Recordially, Lou Curtiss
  • Rare Records: The Birth of Black Blues and Jazz

    Black history on record started with orchestral 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 […]

  • Tom Waits and Me

    Tom Waits has a couple of new CDs out and in spots he still sounds like the old Tom I remember from our days at the old HERITAGE COFFEE HOUSE on Mission Blvd. in Mission Beach. I was running the Wednesday Night Hoots (that’s Hootenanny) the first time Tom came in and played some time […]

  • Fats Waller

    From the archives; first appeared in the October 2007 issue of the San Diego Troubadour) It seems that September ain’t doing anything wrong when it comes to Fats Waller and his era, with two productions of Ain’t Misbehavin’ going on in town. Most notably the San Diego Rep will be doing the music revue through […]

  • The Golden Age of Country Music

    The 1950s was a golden age for country music on television here on the West Coast. Along with Town Hall Party, which ran the whole decade and into the 1960s, it seemed as if every station had a country music show or two and several of them had even more. Along the way I remember […]

  • Getting Connected with the Blues

    Up until 1966 my connections with old-time blues had been mostly in collecting blues records and going to concerts and festivals. In the ’50s and ’60s I managed to see live a good many important treasures of that music, including Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, […]

  • Mike Seeger

    I guess the first time I met Mike Seeger was at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. Up until that time country music for me was the kind of stuff I heard and saw around Southern California like Town Hall Party, Cliffie Stone’s Hometown Jamboree, and San Diego’s Smokey Rogers, etc. Folk music included a pretty […]

  • A Very Mellow-as-a-Cello Vout-o-Reenee Guy Named Slim

    We were recording on Sunset Boulevard, right across from a TV station. After we did three sides, the A&R man sent us out for some air. I was glad to get it because I didn’t have a fourth song. Just outside the studio they were repairing the street, and one of those cement machines was […]

  • The Sign of the Sun

    Harold Darling opened the Sign of the Sun bookstore at Adams and College Ave. in San Diego sometime around 1960, catering to the students of San Diego State (then College) with used textbooks and magazines of a political and artistic bent, It was the time of folk music’s all-too-brief tie up with the pop music […]

  • More Memories from Lou Curtiss

    Note from the Editor: Lou Curtiss passed away on July 8 at the age of 79. The Troubadour will be rerunning selections of Lou’s column, Recordially, Lou Curtiss, indefinitely, from the vast archive of his writings, dating back to 2001, so here are a few more golden nuggets from Lou. There are so many great […]

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