Curley’s patrons get jazzed with vintage music

athena-column.jpgBy Athena Mekis
Special to the Signal Tribune

During Signal Hill’s oil heyday, Curley’s was famous for cashing checks while their customers grabbed a beer. Those who contributed to the oil industry relate to the oil signs and pictures adorning the walls. The generations of families who have become patrons of the restaurant know why they keep coming back: classic burgers and eclectic music. It’s the perfect combination, enjoying a meal while listening to soothing melodies from the vintage eras. Curley’s brings in all ages, but a majority of the regulars are over 40. Each month is filled with events and daily food specials that keep the place packed.
• Mondays (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.): Newcomers and old timers join Jerry Rothschild’s Ragtimers’ seven-piece band. Rothschild plays the piano and gives information about each song to the audience. This music seems like the perfect soundtrack to a Charlie Chaplin movie. Comically, the food bell chimes in perfect harmony with the bands’ performance. Customers not only show their appreciation after each song, but after each solo as well.
• Wednesdays (5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.): CJ and Katie play popular music from the 1910s to the 1930s. They play the tuba and the banjo, which fill in for a guitar and bass, taking the sound to a whole new level. They also give out lyric sheets for all the songs they play so it’s a good idea to eat early before the sing-a-longs begin.
• Thursdays (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.): Eddie Marie carries a wide selection of music for karaoke night, but customers mainly sing songs from the 1950s and on. Three generations come here to croon their favorite tunes and, if the song is not in her collection, customers are encouraged to bring in their own CD. Eddie comes back every Thursday because she enjoys hearing the same happy songs sung by the same friendly faces.
• Fridays (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.): The Cherry Willow Jazz Band plays music from the 1920s and 1930s to a full house. They are well rehearsed and multi-talented, showcasing their ability to play multiple instruments. Patrons show off their talents as well with noisemakers the band gives out. As well as all the talented music, the band also has an amazing line-up of jokes.
• Saturdays (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.): Three different blues bands alternate on Saturdays during lunch. There is plenty of seating on the patio, and the umbrellas hide everyone from the sun. Tupelo Blue is one great blues band that personifies mellowed passions. The harmonica is an essential part of the blues and the vocalist uses it as a second voice. The instrumental solo expresses the fat cat bass, the simplistic drumbeat and the high-tone guitar as a force desiring happiness.
When it comes to music, Curley’s ain’t just whistling ‘Dixie.’ Curley’s is located at 1999 E Willow Street. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sundays. For more information, call (562) 424-0018.

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