Albert Castiglia review 06-13-12…

ALBERT CASTIGLIA

LIVING THE DREAM

BLUES LEAF RECORDS

LIVING THE DREAM–THE MAN–FREDDIE’S BOOGIE–DIRECTLY FROM MY HEART TO YOU–SOMETIMES YOU WIN–PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER NINE–LOVIN’ CUP–FAT CAT–I WANT HER FOR MYSELF–WALK THE BACKSTREETS–CALL ME WHEN YOU NEED ME–PARCHMAN FARM

 

It doesn’t seem like  ten years have passed since Albert Castiglia began his solo career.  For several years, he was a guitarist with the great Junior Wells until Junior’s passing.  In 2002, he released his debut, “Burn,” and, in 2008, his CD “These Are The Days”  featured a tune nominated for a Blues Award, “Bad Year Blues.”

 

New York-born and Miami-raised, Albert has a streetwise savvy to his songwriting that is a perfect complement to his dazzling guitar skills and gritty, soulful vocals, honed over his years working with Junior.  His latest set brings us more of what he’s best-known for, entitled “Living The Dream.”  It features five Albert originals and one cut written by long-time friend and collaborator Graham Wood Drout, and six sweet covers.

 

Joining Albert are his usual suspects, A. J. Kelly on bass, and Bob Amsel on drums.  Special guests include John Ginty on keys, Sandy Mack on harp, and Johnny Rizzo on slide on one cut.  Albert gets his motor revved with the hard-charging leadoff title cut, where he’s “Living The Dream,” even tho sometimes the world is full of “crooks and haters,” and sleeping in one’s car is sometimes a necessity, but,  in the end it’s all worth it.  A scratchy guitar and funky, New Orleans-styled rhythm pattern drives the tale of a man who always seems to be on the wrong end of the law, “Public Enemy Number Nine.”  The chugging, flying-fret instrumental, “Freddie’s Boogie,” is a tribute to Freddie King, while “Fat Cat” is a more swingin’ affair.  Albert gets down Delta style in the acoustic “Call Me When You Need Me,” and he hits the slow grooves perfectly in “Directly From My Heart To You,” punctuated by John Ginty’s tinkling piano work.

 

Hands down, tho, one of Albert’s originals was our favorite.  “The Man,” set over a rhumba-fied beat, is a tongue-in-cheek tale of corruption from “a hand fulla suits that held up the country without using aa gun,” leading to “five-dollar-a-gallon gas” and the resulting economic chaos.

 

Four years was a long time between sets, and, Albert, we’ve missed you.  He’s truly “Living The Dream,” so catch him live if you can for a shot of one of the best players on the contemporary scene today!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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