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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank Hamilton whatever happened to...? (48) RE: whatever happened to....... 19 Sep 99


I knew Derroll Adams in 1953-55 or so in Los Angeles after he had moved down from Portland Oregon. He was an art student, there, and had been ousted for conducting what the institution called a "communist cell block"...whatever the hell that was. Derroll has a voice and style that is reminiscent of Bascom Lamar Lunsford of Asheville, North Carolina. He wrote the song Portland Town that was covered by Joan Baez about that time. I have a picture of Derroll, Woody Guthrie and me at a party in Los Angeles which I've mislaid and am looking for. I talked to Derroll briefly by phone about a month ago. He was in frail health and could not spend much time on the phone. His wife filled me in. Derroll was a unique performer. In those days in Los Angeles, there wasn't much of an audience for folk music and Derroll was not as well-known as he was when he moved to Europe and performed with Jack Elliott. They met in Los Angeles about that time as well. The funniest story I remember about Derroll is that when he was married to his first wife, Liz, he was meditating in lotus position stark naked and standing on his head. He got stuck there and had to be let down. There are many wonderful stories of this delightful and colorful man. He was the first I ever heard of to apply Zen Buddhist techniques to playing the five-string banjo. BTW, although his singing style was influenced by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, his banjo playing style (a three finger folk style--not Scruggs or bluegrass) was his uniquely. I think that it's close to what Obray Ramsey did.

Frank Hamilton


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