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Passings: Mac Curtis (1939 - 2013)

Singer Mac Curtis, a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, died on Monday night in a Weatherford, TX nursing home at the age of 74.

Curtis' passing was a surprise to friends and family as he had been successfully recovering for the last month from a car accident. His sister, Cindy Waters, told the Dallas Morning News "He went to the nursing home for rehab after the accident, and it turned out he had a subdural hematoma that kept growing and growing and ultimately burst. It was a shock. It was sudden. He was taken to the hospital after the accident, and they did a CAT scan and didn’t determine anything. All they can say is it must have been a tiny brain bleed that just grew and grew and grew."

Curtis began his music career at the age of 12 when he bought his first guitar and, within a year, was placing well in local talent shows. In 1954, when he was 15, he moved to Weatherford, outside of Ft. Worth, TX, with his grandparents where he started the group The Country Cats with two classmates. Their hybrid of country and R&B enraged officials at their school, but they worked hard and became popular locally, cutting a few demos at local recording studios.

In 1956, the group entered the recording studio and recorded If I Had Me a Woman which would be released on King Records under Curtis' name. More singles followed which led to them being noticed by Alan Freed who brought them to New York for his 1956 Christmas Rock N' Roll Review.

Even with the new found fame, he returned home to finish high school, working as a DJ during the day and playing music at night. By the November after his graduation, he had been drafted and, but the time he was out, Rockabilly music had been replaced in the minds of the public.

During the 60's, Curtis was a popular DJ but, during a 1971 interview, he found out that rockabilly, including his recordings, were having a resurgence in Europe. He joined forces with Ray Campi and recorded new music for Rollin' Rock Records that was ignored in his own country but helped kick off the Rockabilly revival in Europe.

More recordings followed and, in 1977, he toured Europe as part of the Original Rollin' Rock Tour which was a big success. He would spend much of the rest of his life living in his home town and regularly touring Europe where he remained popular.

His final album was 2010's Songs I Wish I Wrote.