Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Albert Castiglia -- "Living The Dream"

Albert Castiglia's sixth cd, and fourth on Blues Leaf Records, is "Living The Dream." It is a massive leap forward from my first contact with him, 2002's self-released "Burn." On the earlier disc there are flashes of promise, some good performances such as "Can't Be Satisfied," "The Day The Old Man Died" and "Cadillac Assembly Line," but most of that could be attributed to Graham Wood Drout's writing. Albert's promise still had a long ways to go. But in the past week I've gone back and listened to all of Albert's cds, and in the ten years since he released "Burn" Albert has gotten better as a songwriter, guitar player and as a singer. And not a little bit better. A lot better!

Let me say it this way--in my opinion, at this point, Albert is second to only a very few when it comes to playing the guitar, and he is one of the best blues singers anywhere on the scene.

And Albert has developed into a pretty good songwriter. He has always written songs--he wrote five songs on 2010's "Keepin' On"--but this time out he writes five of the 12 songs on "Living The Dream," including the title track and "The Man," and his writing is strong. Albert's road band is backing him on this cd, and it's strong, too, featuring Bob Amsel on drums and A J Kelly on bass, along with guests Sandy Mack on harmonica, Juke Joint Jonny Rizzo on acoustic slide guitar, John Ginty on piano and B-3 organ, and Emedin Riveras on percussion. When they cover Freddie's King's "Freddie's Boogie" it is good, damn good, with guitar bombs going off everywhere, but it isn't a highlight of the cd. When Albert covers Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart To You" he sounds like what he is--a good singer singing a good song. "Sometimes You Win" is an acoustic song written by the aforementioned Graham Wood Drout. "Public Enemy # 9" is one of my favorites here--it's a cooker. "Lovin' Cup" is written by Paul Butterfield, and shows the greatness of Sandy Mack. Albert began his career playing behind Junior Wells, and he has a talent for showcasing great harmonica players. "Fat Cat" is a hot instrumental, and "I Want Her For Myself" is 3 minutes of pure acoustic musical magic by Albert & Juke Joint Jonny Rizzo & Sandy Mack--a candidate for best song I've heard in 2012. After that, there are still three more songs--almost 20 minutes of good music, including 9 minutes of "Walk The Backstreets," and a cover of "Parchman Farm" that ranks up there with Johnny Winter as the best by anybody ever.  

Is this a rave review? You betcha. This cd was released on June12. You can buy this cd wherever good blues music is available.

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