Long-time record store manager John “Smokey” Koelsch worked hard to bring Blues to Salt Lake City both before and after he worked at the Cosmic Aeroplane:
Smokey is mentioned frequently in Joe Stohel’s History of the Cosmic Aeroplane as a friend and regular customer. He was a music collector and disc jockey (specializing in Blues at first) before taking the helm in the Record Department during the early 70’s.
The newspaper Highland Rambler describes Smokey’s Blues Hour in 1970:
Smokey’s Blues Hour filled a whole page of the Daily Utah Chronicle in 1981:
When Smokey opened his own store, he helped anchor another Alternative literary/arts district around the corner of 15th East and 15th South — following a Cosmic tradition.
Smokey says: The name “Smokey’s Records” was chosen by agreement between my partners Vaninnetti and Setzer and me to try to get some mileage out of a connection with my long-running radio show, “Smokey’s Blues Hour,” which I kept on-air for the first year of the existence of Smokey’s Records.
The King’s English Bookstore still anchors the artistic community around 15th & 15th:
Further information on Smokey’s Records as an independent store can be read in:
Joe Stohel’s History of the Cosmic Aeroplane
Further pages about Smokey, Rev. Willis, and the wider Alternative scene are inevitable. We welcome input from friends and customers — contact our blogmeister:
Blogmeister Michael Evans is an author and historian.
There is more about KMOR Radio days with Curt, Reverend Willis, and Smokey in his book — The Great Salt Lake Mime Saga and Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools.
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