Albert Castiglia CD Review
Living the Dream
Blues Leaf Records
June 12 2012
By Grant Britt
Albert Castiglia should be huge. His guitar work is ferocious. Slinging barbed licks around like the Kings, Albert in particular, but also able to stick it to ya with Freddie’s piercing stabs, Castiglia fires up a fretboard like nobody’s bidness. A New Yorker by birth and a Miamian by adoption, Castiglia brings a big city intensity to his hard-edged blues. Earning the lead guitar slot for Junior Wells Hoodoo Man’s Band in ’97, he stayed on after Wells’ death the following year backing blueswoman Sandra Hall before going solo in 2002 with his first release, Burn.
His latest, Livin’ the Dream, features a bundle of fiery originals and a handful of covers that retain the feel of the originals rejuvenated with Castiglia’s scorching riffs. The title cut conjures up memories of another Albert: the frosty, stinging bite of Albert Collins.
Freddie King gets his homage with “Freddie’s Boogie,” with Castiglia ripping through his version of King’s “Boogie Funk,” concentrating more on the galloping boogie and less on the funk.
His run at Paul Butterfield’s “Loving Cup” is harder-edged than the ’64 original with Mike Bloomfield’s lead guitar and not as esoteric as Robben Ford’s ’99 Stevie Ray Vaughan shuffle impersonation.
You don’t generally think of Little Richard as a bluesman. But “Directly From My Heart To You” was originally done as a bluesy ballad instead of Richard’s usual frenetic shriek. In Castiglia’s hands, it’s a pounding, pulsating track with a searing, stinging lead that Albert King would have been proud to claim.
His original, “Pubic Enemy Number 9,” features some nasty slide work as greasy as Sonny Landreth’s. And just in case you didn’t get Castiglia’s message, “File Under Blues” is printed on the back cover. Yeah, you’ll want to do that eventually. But for right now, you’ll need to keep this one out where you can get to it for a hearty breakfast kick start, a pick me up nooner, and a big helping to get you through the night.