Who Does She Think She Is?

Posts tagged ‘Leighton Hamilton’

Blog Post

Leighton Hamilton Playing the Blues

Posted by Joni in About Him, Music, Video

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An old beau of mine has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe because this is the fifth anniversary of his death at the young age of 56. Or maybe as I myself grow older, nostalgia kicks in. Anyway, he spent his last years back in his hometown of Dalton, Georgia, and Tuesday nights were spent in front of the mike at The Blues Train Cafe. Here are some photos from that period.

Blog Post

Watermelon Man

Posted by Joni in Music

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I used to know a very talented blues musician out of Austin who played at Ski Shores there back in the mid-1990s. His name was Leighton Hamilton and he was also a blues historian and had a great collection of guitars, but his most cherished was his Style O National Steel. He passed away about a year before Robo.

I had learned of a movie he had made with independent Texas filmmaker Ross Wells — Of Strange Voices and Watermelon Men. I have to say, had it not been for Leighton’s appearance in the movie, I wouldn’t have bought the DVD or sat through the thing. Not to be mean, but honestly, that was the most cheesy film I ever fast-forwarded through. And as I said, what made it tolerable at all was the music.

I ripped portions of the DVD that had Leighton’s guitar work. And I share that with you now.

Audio


01 L Hamilton 2007

Video

And here’s the video clip:

Blog Post

Goodbye, Watermelon Man

Posted by Joni in General, Music, Obits

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I had a dream about an old flame a few nights ago. And that prompted me to contact him to see how he was doing. I knew he’d been very sick, and in fact the last time we spoke, he mentioned he was in hospice. This was earlier in the spring. This afternoon, I sat in my car in the parking lot of the CVS waiting for Robert’s prescriptions, like a chicken-shit. I had Leighton’s contact info pulled up on my smartphone, my finger on the “Dial” button. At least five minutes passed by before I had the courage to press it.

The phone was picked up and I heard a familiar Southern drawl on the other end. “Hello?” “Leighton?!” I exclaimed. “No, this is his brother #####.” My heart sank. I knew then that my call was too late. I introduced myself and I could tell his brother was trying to process the information. He then told me in as gentle a voice as he could muster that Leighton had passed away less than 36 hours before, at four o’clock the previous morning in fact. I was a day late. I’d been trolling the internet in the last week or so, reading the obituaries, looking for the dreaded listing. As recently as the evening before, I didn’t find it. So that emboldened me to go ahead and make that call. I’d felt bad because the last time I called him, around May, it was early in the evening on a Saturday evening, a time when he would normally be up and about (and raising hell). But I’d woken him up, it was very obvious. So I apologized profusely, and told him I’d call him later. And never did. And then started feeling, alternately, ashamed and afraid. Ashamed I didn’t follow up in the next few weeks or months. And afraid that when I did make the call, there would be news I didn’t want to hear.

So his brother and I chatted a few minutes, I brought him up to speed on how and where I’d met Leighton, that we’d lost touch when he moved back to Georgia to care-take his aging parents, and that we’d started talking again on the phone a few years ago. I also mentioned to him a few articles and one video of Leighton playing the blues guitar he loved so much (and played so well). I just sent him an email with that information so that he could share it with the rest of his family. And my closing words were:

I will miss him greatly. And my only regret is that maybe I never made it clear to him what an important part of my life he was.

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Here’s the only known footage of Leighton performing, from the low-budget movie “Of Strange Voices and Watermelon Men.” Say what you want about the silly plot and bad acting. The music was spot-on.

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