Interview with The Otis Brothers

The Otis Brothers at Banjo Jim's summer 07 pic by Eli Smith

On today’s show I speak with The Otis Brothers, the amazing blues/pre-blues string band from Queens, NY. Pat Conte and Bob Guida, who form the Otis Brothers have been playing together since the mid 1970’s. They met in high school, where they sang field hollers while working out in the gym! Both Pat and Bob have amassed large collections of awesome old instruments and rare records. But as we discuss in the interview, they’re not collectors, they’re musicians in search of a very particular sound and feeling, and all the instruments and recordings and other objects are a part of how they undertake that search.

My good friend Ernesto Gomez and I journeyed out the end of the 7 train line in Queens where Bob picked us up. We went back to his place, Pat was there and we took a swim in his backyard pool, had some food and then went down into the basement for the interview. The whole basement area was filled with rare records, awesome old instruments, old pieces of recording and playback technology, comic books and weird art. We had a great time!

The Otis Brothers play a mix of blues, pre-blues, old-time and gospel music. All my favorite stuff! Look out for the second part of this episode- “The Roots of the Otis Brothers” coming up in a few days where I will play many of the original recordings that influenced Pat and Bob (as well as some fun surprises!).

Be sure to check them out live at the TenEleven Bar on Manhattan’s lower east side, on Sat. March 1st!


The Return of the Otis Brothers: Let’s Go To Huntin’ (their latest CD)

Gravest Hits – Buy Pat’s new solo album

The Secret Museum of Mankind – CD series on Yazoo edited by by Pat

Secret Museum of the Air – Archives of Pat Conte’s (w/ Citizen Kafka) old radio show on WFMU. Incredible stuff. What a resource.

Illustrated Otis Brothers Discography

Susquehanna Hat Abbot and Costello Routine – Comedy routine influential to Pat and Bob

Marimac Recordings – Early record label to issue Pat & Bob’s stuff. They got lotsah great stuff!

Yazoo Records Wikipedia entry

Action Comics #1 – Why are so many 78 collectors into comics too? Here’s one that Bob mentions in the show. Its awesome.

Bernie Klatzko Remembered – Record collector who influenced the Otis Brothers

Don Kent – Record Collector who influenced the Otis Brothers

Otis Brother interview by Eli Smith pic by Ernesto Gomez
Eli interviewing The Otis Brothers at Bob Guida’s house. Pat Conte (L), Bob Guida (R)
photo by Ernesto Gomez

R. Crumb cover for the Otis Brothers' first record
R. Crumb cover for the Otis Brothers’ first record

Click Below for an interview with the Otis Brothers from the June 1984 issue of Fast Folk Magazine:

Fast Folk Magazine '84 Otis Bros

Otis Brothers in Fast Folk Magazine June 1984
L to R Louie Kromm, Pat Conte, Bob Guida (The Otis Brothers, 1984)

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