Store namechecked in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” demolished

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973 | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Jacksonville building that once housed the Woodcrest Grocery store, which was immortalized in the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “The Ballad of Curtis Loew”, was demolished last week, according to the Florida Times-Union.

The song, written by Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins appeared on the band’s 1973 album Second Helping. Van Zant sings of collecting “soda bottles” to earn money and carrying them “down to the corner, down to the country store.” The money Van Zant earned, so the song goes, was given to a “Black man with white curly hair” named Curtis Loew, who’d use it to purchase the alcohol that fueled his virtuosic dobro skills.

Although Loew was a fictional character––a composite of several influential figures, according to the website Country Thang Daily––the store was a real place. Known as Claude’s in the late ’50s and early ’60s, the building was down the street from Van Van Zant’s childhood home. The building had sat vacant for decades, according to the T-U.

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