The last known photo of Buddy Damen. Image courtesy of the Buddy Damen Family
Buddy Damen left home at 16. Worked his way out west making a living playing Bars, Honky Tonks and Roadhouses. Worked his way west thru Texas eventually ending up in Bakersfield California. A prolific writer, it is said that he wrote volumes of poetry, lyrics and songs, religiously mailing them home to his beloved mother, Emma Jean.
In the early 60's Buddy made his way to Alaska where little is known about how he made his living or where he lived. In the early 70's he returned home to the Florence Alabama area where he signed to a small record label and recorded an album, but the label went bankrupt and the album was never released. A mysterious fire beset the label. Master tapes were said to have burned.
Later in life Buddy passed his love of music and writing to his many nieces and nephews, some of whom formed a band named "Buddy Damen and the Wallflowers." A Double Live Album was set to be recorded when Buddy disappeared. His last contact was a static-laced phone call to his niece Snickers Sunnyside. The phone call was cut short and Buddy was never heard from again. To this day his whereabouts are unknown. The last known photo of Buddy Damen was set to be the Album Cover.
The Buddy Damen band continues on with two generations of his descendants. They changed the name of the band from "Buddy Damen and the Wallflowers" to "Buddy Damen and the Last Call" after his tragic disappearance.
There is speculation that with his immense talent he dealt with a personal struggle to keep his art from being capitalized on by the entertainment industry. Today several binders of his songs and poetry are closely guarded by his family members. Several offers by major labels to buy his catalogue of music, sight unseen, have been turned down by his family.
Note: With the passing of time it becomes harder to piece together the life of Buddy Damen. If anyone has any memories, photos, records or stories about Buddy Damen, please email Duke Kostner at email[email protected]