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Curtis Salgado

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There is a moment on Curtis Salgado’s new Shanachie Entertainment CD Strong Suspicion (March 23, 2004) where it seems the spirit of Al Green has possessed him. When Curtis takes on the obscure Beatles gem “I’ll be back” and gives it the full-on Memphis Soul treatment, the results are spine-tingling and eerily reminiscent of Al Green’s exquisite soul-i-fication of the Bee Gees and Bob Dylan. Curtis’ interpretation of “I’ll be back” is one of many highlights on Strong Suspicion, his latest tour-de-force amalgam of blues/soul/rock’n’roll. With the added bonus of great guest performances from slide guitarist Sonny Landreth and singer Bekka Bramlett, it’s the strongest effort yet from the man the Los Angeles Times said “is keeping the classic flame of soul music alive.”

As always, Curtis Salgado’s take on soul music is wide-ranging. His heartfelt approach to the music has won him starring roles as lead singer in bands led by such starts as Robert Cray and Santana. The late John Belushi was so inspired by Curtis that he developed his Blues Brother character after him. Curtis’ take on soul is simple. “If a song is sincere and you believe it, that’s soul,” he says. “To me Pavarotti is as much a soul singer as Otis Redding; Merle Haggard and Hank Williams are soul singers as much as Sam Cooke. Soul is about heart and about belief.”

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