Recordially, Lou Curtiss
  • 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 […]

  • I Got to See all the Good Bands

    Someone suggested to me that I get one of those t-hirts that reads “I may be old but I got to see all the good bands.” Well that may be so but the problem with that shirt is the electric V shaped Electric Guitar on it. It should be a Mosrite double-necked electric with the […]

  • Jazz Comes to San Diego in 1912

    When New Orleans’ famed Storyville Red Light District was shut down in the early teens (1912, I think), lots of musicians, dancers, singers, actors, and folks in the olde profession found themselves out of work. A lot of them drifted up the river to Vicksburg, Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis, and ultimately Chicago. However a […]

  • Guy Carawan

    It was Spring 1960 at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island that I first met Guy Carawan. It was a rainy day and there were only 15 or 20 of us that braved the wet to listen to Guy, who us lefties were kind of impressed with because he had visited China with Peggy […]

  • Before Tomcat Came to Town

    Tom “Tomcat” Courtney hails from Waco, Texas where he was born January 23, 1929. His Dad played ragtime piano and his mother, who died when he was 12, sang in the church. He left home and started roaming after his mother passed. Went on down to Corpus Christi, Texas on a cotton truck. Tom recalled, […]

  • How the Blues Came to Folk Arts Rare Records & What It Found There!

    It wasn’t too long after I opened the store on July 31st 1967, that I came in contact with the blues. In fact, I’d been open less than a month when my old friend Ken Swerilas, 78 record collector supreme, came into the store and told me he was bringing this old bluesman out from […]