Chicago's Bruce Iglauer launched Alligator Records back in 1971 with an album by the raw blues trio Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers.
If you were lucky you might have caught them, along with guitar legend Freddy King at an International Blues Festival in Auckland in the early 70s.
Forty-five years on Alligator is still going strong as Iglauer and his team chronicle the music of the Windy City and beyond.
One of his current crop is vocalist and harp player Curtis Salgado. Among his many credits Salgado provided the inspiration for John Belushi's role in The Blues Brothers, and also fronted both Robert Cray and Carlos Santana's bands.
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Now it's time for Curtis Salgado's own time under the spotlight with his follow up to his 2012 debut Soul Shot on Alligator, The Beautiful Lowdown. And this might just be the best soul set that I've heard in a long while.
Curtis has a great voice and the settings across the 12 tracks vary so much it's like a lucky dip each time a new song starts.
This is the sound of a guy who has more than paid his dues as he dips and dives around a great bunch of songs, even including a stab at reggae, and unleashing just a few tasty harmonica licks, including a chromatic harp attack on Hook Me Up.
Even more impressive is the fact that Curtis Salgado has co-written all but one of the tracks on The Beautiful Lowdown.
Special mention too of the band, especially the horn section, and guitarists Johnny Lee Schell and Vyasa Dobson, and the slide of Alan Hager.
You may not have heard of Curtis Salgado before, but don't let that put you off. This is a soul album that's top of the class.
Rating: 5/5 stars.