Ever listen to a musician’s work and think to yourself “I need to hear that again so I can comprehend. What was that”? Examples of this would include Hard Again (Muddy Waters/Johnny Winter), Fever For The Bayou (Tab Benoit), Strange Pleasure (Jimmie Vaughan), and Alone & Acoustic (Buddy Guy & Junior Wells). Albert Castiglia’s latest offering, Living The Dream rises to that level of Blues.
The production values on this CD never get in the way of the music. Although this music is currently referred to as “Contemporary Blues”, in a lot of ways it distinguishes itself very nicely. The CD has an ambiance similar to the old-school method of live takes with everyone in the same studio room; although energetic and punchy, everything breathes and nothing is excessively polished. The band is very tight and together throughout. Bob Ansel on drums and A.J. Kelly on bass lay down a great backbeat for Castiglia to work with. Guest John Ginty provides a great sound and some righteous grooves on keys! Additional guests are Sandy Mack (harmonica), Juke Joint Johnny Rizzo (slide guitar on “I Want Her For Myself”), and Emedin Rivera (percussion).
The CD opens with “Living The Dream”, which gives a taste of things to come and lets you know this ain’t your daddy’s blues. (Kelly does a really fine job on the bass line!) This is followed by the well played Latin flavored bar-room blues “The Man”, which has Castiglia laying down a nice lead. After that is Freddie King’s “Freddie’s Boogie”, a rough and ready Texas inspired blues rendering with great guitar tone. Next up is “Directly From My Heart to You”, a sonically pleasing honky tonk blues, followed by the acoustic “Sometimes You Win”. Castiglia then lights up “Public Enemy #9”, which sounds like Little Feat on steroids! On Paul Butterfield’s “Lovin’ Cup”, the band raises the bar on a straight-up Texas blues. “Fat Cat” finds all parties deeply committed to an impressive display of Jump style blues, but with an edgy tone. “I Want Her For Myself” shines with good acoustic guitar and harmonica lines. The centerpiece of the album, “Walk The Backstreets”, is long, slow, beautiful blues you get lost in. The CD closes with the acoustic “Call Me When You Need Me”, and “Parchman Farm”, a ballsy stomp with great lead runs by Castiglia.
This CD will leave you exhilarated and exhausted, but never disappointed.
Look to pre-order Albert Castiglia’s “Living the Dream” soon!