Buddy Damen grew up in Alabama in a town called Florence. Across the river from the town of Muscle Shoals, home of the renowned recording studio. Just 18 miles or so from the Tennessee border and 125 miles to Nashville.
He grew up listening to Country, Bluegrass, and Blues music. His parents tuned into the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. While neither one of his parents were musicians, they both loved music of all kinds. The south at that time was rich in blues, jazz and Bluegrass. The influences of Irish, Scottish and African Americans created a melting pot of music in the south. From Thelonious Monk to Robert Johnson to Jimmy Dickens, Buddy loved it all.
Buddy’s father picked up an old beat up guitar at a pawn shop for $3.50 in 1949 for Buddy’s 10th birthday. Buddy taught himself how to play and spent hours playing along to the radio as they didn’t have much money to buy records. In 1951 when Buddy was 12 his Dad took him on a bus trip to Nashville where he surprised Buddy with tickets to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman auditorium. The performers that night were Little Jimmy Dickens, The Jordanaires and Hank Garland.
As Buddy entered his teen years Rock n’ Roll was emerging. As high school began Elvis had hit the scene and Buddy knew what he wanted to do for a living. By 15 he was making money playing in bars, pool halls and on street corners.