Curtis Salgado – Soul Shot

January 01, 1970




Curtis Salgado might just be the real “soul man” and “Blues
Brother.” He has been playing professionally for 40 years and worked Robert
Cray for a decade and toured with Roomful of Blues. Soul Shot is his eighth solo album since 1991. But he might be just
as famous for who he influenced. In 1977, Salgado, 23, was performing in clubs in
his hometown of Eugene, Oregon, during the filming of a movie called “Animal
House” there. The lead was a comedian named John Belushi who used to catch
Salgado’s shows. They became fast friends and soon Belushi was getting a
private education from Salgado in blues and R&B. Soon thereafter, Belushi premiered
his own band–The Blues Brothers–first as a skit on “Saturday Night Live” and
then as a real recording and touring band, as well as the star of their own hit


It seems as ancient as the War of the Roses now, but back in
the day if you wanted to start a fight among blues fans all you had to do was
mention The Blues Brothers. Purists thought it was nothing more than a
disrespectful moneymaking comedy routine and perhaps borderline racist to boot,
with “Jake” and “Elwood” in their Ray Charles shades and black suits. But the
music was genuine and Belushi and his “brother”– Dan Aykroid– gave jobs to great
musicians, like “Guitar” Murphy and the late “Duck” Dunn. They always treated
the music with reverence and encouraged their fans to seek out the source
material. And a lot of rock fans first met Sam and Dave and John Lee Hooker
through The Blues Brothers.


Salgado was not in the band or the movie, although the still
great sounding album Suitcase Full of
was dedicated to him. But in listening to Salgado’s first album for
Alligator today, you can hear what influenced the Blues Brothers all those
decades ago. The album mixes soul and blues and funk and all of it is delivered
with total passion. The album consists of 11 cuts and seven are covers. The
covers include an eclectic soul mix of compositions by Johnny “Guitar” Watson,
Otis Redding, Bobby Womack and George Clinton of Parliament fame. You can hear
the 1960’s soul of Womack’s “What you Gonna Do.” Then there are the soaring
horns on Otis’s “Love Man” which is faithful to the original. And the album
rocks on the hard driving, serious funk of Parliament on Clinton’s “Gettin’ to
Know You.”


But on both covers and originals Salgado stands out with his
gospel influence vocals and fat tone harp playing. His harp work on the Clinton
song is reminiscent of the amazing harp playing of the legendary Sugar Blue.
And on the final cut–Salgado’s “A Woman or the Blues”-the song opens with a
soul/ gospel shout that might have channeled Sam Cooke.


Salgado has said that this CD is “the solid best thing I’ve
ever done.” And he may be right. Soul music, R&B, blues, gospel, country
were never just one thing and one thing alone. So the purists might just have
missed the point. All music builds off the shoulders of the giants who came before.
Salgado certainly does that here and gives us a lesson in old school soul that
you can move your butt to. And you have to think that that was exactly what
John Belushi was trying to do all those years ago while listening to Salgado’s
record collection and wondering how to use his fame to turn a new generation of
kids on to the blues during an age when Disco ruled supreme. Curtis Salgado is
the real blues brother and Soul Shot is
a great album.



You Gonna Do,” “Getting’ to Know You,” “A Woman Or the Blues” TOM CALLAHAN 


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