Recordially, Lou Curtiss
  • It Started with Sam

    Sam Chatmon, who played in the Jackson, Mississippi area in the 1920s as part of the Mississippi Sheiks with his brothers Bo, Lonnie, Harry, Bert, and others (there were 12 brothers in all), was first brought to San Diego by record collector Ken Swerilas in about 1967. I had opened Folk Arts Rare Records about […]

  • Anniversary

    Folk Arts Rare Records opened on July 31, 1967 and has been pretty much in operation since that time. So, we are coming up on 50 years of existence. We also started doing music Festivals (20 San Diego State Folk Festivals, 15 Adams Ave Roots Festivals, 15 Adams Ave.Street Fairs, five San Diego Blues Festivals, […]

  • DeFORD BAILEY: THE HARMONICA WIZARD

    Blues researcher Paul Oliver, talks about hearing Sonny Terry play a tune called “The Alcoholic Blues.” Sonny told him that he learned it from a little feller, Defoe Bailey, back home in Rockingham, North Carolina. Brownie McGhee, Sonny’s long time partner, confirmed that Bailey was black and that he used to play on the Grand […]

  • How I got My Start

    It was that big pile of of 78 rpm records my folks had that started things off. Both Mom and Dad liked country and western and I grew up with the likes of Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, the Sons of the Pioneers, Hank Snow, back to Frank Marvin and Haywire Mac and as recent as […]

  • Evolution of a Song

    I’m always curious about how songs evolve, and I guess there’s no better documentation of that than by listening to recordings. Take Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues,” which most of us consider a country music standard. Recorded by Hank in December of 1948, it had been a country song when cowboy crooner Rex Griffin recorded it […]

  • Birthday Spotlight: Clarence Williams

    Clarence Williams was among the Golden Age of jazzmen, who first got me turned on to old time music. A pianist, leader, composer, and vocalist, he was born on October 8, 1889, in New Orleans and died on November 6, 1965, in New York City. His brother, the equally talented Spencer Williams, was born on […]

  • Dorsey and Howard Dixon: Cotton Mill Mountain Duo

    When I went to the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, being of a left-wing bent, I was attracted to the workshops of Mine and Mill. The environment of a Carolina cotton mill was where I first heard Dorsey Dixon. I had owned an LP record called Smokey Mountain Ballads for a few years that featured […]

  • Race Records: The Birth of Black Blues and Jazz

    Black history on record started with orchestra and gospel music by groups like the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Jim Europe Military Band and a few vaudevillians like Bert Williams, Robert Woolsey, and Laughing Jim, but black jazz started with Mamie Smith’s Okeh 4169 “Crazy Blues/It’s Right Here for You.” Both songs were described on […]

  • How I First Saw Howlin’ Wolf!

    That would be in 1963 on his home turf, Big Duke’s Club on Chicago’s West Side, and later that same year at the Newport Folk Festival. The last time I saw him was at the Palace in San Diego in the late ’60s. Wolf was a big Mississippi blues singer in the traditional of Charlie […]

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