The Lou Curtiss Sound Library
We are gradually digitizing some of the best of the collection, starting with material from the San Diego Folk Festivals and related concerts that began in the 1960s. Check back to hear more great music as it is added. Click here to learn more about our preservation project.
Follow these links to view special pages for San Diego Folk Festivals.
- 1st San Diego Folk Festival held in May, 1967
- The 2nd San Diego Folk Festival held in April, 1968
- The 3rd San Diego Folk Festival from 1969
- The 4th San Diego Folk Festival from 1970
Here are some samples from concerts held at the Sign of the Sun bookstore in San Diego, circa 1962. This early venue hosted some of the outstanding traditional music performers of the day.
- Guy Carawan , along with Candie Anderson Carawan, performed at the 2007 Roots Festival. Here is Johnson Boys from a performance at the Sign of the Sun, summer of 1962.
- Hedy West singing Joe Bowers from a performance at the Sign of the Sun, summer of 1962.
- Hedy West singing Anger In The Land, written by Don West.
- Bessie Jones – the legendary Georgia Sea Island Singer – performing Little David Play on Your Harp.
- Bessie Jones performing Lazarus.
- Bessie Jones performing Old Bill Rollin’ Pin.
- Bessie Jones performing The Titanic (Real Audio Streaming file).
- Reverend Gary Davis performing 12 Gates To The City. Rev. Davis was a great blind preacher who sang and played on the streets of Harlem.
- Reverend Gary Davis performing No More. This may be the only recording of Rev. Gary Davis playing a 5-string banjo.
- God Don’t Work Like A Natural Man. Reverend Gary Davis, vocal and harmonica.
- Jean Ritchie from Viper, Kentucky. A medley of children’s lullabyes.
- Jean Ritchie: The Wife of Usher’s Well,
- Jean Redpath from Edinburgh, Scotland. Mornin’ Breeze.
- Jean Redpath. Love Is Teasin’.
- The Chambers Brothers a gospel group originally from Mississippi, working out of Los Angeles, California. From a performance at Hoover High School, February 18, 1962, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.
- The Chambers Brothers, Come Over Here.
The next series is from a concert held at the San Diego Unitarian Church in 1964, hosted by Sam Hinton and Karen Williams. The recording was made by Jack Van Olst.
- Sam Hinton – 2 tunes on the penny whistle – The Harvest Home and Whisky, You’re The Devil.
- A Sam Hinton harmonica tune, followed by a song by Karen Williams The Downfall of Paris and That’s All Right.
- Corkie Woerner singing I Knew An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.
- Kathy Larisch and Carol McComb singing Gold Watch and Chain.
- Ray Bierl singing a traditional tune, The Rivers of Texas. This song was learned from Sam Hinton, who introduced many songs to San Diego.
Kathy Larisch and Carol McComb began singing together in San Diego County over 40 years ago. They will be back again this year, appearing at the Roots Festival on May 3 and 4, 2008. Here is a sample from a performance they gave in 1964.
- Kathy and Carol – As Sylvie Was Walking.
- Kathy and Carol – Blues All Around My Head.
- Kathy and Carol – Geordie.
- Kathy and Carol – Great Silkie of Sole Skerry.
A note about copyright
We intend these musical “samples” to be heard only as a sampling of the material in the Lou Curtiss Sound Library. Those with an interest in the material may freely listen to the music, and we trust you will respect the artists and performers by not copying or disseminating the music in any way beyond what is commonly considered ‘fair use’ for research or education.
We are working with the University of California Los Angeles Archive of Ethnomusicology and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to preserve and protect this music. We welcome further inquiries from any interested persons.