Recordially, Lou Curtiss

A Bunch of Hard-to-Get Records

TOMMY COLLINS: Tommy was one of the first Bakersfield Country Singers and songwriters but other than the Bear Family box set this is the first set of his to appear. Tommy always had good bands and his sides for Capitol featuring Tommy’s distinctive vocals accompanied by Buck Owens, Fuzzy Owens, and others. It includes his early hits (pieces like “You Better Not Do That,” “What You Gonna Do Now,” “It Tickles,” which are mostly novelty songs, but there are some fine honkytonk ballads like “High on a Hilltop” and “Those Old Love Letters” as well as four fine gospel songs–two sung with his wife Wanda. Really fine honkytonk country. –Rural Routes 5004 Words and Music Country Style

OUT and OUT BLUE BLUEGRASS: Most of this is pre-bluegrass music though we have some Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, the Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse, and lesser known groups like Connie and Babe and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Old-time groups include Uncle Dave Macon, Wade Mainer and Zeke Morris, Cliff Carlisle, the Rouse Brothers, Sam McGee, Grayson and Whitter, and others. Three CDs Out and Out 3026 (a good price at $9.98)

JESSE FULLER: 22 tracks. This Georgia-born artist was a much-loved musician in the San Francisco Bay area. He was one of the breed known as songsters. In addition to blues he performed ragtime, spirituals, children’s songs, and jazz. Although he started playing guitar around 1910, he didn’t take it to seriously until the ’50s when he started recording for a series of Northern California labels. Unable to get a band together he became a one-man-band, accompanying himself on 12-string guitar, harmonica, kazoo, and his unique homemade instrument, the “footdella.” Although his footdella playing limited his guitar he managed to get in a series of 12-string solo guitar pieces (mostly spirituals). His most famous piece was “The San Francisco Bay Blues,” which has been done by everyone, but Jesse wrote and recorded it first. This set on Arhoolie 360 titled Frisco Bound is taken from several record Sessions but I believe it contains Jesse’s very best.
Jesse Fuller appeared twice in San Diego. First at the Bifrost Bridge in La Mesa in late 1968. Later he appeared at The Candy Company on El Cajon Blvd. in east San Diego in the early ’60s.

NATHAN ABSHIRE AND THE PINE GROVE BOYS: One of the great singers and accordion players out of Louisiana. Although he made his first sides for Bluebird in 1936, his recording career didn’t really take off until he recorded “Pine Grove Blues” for O.T. Records in 1949. The song has become a standard. Whether playing a blues, a waltz, or a two-step there’s a burning intensity in the popular music of the Cajun People of Central Louisiana. Nathan Abshire is one of the best. French Blues: Arhoolie 373

So here you have four sets of listening stuff with a pretty wide variety.

Lou Curtiss

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