Musings from Mr. Solid
By John Lee
The “Concert for Curtis” at the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon on June 13th, from my viewpoint, looked to be a huge success. Instead of an on stage introduction with an over-sized check, we were given a face-to-face meeting and photo-op with Curtis Salgado himself. There were also benefit organizers from Fremont, California, Sand Point, Idaho, and Eugene, Oregon. The Omaha Blues Society also sent a check for $4,900.00.
Phil Chesnut, the artist and photographer who designed the Seattle benefit poster, was there and got lots of great shots of the face-to-face and of the great show that followed. Curtis said he understood I was a player. I told him I was, that I played with The Crossroads Band and Steve Bailey. Curtis told me Steve showed him lots of things on the harp and that Steve was “one hell of a harmonica player.” This I knew! Curtis is also one hell of a harmonica player!
The Curtis Salgado Band took the stage first and Curtis belted out a great set of rock and blues laced R&B (real R&B) highlighted by the O.V. Wright ballad “Born All Over.” The Curtis Salgado Band included a five piece horn section and four backup singers. Next up was Little Charlie and the Nightcats, with a spirited set that included one of my favorites, “My Next Ex-Wife.”
Then it was time for a trip to the lobby to check out the silent auction. I ran into Tom Boyle and Becki Sue of the Big Rockin’ Daddies. I hadn’t seen those two since December and we had a lot to catch up on; so much so that I missed Everclear’s set. Time flies when your havin’ fun!
Then Judy Belushi, John Belushi’s widow, talked about Curtis’ influence on John Belushi and The Blues Brothers (The Blues Brothers first album is dedicated to Curtis). Then came the set I think was top flight - Taj Mahal and The Phantom Blues Band. This is one of, if not the finest band, in the land. They ran the gamut from “Paint My Mailbox Blue” to Otis Redding's “Mr. Pitiful”. If you get a chance don’t miss Taj and The Phantom Blues Band - they are worth the trip.
The Robert Cray Band laid down some of the smooth pop-blues that has become his trademark. A very good four piece group, all great players. Steve Miller came on, backed by Curtis on harp and vocals, with Curtis’ band. It was a rousing set that had the crowd of about 5,000 on their feet. The concert came to a close with a huge jam with all most all the musicians taking part. A good time was had by all. Some fine music was laid down and money was raised to benefit Curtis in his fight with liver cancer. Please keep Curtis in your thoughts and prayers! Curtis is a good man and one hell of a musician!
Curtis’ fight is just beginning and this is a very expensive undertaking! You can help by making a donation to the “Curtis Salgado Fund” and sending your check or money order to: US Bank 2550 NW 188th Avenue, Hillsboro, Or 97124
I would once again like to thank everyone who made the Seattle benefit a success especially Ed Maloney and The Highway 99 Blues Club. Thanks one and all!! Our final total was $3,715.00.
June Blues Birthdays
In this space for the June Blues Birthdays earlier this month I made a large omission - Seattle’s Big Time Bluesman Issac Scott’s birthday, June 11, 1945. The big man left us too soon. He died in November 2001. I miss him.
Electric bassist John "Mr. Solid" Lee was born in Alaska and has been active in the Seattle blues scene for about 30 years. He currently plays with the Crossroads Band. Photo by Mike Coyote.