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Fiver 11-12-2011 12:02 AM

The Curtis Brothers
I was doing some research after buying the Crazy Horse album At Crooked Lake (The Curtis Brothers are on it) and stumbled onto this blog entry.


In 1974 they cut some demos with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who at that time were on option to the Polydor label, as were Rick and Mike Curtis. One of these demos was "Blue Letter" written by Rick Curtis which appears on the 1975 Fleetwood Mac album. The other was a song called "Seven league Boots" which features Stevie Nicks singing backup with Rick Curtis. This song was 50% sold to Steven Stills in 1980 and turned into "Southern Cross", in which Stills changed the lyrics and some of the arrangement and appears on the 1982 Crosby, Stills & Nash album "Daylight Again"
We all know that Lindsey and Stevie met and befriended the Curtis Brothers before they joined FM, but I'd never heard about the demos. Anybody know if it's floating around somewhere? Would be interesting to hear.


Also, anybody have the self titled Curtis Brothers album? I see some pretty cheap copies for sale, but I'd like to hear some thoughts on it first if I can.

PenguinHead 11-12-2011 11:03 PM

That's really intriguing information. It's always been a curious thing - Blue Letter being the only song written by outside writers - the mysterious Curtis Brothers. It's nice to understand their connection to Stevie and Lindsey. It looks like they might have played a role in a second Buckingham Nicks album.

I hope those demos with Stevie singing emerge someday. I guess I should at least track down The Curtis Brothers album. I wonder where they are now.

bombaysaffires 11-13-2011 04:16 PM

I think it's on NicksFix where they list her as having recorded a song of theirs called something like "You Really Like Me' or some such. Has anyone ever heard it?

CADreaming 12-21-2011 11:17 AM

I just discovered I have a live boot of Blue Letter from 1975 that is mislabeled as San Diego. It can't be because Stevie intros it by saying "This is really special for Lindsey and I because this is our home. We love it and we miss it."

ragrsrocalot 12-21-2011 12:15 PM

Never knew that. I've always loved Southern Cross, cool to know the back story. Thanx.

HomerMcvie 12-21-2011 02:58 PM

Wow, to that link.
I'm friends with SEVERAL people on the "notable musicians" list.
Thanks for posting that!

SteveMacD 05-06-2012 12:24 PM

Accidentally also posted on the Lindsey Buckingham forum, but...

Here's the Curtis Bros. version of Blue Letter.


CADreaming 05-06-2012 08:36 PM


Originally Posted by SteveMacD (Post 1050295)
Accidentally also posted on the Lindsey Buckingham forum, but...

Here's the Curtis Bros. version of Blue Letter.


Thanks for posting!

aleuzzi 05-07-2012 01:29 AM


Originally Posted by CADreaming (Post 1050341)
Thanks for posting!

This was fun to hear. But the Mac version is so much more memorable! McVie's bass lines, Buckingham's distinctive tenor...

vivfox 05-07-2012 02:37 AM


Originally Posted by CADreaming (Post 1032315)
I just discovered I have a live boot of Blue Letter from 1975

Totally lovin' your new sig pic, Dee.:woohoo:

CADreaming 05-07-2012 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by vivfox (Post 1050375)
Totally lovin' your new sig pic, Dee.:woohoo:

Thanks hon! :)

michelej1 03-18-2014 01:04 PM

[This article mentions Stevie on Seven League Boots]

Area brothers’ song an ’80s hit for band

Steve Warden | The Journal Gazette, March 18, 2014

FORT WAYNE – There were those Fort Wayne summer nights, a friend of Rick Curtis recalls, when the late songwriter “could be found on his back, playing banjo to the sky.”

That was long ago – 30 years or so – when Rick and his brother, Mike, would hit a few select local bars and play their music and drink beer and howl beneath the stars.

But that was back in the mid-’80s, before Rick died from a grand mal seizure in 1995 and Mike slipped away to L.A., where he continued to write songs.

Even though they originated from nearby Goshen, Fort Wayne became a regular haunt for Rick and Mike, who were semiregulars in the joints that offered live music and free drinks from fans. As it turns out, what goes around comes back to town, although the venue has improved. A piece of the Curtis boys returns to Fort Wayne on Wednesday when the legendary group Crosby, Stills & Nash steps onto the Embassy Theatre stage.

In 1982, more than a decade after playing their second gig together at Woodstock and becoming a 1970s monster group, CSN released “Daylight Again,” an album that included the song “Southern Cross.” In addition to Stephen Stills being listed as its author, the Curtises are also credited on the label.

Rick and Mike began to hone their writing chops as early as 1965 when, with siblings Tom and Patti, they formed a band called These Vizitors. Although the band split, Rick and Mike Curtis continued to write and record songs as a duo, including a rambling number called “Seven League Boots.”

They were “mythical, magical boots you could put on to cross oceans and mountains to find your true love,” Mike Curtis once explained in a video.

Long before she acquired fame as the front vocalist for Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks sang backup as the song was recorded on a demo tape. It would be that recording of “Seven League Boots” that Stills would hear and revise into “Southern Cross.”

Local attorney Mark Paul Smith, who was a friend of the Curtises at the time and spoke of Rick “playing banjo to the sky,” says “Southern Cross” has the Curtis brothers’ sound.

“The term ‘Southern Cross’ never appears in Rick’s song, but what’s unmistakable is the melody, the structure; but most importantly, the hook, or the chorus,” Smith says. “It is 100 percent, inimitable, Rick Curtis.”

In the video of him discussing the beginning of “Southern Cross,” Mike Curtis talked of how Stills heard “Seven League Boots” on a cassette tape while traveling in Europe and asked a mutual friend to inquire about it. “So since it was kind of a throwaway song for us, we said, ‘Sure,’ … We’re not doing anything with it.’ ” Curtis said.

In the notes within the Crosby, Stills & Nash box set, Stills says, “The Curtis Brothers brought a wonderful song called ‘Seven League Boots,’ but it drifted around too much. I rewrote a new set of words and added a different chorus, a story about a long boat trip I took after my divorce. It’s about using the power of the universe to heal your wounds. Once again, I was given somebody’s gem and cut and polished it.”

Adds Mike Curtis: “(Stills) was all depressed and hanging around L.A. and not being productive. A couple of his buddies came to him and said, ‘You need to get out of town. You need to come sailing with us.’ So they jump on a masted ship of some sort and sailed down into the South Pacific. And when he gets back, he’s got these lyrics that he’s not quite sure what to do with. He puts the two and two together; therefore all the sailing jargon in the song, and pretty much puts the song together.”

“Southern Cross” peaked at No. 18 on the charts in 1982.

Rick Curtis’s daughter, Jennifer Curtis, a musician and artist who lives near Cleveland, still has the gold record displayed above her fireplace mantle.

“That song follows me everywhere, and it makes me teary-eyed,” Jennifer says. “It’s amazing, especially when I hear it on the radio because it makes me feel like (my father) is watching over me. It’s like he’s saying ‘hi’ every time I hear it. I’m very proud of him.”

Wdm6789 03-18-2014 01:54 PM

This is awesome. "Southern cross" is my favorite song ever.

Sanne2 10-26-2019 04:49 AM

Bumping this old thread to add that the "Seven League Boots" demo from 1974, produced by Lindsey and Richard and with background vocals by Stevie, resurfaced a while ago:

ricohv 10-26-2019 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by Sanne2 (Post 1254708)
Bumping this old thread to add that the "Seven League Boots" demo from 1974, produced by Lindsey and Richard and with background vocals by Stevie, resurfaced a while ago:

Thank you for sharing! I'd never heard this song, and missed this thread a few years ago. These finds are what keep me coming back, and what I've loved about The Ledge for so long. It helps me remember what my fandom has been about all these years (and helps soften the blow of the current state of affairs)

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