The album's title leaves no doubt as to its contents: Soul Activated is all about rockin' soul, classic R&B, and vocal throwbacks to the glory days of Sam & Dave, Otis Redding and the like. Curtis Salgado plunges headlong into a vocal potpourri, dishing out some very hip covers and adding four tunes of his own. The covers include the Hall & Oates/Paul Young hit "Everytime You Go Away," a funky rendering of Leon Russell's "I'd Rather Be Blind" (Freddie King), Jimmy Cliff's reggae smash "The Harder They Come," and a duet with Lou Ann Barton called "Hip Hip Baby" that features Jimmie Vaughan on guitar. Barton used to sing the tune with Stevie Ray Vaughan in her hometown of Austin (before SRV's tenure with Double Trouble). Salgado's originals extract powerful visuals, from the relaxed yet uplifting "Summertime Life" to the minor-key "Funny Man," a tale that tells a story most probably haven't heard before: one of losing the girl to a comedian. Salgado sings, "The funny man ain't funny when he takes your love from you." Ouch! "Lip Whippin" is a traditional blues tune. It's a great harp instrumental that is arguably the best cut on the album, but it sounds ridiculously out of place sandwiched in between all the other "soul activated" tunes. Those are filled with cool phrasing, hot sweat, and a helluva voice.
AllMusic Review by Ann Wickstrom