Curtis Salgado has a lot to celebrate. Not long ago he was diagnosed with liver cancer and told he had eight months to live unless he got a liver transplant which would generate medical bills upwards of half a million dollars. With no health insurance and few funds, the man who is one of America's finest blues/soul singers needed a little help from his friends. When your friends and admirers include the likes of Steve Miller, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, you've got a fighting chance. Numerous benefits were held in multiple cities including a benefit concert featuring Miller, Cray, Taj Mahal, The Phantom Blues Band, Everclear and Little Charlie & The Nightcats. Through the generosity of Curtis's friends, fellow musicians, the Legendary Blues Cruise and thousands of fans who supported Curtis by attending benefits and auctions or by making private donations, upwards of half a million dollars were raised and Curtis first received Yttrium 90 to shrink his 5.5 cm tumor and then got his transplant, though there were a few twists and turns in the road before that happened. A little less than two years after his initial diagnosis, Curtis was able to record Clean Getaway, an album whose title has an obvious double meaning. With its release on July 8, 2008, Clean Getaway is a triumph in more ways than one, a sublime collaboration with the most respected session players in Los Angeles that goes to the heart of what music--and life--is all about.
"I was told I had eight months to live unless I got a liver transplant," Curtis recalls, "and I'm thinking how in the world am I going to pay for this? Then the benefit happened and the rest came from personal donations from so many people. Bonnie Raitt paid my rent while I was in the hospital. I have known her since 1980 and she's just the best. Two people gave me their life savings, when at the last minute, the hospital said we needed thousands of more dollars then we had or they wouldn't do the operation. This was seven months in and I'd only been given eight months to live. When it didn't look like there would be a donor in time, my girlfriend even offered to donate half her liver; it turned out that we were a match. Five days before the operation I was moved from 11 to 24 on the waiting list...it depended on someone dying in the next five days and donating their liver and then after the liver is harvested you only have eight hours. And fortunately for me, that is what happened