There's a short list of guys that can still do this and it's getting shorter every day. Johnny Adams, O.V. Wright, Johnnie Taylor, all have gone. Otis Clay is the most recent departure. But thank God Curtis Salgado is still with us, keeping the flame burning brightly. Although signed to a prominent blues label, Salgado's forte is soul. Not the gooey ooh-wee baby sort, but muscular in the O.V Wright / Billy Price tradition, a proclamation punched up by a big 4-piece horn section that Salgado has no trouble being heard over.
“Low Down Dirty Shame” has Salgado testifyin' like Johnny Adams at 3 a.m. at Chicago's Checkerboard Lounge, powerful soul that hits like a punch to the head.
But that doesn't mean he can't crank out some nasty hill county flavored blues as he demonstrates on “I Know A Good Thing.” Guitarist Johnny Lee Schell puts some steely Appalachian twang behind Salgado's hoo-doo vocals, made even weirder by breathy bigfoot panting behind Salgado as he trudges up the hill.
He's even comfortable with reggae. His original, “Simple Enough,” sounds like something the Heptones might have recorded in the early 70s.
For bad to the bone, deep-dish soul, it's hard to beat Salgado's duet with Danielle Shnebeten on “Is There Something I Should Know.” Shnebeten is better known to her fans as Danielle Nicole, formerly of the band Trampled Under Foot with brothers Kris and Nick. She belts out glorious celestial soul like Carla Thomas with Salgado working it like a circuit- riding preacher at a Camp Meeting tent revival. This one needs to be in the soul hall of fame.
Salgado already has a BMA for soul blues album of the year in 2013 for Alligator's Soul Shot, but this release ought to bring him a warehouse full. Even if it doesn't, it'll still fill up any room in your house with some of the best soul music on record, from back in the day right up til today.