Recordially, Lou Curtiss
  • Rare 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 […]

  • Sam Chatmon, San Diego Bluesman Talks with Lou Curtiss

    Sam Chatmon was one of the most remarkable individuals I have ever known. During the years he spent in San Diego (1966-1982, where he became an important part of the blues scene), I had a many chances to sit and talk with him. This excerpt is taken from one of those conversations. I was born […]

  • A Night Out at the Bostonia Ballroom

    I’d only been in San Diego about a week. It was September and it was hot. My uncle Tony called them Santa Ana winds. They sure were blowin’, but we all climbed into that big old stake truck, held on to the slats, and headed off from Chula Vista out to the country east of […]

  • Utah Phillips: The Man, not the State

    It was along about 1969 that I first became more than aware of U Utah Phillips. Now, I had heard of Bruce Phillips some time before that from an old Prestige International long-play record that I had picked up from time to time, which Rosalie Sorrels had written the notes for, and I’d seen that […]

  • Remembering the College Inn in Downtown San Diego

    There used to be a club on First and C Streets in downtown San Diego called the College Inn that was a long-time home to country music, country boogie and swing, and rock-a-billy. The audience was mostly navy and a few of us who came for the music. I remember seeing Merle Travis, Roy Hogsed, […]

  • Roy Acuff: The Smokey Mountain Boy at 100 Years and a Blues Thing or Two

    The first phonograph records that I was even consciously aware of when I was about four or five years old were by Roy Acuff and the Smokey Mountain Boys on those old lavender Okey 78s and, I think, one on Melotone that my Mom picked up at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. I remember tunes like […]

  • Getting Hired at the Really Big Show

    SAGE ADVICE FROM LOU CURTISS The next big event I’m working on is the Adams Ave Street Fair, which I’ve been doing for the last 15 years or so. Right now, me and a bunch of other noble folk are sitting and listening to four or five hundred audition CDs and trying our best to […]

  • Sons of the Pioneers

    I’ve talked about lots of different kinds of cowboy and western music in these columns before. Living in the West I first became acquainted with the Sons of the Pioneers in Lake City, Washington, when I was about 10 years old. Now, that wasn’t the original Pioneers of the 1930s with Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers); […]

  • How I Got My Start

    It was that big pile 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,  Sons of the Pioneers, Hank Snow, back to Frank Marvin and Haywire Mac and as recent as Hank Williams. […]

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