Recordially, Lou Curtiss
  • Woody Guthrie’s Letter to Fred Gerlach

    A few years ago I did a radio show that included some protest songs by the great Leadbelly that included one about the Scotsboro Boys. The next day or so Fred Gerlach came by the store with a copy of a letter he had received from Woody Guthrie back in the early 50’s. It seems […]

  • Goin’ to the Barn Dances

    The first barn dance I remember attending with my Dad occurred when I still lived in Seattle back around 1950. It was a big old warehouse-type place that had been decorated to look like a Spanish Castle, and that’s what it was called. I guy named Buck Richey ran a regular Saturday night show there […]

  • Railroad Boomers

    I promised more tales from Harry McClintock’s articles from the old 1930’s Railroad magazine this time around and what’s coming up. Mac was an old time IWW man who played on the streets of Seattle bucking with Joe Hill, T Bone Slim, and others. He led a career that ranged from involvement with the Boxer […]

  • Some Thoughts on Jazz Roots

    I want to apologize to you all who listen to my radio show regularly. The station (KSDS 88.3FM) has been running repeats since late October, citing logistical problems as the reason. We were supposed to go live at the first of the year but I’ve heard nothing from the station in spite of the fact […]

  • Lou’s Annual List of 101 Songs

    Well, here’s a list of songs I’ve run into this past year. 1.    Lane Campbell: “Layaway Plan” 2.     Rufus Thomas: “The Memphis Train” 3.     Hobart Smith: “Short Life in Trouble” 4.     Dan W. Quinn: “How Could Washington Be a Married Man (and never never tell a lie)” 5.    Asa Martin: “Brickyard Joe” […]

  • All About Roscoe Holcomb

    I first heard about Roscoe Holcomb sometime in the early 1950s when the Sign of the Sun Bookstore in San Diego ran a series of films on traditional music, one of which was John Cohen’s film The High Lonesome Sound all about this Kentucky Mountain farmer who played amazing old time banjo and guitar in […]

  • Things I’m Doing

    My radio show (JAZZ ROOTS, KSDS 88.3 FM, Sunday nights from 8 pm to 10pm) will go into repeat mode for the month of November and probably December. According to the station the reason is logistical problems. I’m certainly willing to continue putting out newly recorded shows and have some jim dandy new old-time stuff […]

  • 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, Jim Europe’s Military band, and vaudevillians like Bert Williams, but black jazz started with Mamie Smith’s Okeh 4169 “Crazy Blues”/“It’s Right Here for You.” Both songs were described on the label as “Popular Blue Song”; the time was […]

  • Remembering Julian Bond and the 1960s

    I don’t often write about my experiences in the South as a Civil Rights worker. It was kind of a scary time and most often I’m glad I did it and even more glad that I got through it with some kind of success and came home to San Diego. However, I read in the […]

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