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Curtis Loew is not the name of an actual person from Ronnie Van Zant's life. Rather, Curtis Loew is a composite of different people, including Skynyrd lead guitarist Ricky Medlocke's grandfather, Shorty Medlocke. Contrary to the song's lyrics, Shorty was not black. In a 1997 interview on the Lyve From Steel Town album, the band was quoted as jokingly saying, "We needed to 'color' the song up." (thanks, Chris - Philly, PA)
A dobro is a resonator guitar with a mechanical amplifier. It was originally released in 1927. Gibson now owns the rights to the dobro guitar. (thanks, Aaron - Twin Cities, MN)
According to Ronnie Van Zant's widow Judy Van Zant Jenness, the unusual spelling of "Loew" was Skynyrd guitarist Ed King's idea. When he was writing the liner notes for the Second Helping album, he decided to name the character after Loew's Theater - thus giving an old Bluesman a Jewish name.