The Phantom Blues Band
with Special Guest Curtis Salgado
take a listen!
In the early 1990s, Taj Mahal assembled a backing band of the best blues players he could corral. He dubbed them the Phantom Blues Band and told everyone they were his secret weapon.
Three decades later, the Phantom Blues Band stands as a resilient collection of all-star players that is more of a brotherhood than a band. Everyone has their side gigs – members have played with Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Joe Cocker, Eric Burdon, Robert Cray and Bob Marley among others -- and they possess unusual allegiance and true camaraderie as the Phantom Blues Band.
The band is comprised of vocalist-guitarist Johnny Lee Schell, singer-bassist Larry Fulcher, drummer Tony Braunagel, saxophonist Joe Sublett, trumpeter Darrell Leonard and keyboard player Jim Pugh. (Pugh replaced longtime member Mike Finnigan who succumbed to cancer in 2021.)
Joining them on their new album, Blues For Breakfast on the Little Village label, is singer Curtis Salgado. Salgado has long been considered one of the best R&B singers in the world and is a past winner of the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award by the Blues Foundation, the highest honor it bestows.
“Curtis Salgado’s range and power as a vocalist are a tour-de-force... hard-nosed blues beautifully nuanced R&B, phat and funky,” says Billboard magazine.
Any way you dissect it, this is a first-class band at work. But Taj Mahal knew that first. He believed in them before anyone else did.