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      Curtis Salgado
    Soul shall you reap

    Never mind old stories about being the "original Blues Brother" — singer Curtis Salgado has already paid those dues and is now busy making some of today's best soul and blues music.


    The last thing you should know about Curtis Salgado is that he's the "original Blues Brother."

    What's the first thing you should know? Well, any of the following:

    Curtis Salgado (vocals)
    Tracy Arrington (bass)
    Joe Heinemann (keyboards)
    John Wedemeyer (guitar).

    Related links: Official site
  • He was an original bandmate of Robert Cray in the Cray band's formative years in Oregon, where both musicians are local favorites to this day, even as they've gained national recognition.

  • The horn-based R&B powerhouse Roomful of Blues chose him as their charismatic front man after the departure of bandleader Duke Robillard.

  • He's a singer who can knock you off your barstool with a Wilson Pickett standard one moment, and steal your girl with a romantic ballad the next.

    In fact, Salgado is the answer to the question I've been asking myself for years: As much as people love classic soul, why doesn't anybody make that kind of music today? Say what you want about Lauryn Hill or Boyz II Men — their music is really a smooth brand of pop that's lost the all-out shout of James Brown and the religious ecstasy of Aretha Franklin. So who today can sing — really sing, loud and proud — the way the best singers used to? Curtis Salgado, of course.

    That's not to say you're going to go to his show and hear oldies radio. The show is billed as a CD-release party for Salgado's brand-new "Wiggle Outta This," which features guitar heroes Robillard and Terry Robb, and although those two aren't along on this tour, Salgado always draws on the northwest's finest musicians. The music is likely to be a mix of original blues-rockers and covers of songs you may not be familiar with from Salgado/Cray role models like O.V. Wright and Z.Z. Hill.

    So okay, the last thing you need to know about Curtis Salgado is that he gave John Belushi the idea for the Blues Brothers. The two met when Belushi was in Eugene, Oregon, filming "Animal House," and Salgado introduced his thrilled new buddy to the whole blues tradition and told him stories about the Cray band's formative years, providing the inspiration for Jake and Elwood. But ask him about this period and you'll get the sense that he'd rather talk about the present than the past. After all, it's 1999 and he's not bringing back soul's classic era; he's making a new era in soul music, even if he has to do it by himself. Check that — with your participation, at Chicago Blues on the 29th.

  • OCTOBER 21, 1999

    Reader comments on Curtis Salgado:

  • blessed by the blues   from diana ross, Jan 9, 2003
  • Re: blessed by the blues   from Sue Rosenbloom, May 16, 2006

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