Recordially, Lou Curtiss
  • 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. […]

  • Terrible Tales of the Old-Time Record Wars

    I’ve been collecting records since 1952, when I inherited my Dad’s collection of old 78s (mostly country music with some Bing, Beatrice Kaye, Kay Kyser, Yogi Yorgesson, Spike Jones, and Harry McClintock thrown in). One of my Dad’s favorites had been the old Blue Yodeler Jimmie Rodgers and, wanting to add titles to that collection, […]

  • San Diego Gems that Are Past and Gone

    This city and its environs have a bad habit of ignoring our roots—particularly our musical roots and places where music has been heard. I could name many venues—dance halls, clubs, theaters, coffeehouses—that have contributed in a large part to our musical history, but few of them stand out, notably because the buildings still stand. Something […]

  • Jody Reynolds and the Storms

    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, […]

  • My Blue Period

    I guess it all started with Sam Chatmon. It was in 1966 and I’d seen quite a bit of blues: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Gary Davis, Bukka White, and even obscure artists like Willie Thomas and Butch Cage, but that was always as an audience member. I […]

  • 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 […]