Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sean Costello "Sean's Blues"

Readers of this blog will know that I love the music of Sean Costello, and it was an immense loss when he died in April 2008 one day short of his 29th birthday. Luckily there is this release from Landslide Records, which is a retrospective of Sean's career from 1996 to 2002. Of the 20 tracks here, three come from the disc "Call The Cops" (1996) three from the disc "Cuttin' In" (2000)" and two from "Moanin' For Molasses" (2001) and the remaining dozen are previously unreleased, including three live cuts from 2000 and 2001. I hope you already have the official releases--they are really good--and if you don't, go grab them immediately. This was one artist who knew the blues, who played and sang with talent and taste and authenticity. Sean was one of the very brightest players in blues.

So when I picked up this disc I was nervous--is this a cleaning out the vault, a package of second rate material trying to capitalize on Sean's untimely death? In a word, is it worthy of his legacy? YES YES YES! This is a wonderful addition to the Sean Costello discography. The re-released songs are all fine, and the other dozen are all absolutely wonderful. There are five tracks from 1998, including a great "Walking Blues" featuring Susan Tedeschi on vocals, Paul Linden on harmonica. There are three exceptional live tracks, "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" and "Mojo Boogie" from a show in Marquette Michigan in 2000 and "Motor Head Baby" from a show in Chicago in 2001. In fact, "Motor Head Baby" might be not only the highlight of this disc but of Sean's entire recorded output so far. Incredible--Sean's ability to sizzle and burn are here on full display! And then there are four studio tracks from 2002, including a marvelously understated and passionate "You Don't Know What Love Is" and two songs that appeared on later cds in re-arranged form--"Feel Like I Ain't Got A Home" and "She Changed My Mind." When the last notes fade away I am sad all over again at what we have lost, but I am grateful for what we have. Thank you Landslide Records.

All in all, a really nice package. I hope this is not the last disc of Sean Costello music--I'm hoping for a companion disc or two (or three) of material from 2003-2008, hopefully including an entire live concert. Hey, a guy can hope, can't he?

A portion of the royalties from this disc will benefit the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bi-Polar Research. To learn more about that, go to