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Curtis Salgado: A Blues Man On The Mend

Curtis Salgado is a blues icon in Oregon. During his 40-year career in music, he's held long stints with The Robert Cray Band, fronted Roomful of Blues and done his own thing with The Nighthawks and Curtis Salgado & The Stilettos. Growing up in Eugene, Salgado began playing music on the guitar, but fell in love with the sound of blues harmonica and changed course. When he inherited a small amount of money for education, his parents used it to pay for vocal lessons, which helped Salgado nurture his huge voice.

Salgado suffered serious health problems in 2006, with liver and lung cancer, and learned he needed a liver transplant. Without health insurance to pay for a procedure expected to cost half a million dollars, he turned to friends for help raising the money. A series of fundraising events with the support of fans and musicians across the country helped make the life-saving procedure possible. One month after taping this session at OPB's studios, Salgado underwent another surgery, this time on his lungs. The operation was successful, and the blues man hopes to return to the stage later this year.

Here, Salgado and his band perform a song which attempts to answer the age-old question, "Which came first, the woman or the blues?"


  • Recorded by Steven Kray, with technical assistance from Randy Layton and Jonathan Newsome.
  • Video production: Jarratt Taylor, with Ifanyi Bell, Michael Bendixen and Luis Giraldo.
  • Photos: Nathan Quigley.
  • Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit .