Instant nostalgia | Casual Observer | Indy Week
Pin It

Instant nostalgia 

Charles Latham onstage at 305 South in Durham on Dec. 21, 2006

Photo by Derek Anderson

Charles Latham onstage at 305 South in Durham on Dec. 21, 2006

Less than a month after Charles Latham played this show at 305 South in Durham, I saw Gary Higgins play at The Mercury Lounge in New York City. In 1973, Higgins was a young New York and Connecticut folk favorite with a red beard and wavy red hair. He recorded one album—appropriately titled Red Hash—and pressed 5,000 copies. But Higgins was soon arrested on drug charges and spent several years in prison. His band didn't play for decades. Then, young American audiences (as in, people who weren't even alive when the album was recorded) caught on to Red Hash and launched a nationwide manhunt. Higgins was found. Higgins became hip. Drag City released Red Hash. Decades later, the pre-30 dreams of Higgins, who had been writing songs all along but keeping them close to his beard, were taking a strange new shape. The band got back together and played some shows.

But the set in New York was a colossal disappointment. Gone was the folk freedom and whim of Red Hash, a record gloriously comfortable in its own skin. Feelings are transient, and Higgins proved they can be impossible to revisit. But, still Higgins sang "Don't Ya Know," his trusty freak-in-America anthem: "You put me down 'cause I'm a picker/ I drink my whiskey and play guitar."

So, last weekend in New York, I thought of the feeling of that night in Durham—Latham onstage with The Wigg Report and Midtown Dickens, spilled beer on the floor, people smiling wide four days before Christmas. "Don't you know that it makes me feel better?"


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Casual Observer

Twitter Activity


Andy brought small-town humor and life into the homes of every American through their television screens. He’ll be missed after …

by Brandt Hardin on In memoriam: Andy Griffith, 1926-2012 (Casual Observer)

"The Andy Griffith Show" was a show that spoke to the importance of family, despite the fact that none of …

by Jeff Wallace on In memoriam: Andy Griffith, 1926-2012 (Casual Observer)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation