1975 San Diego guide to folk music and blues

People, groups, and events

Bonnie Jefferson

Bonnie Jefferson

(ED. Lou Curtiss made some introductory comments to this list about how he couldn't hope to list all the folk and blues artists in town; unfortunately, the comments got misplaced at the last minuter so to those who feel left out, be assured that this is only a human attempt.)


Hunt ’n Peck. The area’s top old-timey twosome. E.Z. (Gregory Hunt) Mark Poschman, “the fiddling fool too Fierce to mention," and Johnny “Jazz" Jones, the ragtime human, is the billing (oh, yes, Jones is also E. Howard Peck). Fiddle, old time, and mandolin with guitar. These guys have got it together. They do a wide variety of old time breakdowns and novelty tunes. Great for parties, shopping center openings, ribbon cuttings, which is mostly what they do. Get a hold of Mark at 296-6580 or John at 239-3996.

Martin Henry. Good country singer. Material ranges from Jimmie Rodgers blue yodels through Hank Williams up to contemporary stuff. Extremely tasteful guitar backup or lead acoustic. Terrific voice. Lots of work and heart goes into everything he does. Get a hold of him at The Blue Guitar, 291-1830.

Jimmy Borsdorf. Good old-time fiddler, guitarist, country and old timey singer. Worked with the Gypsy Gyppo String Band in Seattle. Now works San Diego streets (Balboa Park) as a single or with lady (Nancy Bray). Call 488-7328.

Bruce Culbertson. The area’s best fiddler. Member of La Jolla Civic Country Dance Orchestra. Old-time music authority. Plays lots of dances (square and contra). Call 452-0386. Likes to jam.

Sam Chatmon. “The Mississippi Sheik." Legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman who made his first records in the 20's with brothers Bo Carter and Lonnie Chatmon. Sam is 76 and plays and sings a wide range of Delta blues and risque double entendre songs. In town about six months of the year. Call 291-1786 for information.

Ed Cormier. Old time banjo picker, fiddler, moving force in the San Diego Folksong Society. Likes to jam with other musicians. 286-9118.

Howard Caine. Veteran actor with over 100 movie credits, Broadway shows (Inherit the Wind, 1776). Also plays old time banjo along with running an acting school here in San Diego. He was Major Hochstetter on Hogan’s Heroes. Plays local gigs at Orango's. Wins at banjo contests. Call 583-7517.

Joe Gwaltney. Songwriter and tasteful guitarist, he is equally at home with old time music (backing up master musician Kenny Hall) or doing a little blues picking. Nice voice, easygoing performer. Plays parties, nightclubs, folk concerts most anywhere. Call 297-3620.

The New Expression. A group of instrument teachers who have gotten together a performing group playing a little bluegrass, some old time music and some contemporary songs they have written. Walt Richards, unofficial leader, is a San Diego folk institution; Ansel Grey is a teacher at the college level as well as a mandolin teacher; Bob Zinke and the rest can all be found at their store (The New Expression) at 3376 30th Street. They play a lot of high school assemblies.

Kenny Hall. Master old-time musician, he has appeared at festivals all over the country. Called by Old Time Music Magazine "the Bill Monroe of old time mandolin." Splits his time between here and Fresno. Records for Bay and Philo. 264-1076.

Sam Hinton. San Diego’s Mr. folk Music. A regular at the San Diego State Folk Festival and at festivals all over. Sam knows thousands of songs. Records for Folkways, Decca, etc. Works in the Public Relations Department at UCSD. Call him at 453-0679 or 452-3140.

Sue Halghdahl. Excellent fiddler, banjo picker and ragtime pianist. Plays rarely nowadays due to busy schedule, but when she does, it's always worth listening. 232-0234.

Bonnie Jefferson. Arkansas Blues lady. San Diego Blues Jam l.p. Fine country blues guitarist singer. Plays acoustic or electric guitar with a wide range of old and new blues. Bonnie should be playing a lot more gigs than she gets. She’s surely a fine performer. 262-2888.

Robert “Rock Me” Jeffries. Everyone's favorite Oklahoma Blues pianist. Plays at The People on Sundays, Orango's folk festivals, wherever anyone wants him. Great at parties. Call Bob at 239-7329. He also makes and sells fantastic homemade barbeque sauce.

Lani Kurnik. Ragtime finger pick lady guitarist with old Memphis Minnie style blues, contemporary songs from all about, original songs she writes, old standards, jazz tunes from Fats Waller, and she’s blonde and blue-eyed too. One of the best guitarists about. Call her at 239-6227. Sort of a Peggy Lee cross with Bonnie Raitt and nearly as good as both.

Scott Kidd. Plays super Jimmie Rodgers old-time songs on guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, and mandolin, alone or with others. Also lots of electric R&B years behind him. Available to jam. 421-8141.

Clarke Powell. Another closet picker. Clarke works for money as a country-western lead electric guitarist but also is a great three finger bluegrass banjo picker and flat pick guitarist. 263-2868.

Bob and Dora Reeves. Old time gospel duo. Bob plays the Chet Atkins-Merle Travis style guitar at least as well as both of them and Dora sings the old time gospel songs in a fine style. 284-1647.

Dennis Squier, Terry Huston and Stan Smith. I think they call themselves “Waterbound” at the moment. Old time fiddle tunes, bluegrass, country songs. Three veteran pickers who’ve played most every kind of gig over the past 15 years or so. Call Dennis at 286-4855.

Thomas Shaw. “Blind Lemon's Buddy," a Texas bluesman who plays in the Blind Lemon Jefferson style. Records for Yazoo/Blue Goose and Advent. Has played festivals all over this country and Europe. Plays occasional local gigs at colleges, Orango's or gospel in various local black churches. 264-7054.

Pacificly Bluegrass. The area's top bluegrass group. Straw Hat Pizza on Fletcher Parkway is their stomping grounds. Good mainstream bluegrass with three-finger banjo, guitar, fiddle and bass. Call Dick Tyner at 726-2765.

Sandy Dutky. Old time British and American ballads and broadsides. Irish folksongs, Israeli folksongs, and a wide variety of other material o sung with guitar. Secretary of the San Diego Folksong Society. 271-3669.

Jack Tempchin. One of our local claims to q fame, he has written hit songs recorded by the Eagles. Jack would rather be known for other “ hits like “The Mango of Love." A good ? performer, with good material. Jack is the man with a million friends. The T. Texas Tyler of our generation. 753-9546.

Gala Whitten. San Diego’s most prolific and one of its best songwriters. Performs with guitar and piano. Her songs range from jazz to country western. People looking for good material ought to check with Gala. If they don't like what she’s written, she'll write them one they like. 287-0973.

Johnny Walker. This Yorkshire gentleman is a San Diego favorite. English folksongs, ballads, sea chanties, foc'sle songs, English music hall songs. Johnny is perhaps the town's best song leader. Great at parties and wherever he plays. 455-2905.

W.B. Reid. Old-time ragtime anytime. One of the area's top street panhandlers. Fast on the neck of that beat-up guitar. Bruce might be in a band, but most likely it’s just him doing a Gary Davis, Buckdance, or “Trouble in River City," or "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor," or a myriad of other good, fast, and clean pickin' by the pond in Balboa Park, at Orango's or down in Squibob Square in Old Town. He does the party, wedding, wake. etc. scene. 295-8206.

Phil Gross. Good contemporary and country songs, some of which he writes. Phil goes solo with guitar or with friends Lennie on dobro (who is also banjo man with Montezuma's Revenge), Dave Robinson and Mark Montigo. Sometimes known as Gross Enterprises, they can be electric or acoustic. Fine musicians who have played around a long time together, they do country, folk-rock, or just folk. 561 2094.

Wildwood Weeds. Young kid pickers, they do largely old-time songs with fiddle, banjo, and guitar. Jennie and Alden Bloom. They play a lot of shopping center openings, school assemblies. Call Joy Bloom at 448-2386.

Curtis Carlisle Bourterse. Master old-time musician. Plays hammer dulcimer, fretless banjo, autoharp. Expert on Shape Note (heads up the San Diego Shape Note Society). Shaker songs and mountain traditional tunes. Also works with the San Diego Medieval and Renaissance group. Curt plays excellent music and knows about the music he sings. Does some panhandling in Balboa Park with the hammer dulcimer, plays other gigs as he*s asked. 286-4557.

Tomcat Tom Courtney has a voice that has been called a cross between Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Usually heads up a group called Tomcat and the Blues Dusters. Plays at The People in Ocean Beach on Sundays, the Zebra Club on 5th and Market and lots of parties. It's been a long haul from Waco. Texas in the 30's for him. One of these day's he'll be appreciated for being one of the premier bluesmen of our day. 235-9886 or 235-0639.

Dos Payadores. Traditional music of Paraguay with the Paraguayan harp. This is great stuff and Ed Lange and Bill Lippincott are masters. They do a lot of restaurant gigs. Would be great for weddings or festivals. 433-6430.

Lou and Virginia Curtiss. Old time country songs mostly with autoharp and guitar, although Virginia doubles on frailing banjo and Lou on country harmonica. They do a wide range of material from funny songs to sentimental ballads, mostly with tongue planted firmly in cheek. They have worked weddings, movie premieres, television, folk festivals, coffee houses, and on the streets with guitar case open. 291-1786. Oh, yes, they also own and operate Folk Arts Rare Records and Photography Well Done on 5th Avenue in Hillcrest and run and book the concerts at Orango's.

Katie Waldon. Unaccompanied ballad and folksong collector-singer. Katie brings a lot of scholarship to her music. Good with kids and grown-ups too. She knows her music and enjoys singing it to school assemblies, workshops, etc. 235-8046.

Lu Ann Spencer. A member of the New Expression, she plays a lot of separate gigs. One of the most underrated bluegrass fiddlers around. A fiddle teacher as well. 299-0734.

Squatter’s Rites. North County bluegrass band with great lady singer/bass player. Molly Stone and rompin' stompin' good time pickin'. Contact through Blue Ridge Music in Encinitas. 753-1775.

Randy Hupp. Good bluegrass fiddler active in the bluegrass club. In between groups. Call him at 465-4886.

Stuart Duncan. 10-year-old virtuoso fiddler. Plays old-time. Irish and Scot tunes and bluegrass. Has won many contests. Also plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc. Lives in Oceanside.

Woody and Fred Zuill. Brothers. Woody plays banjo three-finger style and Fred plays guitar. Both play bluegrass music at contests, jams and various gigs when they can get them. Live in the Poway area.

Ken Kramer. Ken isn't a musician at all. but has the best folk music radio program going on KPBS at State (11 to 12 nightly), and has done a lot to help local folks.

Wayne Stromberg. Wayne is a super guitar finger-picker who’s been around for a lot of years as a sometimes performer, sometimes teacher. He excels at both. 459-6235 or 291-1830.

Ron Horvitz. Ron is a super ragtime blues guitarist in the Stephen Grossman/Blind Blake tradition. Doesn't do too many gigs but when he does he is extremely well received. Great for parties where music is required. 281-4935.

Wes McQueen. Mostly gospel, old Carter family tunes, with his wife; they do some gospel radio on one of the Mexican stations. Nice old-timey musicians. 239-1218.

Louis Major. Louis is a super electric blues lead guitarist, also does acoustic blues and traditional Calypso from his native Nassau. For something different Louis is surely the thing as a solo or with his buddies on steel drums and congas. San Diego Blues Jam l.p. on Advent records. 235-0052.

Karin Nyzeli. Karin can sing folk songs with guitar, blues and children's songs. A fine, pretty lady who has worked folk clubs and festivals and nightclubs as part of the C.C. Jones Revue. She can handle most any kind of audience. 235-0639.

Dave Kelly. Banjo picker with a variety of string bands on the streets. Member of the legendary band Whiskey Sue and the Borrego Badlands Boys. Good for parties.

Andy “Sunrise” Gallagher. Blues guitarist, either solo or with Lani Turnik or Mississippi bluesman Sam Chatmon. Fairly, new on the scene but playing with Sam has paid off. He's good. Reach him through Lani. 239-6227.

Bob LaBeau. Long-time folk veteran on the coffee house scene here. Mostly teaches nowadays, but still takes on occasional gigs. Guitar, banjo, original songs and comedy plus all kinds of folk tunes. Owns Bob LaBeau music center. 222-6686.

Big Daddy Rucker. Bobby Bland style big band blues singer. Has worked with Johnny Otis and others. Good, in fact great, voice. Good emcee. Works very little out of the black community. A shame. Call his drummer Willie Aiken at 264-7054.

Wayne Brandon. Living room musician. Wayne sounds so much like Roy Acuff that he actually had Acuff sidemen play with him. Wayne is a teacher and doesn't pick too much, but is always a pleasure to hear. 224-6922.

Skip Conover. Radio DJ and fine bluegrass dobro picker. Contact whatever station he's working for. I think it's KFMB now.

Gary McCoy. Character. Blues guitarist-singer. He's white only on the outside. Gary can be great or obnoxious. Sober or stoned. Gary is indescribable. Somewhere in the beach on the way up or down.

Brian Steeger. San Diego's first and best old timey musician/fiddler/banjo picker. Brian is also a fine rabat player and belly dance musician. Does Balkan music and plays Indian sitar. Good street musician, currently between bands. 755-2830.

Nicolette Birkett. A really nice singer of Carter Family songs, autoharp player and guitar picker. Nicolette also does extraordinary embroidered guitar straps (made one for Joan Baez) and has made some very nice music, with lots of scholarship over the years.

John Tuohy. Good old-time banjo picker with the La Jolla Civic Country Dance Orchestra. Plays Irish music and old time contra-dance music. His wife Diane Simpson plays button accordian in the same group. 452-0386.

Rick Ahrens. Good bluegrass banjo picker down from the Seattle area not regularly playing with a group but looking to join one. 235-0911.

Charlie Poole. Veteran old-time banjo picker with records on the Country label. Lots of people have learned songs from him for many years. 291-1786.

Curly Benson. Sometimes member of the Waterbound (Terry Huston. Dennis Squier. Stan Smith group). Back-up fiat pick guitarist and singer. Check for him through Waterbound. PLACES

The Blue Guitar. Yuris Zeltins and his crew are probably the finest group of craftsmen on the West Coast. Without a doubt the best place to have work done on any stringed instrument. 291-1830.

The New Expression. Walt Richards and group have a folk instrument study center with lessons on most all folk instruments. 299-0734. Bob Zinke of the group makes fine banjos and does some repair.

Folk Arts. For ten years the place to get folk, traditional music, jazz and blues on record. Out-of-print records, rare and small labels from all over the country. 291-1786.

Stelling Banjo Works. Jeff Stelling builds mighty fine bluegrass-style 5 string banjos. Some of the top pickers in the country play his banjos. 465-0697.

San Diego Friends of Old Time Music. They sponsor the SDSU Folk Festival. Banjo and Fiddle Contest, and do discographical and biographical research on early recorded music. Their work is supported by contributions and sales of tapes from their extensive tape library of old 78's. live shows, radio transcripts and out of print records. The library is located at Folk Arts. (291-1786).

Singing Strings in Encinitas. Ed Thompson has been around a long time and just might have that used banjo, guitar or fiddle you're looking for at a fair price.

Orango's Natural Food Restaurant and Sprout Farm. Orango's took over the Folk Art's concerts about six months ago. although Lou Curtiss still does the booking. Live folk music every Friday and Saturday featuring lots of the people in this directory. Lots of out of town pickers too. 291-1786 for information.


SDSU^Folk Festival. The Western United States' biggest festival sponsored by the Cultural Arts Board at SDSU and the SD Friends of Old Time Music. Six days of music featuring artists from all over the country with emphasis on the old-timers who made records in the ‘20s and '30s. This next year it will be held April 20 through 25. Series tickets for all six days are under seven dollars.

Balboa Park Banjo and Fiddle Contests. First Sundays in February and August. Free. Sponsored by Friends of Old Time Music. Gold Gulch area of Balboa Park.

Julian Banjo and Fiddle Contest. Usually in late September or early October in Julian. Calif. Sponsored by The New Expression and the Julian Lions Club.

Lots of events, concerts, celebrations happen all the time, particularly on- the college and university campuses. Watch for them.


San Diego Bluegrass Club. Meets the second Tuesday of every month at the Straw Hat Pizza Palace on Fletcher Parkway. Two dollars to join and receive the club's monthly newsletter. Good way to get in a group. Call Don Ridgeway at 299-0734.

San Diego Folksong Society. Meets monthly for round robin singing and fellowship at different members' homes. Oldest group of its kind in the area. Call secretary Sandy Dutky for dates and times of meetings. 291 -3669.

San Diego Shape Note Society. Meets every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at Folk Arts to sing from the Original Sacred Harp. Leader is Curt Boutrse. Call 286-4557 for information.

Old Time Country Dance Society. Sponsors weekly old time country dances with square and contra styles taught. Free and a live fiddle band. Held weekly at UCSD and SDSU. (The State dance is on Thursdays in the Aztec Center, the UCSD day is being changed.) Call most any of the fiddlers for information or call Folk Arts.

California State Old Time Fiddle Association - Region Seven (San Diego). Organizes contests at the county fair, has monthly jam sessions. Call director Toney Kaul. 460-498 1.

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