The Ballad of Curtis Loew
is a song written by Allen Collins
and Ronnie Van Zant
and performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
. The song was first released on the band's 1974 album, Second Helping
and again on their compilation, The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd
and later on All Time Greatest Hits
. It is on many of their compilation albums and before the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, was performed once live on stage. Ed King
says, "The original version of the band only played 'Curtis Loew' one time on stage. We were playing in a basement in some hotel and thought we'd try it. We never played it again until the Tribute Tour with Johnny Van Zant
." The song can be seen as a tribute to African American bluesmen and their influence on rock music.
A young boy wakes up "before the rooster crows" and searches for soda bottles to cash in. He gives the money to a man named Curtis Loew, who buys wine and plays his Dobro
guitar for the boy all day. Curtis is described as a "black man with white curly hair" and the boy idolizes him, returning despite whuppings by his mama to hear the old man play, clapping his hands and trying to stay in time. "People said you was useless," the boy recalls. "Those people all were fools." Instead Curtis is "the finest picker to ever play the blues," the boy professes.
Curtis eventually... Read More