window. He knocked on my door and asked if I'd play the whole album for him, since he'd never expected to hear it anywhere except back home in Texas.
Much later, after casting my lot in Hollywood, I was supposed to entice James Crumley, the hard-boiled novelist from Montana, into writing an episode of "Miami Vice"; instead, we spent the evening eating barbecue and discussing the virtues of "Goodbye Old Missoula," a waltz Mr. Ramsey wrote about a heartbreaking barmaid.

And then there's my friend Danny Ferrington, who made guitars for Mr. Ramsey in the past and whose ownership of three copies of the album on vinyl makes him L.A.'s unofficial champion in that department. "Every time I see it at the Goodwill," Mr. Ferrington told me not long ago, "I have to buy it."

I understand the urge, although I have managed to content myself with my original copy on vinyl and a CD version purchased a decade ago. In and out of print ever since, the album came back on CD last year, which was as it should be, for "Willis Alan Ramsey" endures as one of those recordings that never grows old or stale. Its 11 songs -- wistful, evocative, elegiac, wry, sexy and just plain funny -- deserve a place alongside the best work of such Texas masters as Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. What makes those songs even more remarkable is that Mr. Ramsey wrote them all when he was barely out of his teens.

There's an abundance of youthful mischief in "Satin Sheets," his fantasy about rock-star life: "Pretty women'd come to me/ I'd give 'em all the third degree/ Give 'em satin sheets/ To keep 'em off the streets." But then Mr. Ramsey heads in an entirely different direction with "Boy From Oklahoma," his tribute to Woody Guthrie, a songwriter whose "heart was in the union" and whose "soul was reaching out for the servants' dream." I've yet to find anyone who can convince me that a better song about Guthrie exists.

The only Ramsey song I'd never quote is the one the nation hasn't really escaped since it became a chart-blitzing hit in 1976. Mr. Ramsey had called it "Muskrat Candlelight" when he put it on his album, with just him singing and playing guitar and bass and Leon Russell noodling on vibes and electric piano. Then along came the Captain and Tenille to record it as "Muskrat Love" and to do things to it that Mr. Ramsey couldn't have possibly imagined. Things that would make it a quasi-annuity for him, of course. But still . . .

Fortunately for Mr. Ramsey, even though he has been out of the public eye, there have always been like-minded artists to record his songs -- Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the pre-Parrot Head Jimmy Buffett. When Shawn Colvin put "Satin Sheets" on her "Cover Girl" CD, she used the liner notes to urge fans to buy the CD version of Mr. Ramsey's album.

But the foremost campaigner for Mr. Ramsey in recent years has been Lyle Lovett, who learned to play every song on the album when he was in college and who has been quoted calling it "one of the greatest records of all-time." They've written songs together, and when Mr. Ramsey's wife, the singer Alison Rogers, joined them, the result was the Grammy-nominated "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)." Mr. Ramsey contributed background vocals to Mr. Lovett's album "I Love Everybody," and Mr. Lovett included a new Ramsey composition, "Sleepwalking," on his tribute to Texas songwriters, "Step Into This House." Somewhere in the midst of all that, Mr. Ramsey sang his achingly tender ballad "Angel Eyes" at the wedding of Mr. Lovett and Julia Roberts.

But what really caught my eye was when Mr. Ramsey turned up on the public television show "Austin City Limits" last year as part of a memorial to Walter Hyatt, a kindred spirit who died in the 1996 ValuJet crash in Florida. Mr. Lovett was the host, not surprisingly, and there was Mr. Ramsey, bearded, gray and better fed than he was as a kid in a cowboy hat smiling slyly on his green album cover. His voice sounded different as he sang two Hyatt songs -- richer, more confident, ready to take back out on the road. So it was that I started wondering if Willis Alan Ramsey might walk among us again.

Now, at age 49, he's actually out there doing live radio sets and playing gigs in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, mixing the songs off his album with those he wrote in self-imposed exile. He even found a manager who can play guitar, banjo and pedal steel for him if the need arises. I know this because Mr. Ramsey told me when I called him at home in Austin the other day. After 28 years, it seemed like the thing to do once I had his phone number.

He described his vanishing act as the only possible defense for someone as young and sensitive as he was back then. "Everything just got kind of stressful for me," he said. There was a falling-out with his label, Shelter Records, and then, after several years of touring, there was the "urban cowboy" phenomenon. "It seemed like more and more I was playing rowdy Texas bars that had mechanical bulls," Mr. Ramsey said.

Imagining him in that setting -- this perfectionist legendary for tying himself, and others, in knots -- it's easy to understand why he took his leave in the early 1980's. He lived in London and in an old signal tower outside Edinburgh, and he would have tried Dublin on for size, he said, if he hadn't come home to renew his visa, met Ms. Rogers and married her. They settled in Nashville, but when their daughter was born three years ago, Mr. Ramsey said, "my wife told me she was going to be raised in Texas, and I was welcome to come along."

The more Mr. Ramsey and I talked, the more he gravitated toward reminiscences of the cherished moments that the musician's life has brought him. Like Greg Allman playing "Midnight Rider" for him on a funky piano before the outside world ever heard it. And Leon Russell giving him, an untested kid, the run of his home and studio in the Hollywood Hills. Even when his record deal soured, Mr. Ramsey said, he still counted himself lucky, having Professor Longhair, the New Orleans pianist, open for him in Houston and, in turn, touring as the opening act for the bluesmen Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee.

It was, I couldn't help thinking, a time when ears were open to everything on the musical menu, a time far different than our current never-mix-genres era. And yet Mr. Ramsey insisted that his audiences today are better listeners than those in the past even if they do keep requesting the song he will call only "Muskrat Candlelight." This mindset, he told me, "is like I wish it would have been in the 70's." He wouldn't have discovered the change, though, if Mr. Lovett hadn't extended his hand. "Guys you influenced come back and they influence you," Mr. Ramsey said. "That's the way it's supposed to be."

His spirits thus buoyed, Mr. Ramsey talked about the possibility of a second album, maybe consisting of material taped during his radio performances, maybe a studio affair produced by Mr. Lovett. But there was a story he told that, no matter how much I want to hear his new songs, seems to me a far better fit for such an elusive figure. It sprang from a show in Dallas a decade or so ago, the last time he ventured into the spotlight.
"When are you going to make another album?" shouted someone in the crowd.
"What was wrong with the first one?" Mr. Ramsey said.

Recipe courtesy Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Restaurant, 2000

28 ounces fresh USDA choice beef chuck, diced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
8 slices American cheese - 1 slice if any other kind of cheese
4 sesame hamburger buns, toasted
8 leaves iceberg lettuce
4 slices tomato, 1/4-inch thick
4 slices red onion, 1/4-inch thick
4 toothpicks
4 pickle spears
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut into fries and fried until golden brown

Using a meat grinder with a 3/8-inch plate, grind the meat. Change to a 1/8-inch plate, and grind a second time. Shape the ground meat into 4 (7-ounce) patties. In a mixing bowl, combine the kosher salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt and celery salt. Mix well. Place burger on a hot grill and season with the seasoning salt. Cook the burgers halfway to desired temperature and flip over and finish cooking. Place cheese on the burger when it is 3/4 of the way cooked and melt. Place bottom bun on plate. Place burger on bottom bun. Place lettuce, tomato and onion on top of the burger. Cover with top bun and secure with a toothpick. Place pickle next to the burger. Place fries on the plate.
Yield: 4 servings.

"I must've got a big one 'cause it's bendin' my pole. I'm havin' to fight just to keep control. It could be a whale, God only knows. Whatever it is it's not wearin' any clothes"

Sandlapper PHC's 3rd Annual Endless Carnival Party

Well, the date is set and the Sandlapper PHC is ready to throw down Buffett style at our 3rd Annual Endless Carnival Party. The setting will be the Commodore Yacht Club on Lake Wylie and the Caribbean Cowboys and Erik Smith will be our entertainment for the evening. This will be a catered event with smoked pig and BBQ'd chicken sacrificing their life in the barn-yard for our palatable pleasure. $10.00 is all it costs for the food and the bands. We will also continue our tradition of providing phine Buffett/ParrotHead style merchandise in a silent auction and raffle. The proceeds will benefit the Children's Attention Home of Rock Hill, and various other charities we've adopted over the years. Included in this auction will be:

· 1st Edition Book Where Is Joe Merchant Autographed by Jimmy Buffett
· Dry-Mounted Poster of Jimmy's 1979 Rolling Stone Magazine Cover
· Concert-Used (Only Time Will Tell from 1998) Hohner Harmonica Autographed by Fingers Taylor
· Script for Buffett's Fruitcakes Video, Filmed at Universal Studios in Orlando
· Buffett's Millennium Concert….The Official Bootleg Video Autographed by Fingers Taylor
· 2 CD Set of Buffett's Solo Performance in Sag Harbour, November 1999
· Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's (MFSL) Gold Ultra-Disc of Buffett's A White Sport Coat & A Pink Crustacean
· Sandlapper PHC Tee Shirt Autographed by the Performers of the Key West To Charleston Party Held at Captain Harry's in Charleston in February. Performers include Scott Kirby, Robert Hutto, Mick Kilgos, Bill Blue, Chris Clifton & Cap'n Harry
· Sandlapper PHC Tee Shirt Autographed by Jeff Pike & Scott Nickerson of the Buffett Tribute Band A1A
· Beach House on the Moon Album Flat Autographed by the Members of the Beach Music Band The Tams, Who Sang Back-Up on Buffett's Flesh & Bone
· Jimmy Buffett Celebrity Bear #37
· Buffett's Video Tales From Margaritavision
· Buffett CD The Great Jimmy Buffett Imported From Portugal
· Kevin Mulvena CD Grown Up Kid
· Hugo Duarte CD Places Along The Road, Autographed by Hugo
· The Margaritaville Cook Book, by Olaf Nordstrom
· Compilation CD Music For Our Mother Ocean II, With the Buffett Song Trouble On The Horizon
· Jimmy Buffett Mouse Pad
· Beach House On The Moon CD Autographed by The Tams
· A1A's New Live CD, Autographed by Jeff & Scott

And last, but not least, we'll be raffling off an Agave worm-shaped bottle of 100% Blue Agave Tequila from Casta Distilleries.

"I've been too long on the mainland, hotels, rental cars, and phones. 
Time to cast 'em aside, catch the very next tide
and go back, where I belong"

Calendar of Phlockings
September 12th SPHC's Monthly Meeting at Tropical Escape Café, Rock Hill, 7PM
September 23rd March of Dimes WalkAmerica Walkathon, Chester
September 30th SPHC's 3rd Annual Endless Carnival Party, Commodore Yacht Club, Lake Wylie, With The Caribbean Cowboys and Erik Smith
October 8th SPHC Will Work a Concession Stand at Lowe's Motor Speedway
October 10th or 11th SPHC's Monthly Meeting at Tropical Escape Café, Rock Hill, 7PM
October 28th SPHC Halloween Party, TBA
November 2nd - 5th PHiP Meeting of the Minds Parrot Head Convention, Key West
November 14th SPHC's Monthly Meeting at The Summit, Chester, 7PM
December 2nd SPHC's Christmas Party for the Children's Attention Home, TBA
December 2nd SPHC's Very Own Christmas Party, TBA