Wesley Erwin “Mac” Curtis Jr., a Fort Worth native considered one of the pioneering rockabilly acts, has died at the age of 74.
According to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s web site, Curtis died Monday night at the Holland Lake Nursing Center in Weatherford.
The Dallas Morning News reports Curtis died from injuries sustained in a car accident last month.
According to his AllMusic bio, Curtis began playing the guitar at age 12, not long before he and his family moved to Weatherford in 1954. It wasn’t long before a talent scout for Cinncinati-based King Records heard his work with a group called the Country Cats.
The label soon signed him, and he released his first single, If I Had Me a Woman, not long thereafter.
There would be a stint in the Army, beginning in 1957 and lasting three years. In the 1970s, Curtis began capitalizing on the popularity of rockabilly in Europe, where he continued to tour well into the 1980s and 1990s.
"I'm on my second and third generation of fans over there," Curtis told the Star-Telegram in 1997. "Seventy-five to 80 percent of 'em are no older than 30. They really get into it. It's their music. Americans always look toward the next big thing, but Europeans, once they get on to you, it's a lifetime deal."
Curtis was also a radio DJ (for KXOL 1360 AM — now KMNY — among other stations; he was one half of the duo Macko and Wacko), sold real estate and was the 21st artist to be inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. His final studio album, Songs I Wish I Wrote, was released in April 2011, by the Finnish label Bluelight Records.
“He was a charming and gracious man from beginning to end, and we continued our relationship when he invited us to do a show with him in Weatherford,” says Susan Colegrove, a member of local band Lost Country. “His King Records 45, If I Had Me a Woman, was hugely influential ... he's a true rock and roll innovator and we should all be proud that Mac Curtis was one of our own.”
The Dallas Morning News also reports a memorial will likely be held Sept. 28 at the Spring Creek Baptist Church in Weatherford. Curtis is survived, per the DMN, by his sister, Cindy Winters of Granbury.
This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. This report contains material from Star-Telegram archives.