Albert Castiglia Living the Dream By Tom Carter; Jun 1 Find on Amazon.com South Florida Bluesman Albert Castiglia just keeps getting better and better and one has to think that the title of his sixth album, Living The Dream, describes his life right about now. After working as Junior Wells' bandleader Albert has gone on to make a mark for himself playing festivals and shows around the world. Castiglia opens with the title song displaying his considerable guitar talents at full tilt then follows with "The Man", another original contemporary Blues number describing the country's current economic woes. John Ginty's piano work there and elsewhere add a nice touch not usually heard in Albert's stage shows. Castiglia also penned "Public Enemy #9, relaying confrontations with the law in unfamiliar places over a funky beat and B3 fills, the jumping "Fat Cat" and "I Want Her For Myself", a mid-tempo acoustic track with Juke Joint Jonny Rizzo on slide guitar and Sandy Mack on harp. Mack also adds harmonica on the Paul Butterfield classic "Lovin' Cup" which Albert reworks with his trademark rapid-fire string attacks for one of my favorite cuts on the disc. Blues staple "Parchman Farm" is included in unmistakable Castiglia style along with "Walk The Backstreets", one of the slow burners here. Living The Dream is nothing short of a masterpiece from Albert Castiglia that will thrill any fan and earn him lots of new ones.
Bluesville Picks To Click B.B. KING’S BLUESVILLE PICKS TO CLICK FOR THE WEEK OF October 13, 2012
Thank you to all of you for the continued support and as always below is the list of “Picks to Click”.
Bill Wax, Proprietor of Low-Fi’s Bar and Pool Hall in the heart of Bluesville.
1. “Living The Dream” – Albert Castiglia – Blues Leaf
2. “Blood Red Blues” – Cee Cee James – FWG Records
3. “Every Kinda’ Blues” – Johnny Neal – Breakin’ Records
4. “Blues On Solid Ground” – John Primer – Blues House
5. “Grim Reaper” – Rockin’ Johnny Band – Delmark
6. “I’m Gone” – Omar & the Howlers – Independent
7. “I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone” – James Luther Dickinson/North Miss. Allstars – Memphis International
8. “A Natural Fact” – Steve Stongman – Independent
9. “Heartfelt” – Jarekus Singleton – Independent
10. “Between the Ditches” – Rev. Peyton’s Big Damned Band – Side One Dummy
11. “Doin’ What I Takes” – Lloyd Jones – Fresh
12. “Blues Stains On My Hands” – Norman Sylvester Band – Boogie Cat
13. “Cotton Fields of Dreams” – Albert Bashor – Earwig
14. “Waiting for the Phone to Ring” – Chris O’Leary Band – Vizztone
15. “Election Special” – Ry Cooder – Nonesuch
From The Great Northern Blues Society Albert Castiglia - Living The Dream
The title track “Living the Dream” starts off with a funky guitar riff, a great guitar solo and powerful vocals, this song has it all. “The Man” has great lyrics and I love the percussion by Emedin Rivera. Castiglia sings “The game is rigged and it ain’t on my side, hard luck and trouble I just cannot hide. Willie’s weed and Johnny’s Tanqueray, couldn’t kill this pain that I’m feeling today.” “No one’s getting over but the man.” I think we all feel that way every so often, some more than others.
The Freddie King instrumental “Freddie’s Boogie” just kicks ass. The Hammond B3 by John Ginty, provides a perfect backdrop for Albert’s guitar, which must have had to have been put out by fire extinguisher by the time this song was over, “Directly from My Heart to You” the Richard Penniman aka Little Richard penned tune, has a nice slow soulful groove to it. Ginty’s B3 and piano playing rule the day here until Albert’s guitar solo. That guitar solo reached inside me, got my heel to tap slow, then everything just amped up and blended together for one last blast that left me wanting a lot more
“Sometimes You Win” is an acoustic track. I’m not usually a fan of acoustic guitar songs but Albert always does them with such passion and intensity that you can’t help but love them. I love the lyrics and great slide guitar work on “Public Enemy #9” Sandy Mack’s dirty harp playing puts a cap on the most alive version I’ve ever heard of Paul Butterfield’s “Lovin Cup.”
The instrumental “Fat Cat” is another original where Albert just dares you not to be jumping around in your seat. “I Want Her for Myself” is another enjoyable acoustic track with Sandy Mack adding harp and “Juke Joint” Johnny Rizzo on acoustic slide guitar. Things slow down a bit on”Walk the Backstreets” but it is still a powerful track. I guarantee Mose Allison didn’t envision “Parchman Farm” sounding like this when he wrote it. This final dose of mind melting guitar is a great way to close out this CD.
Albert’s vocals are right where they always are and his guitar playing is off the charts. Holding down the bottom in fine form are the usual suspects, Bob Amsel drums and AJ Kelly on bass. I just have to say thank you to Albert and the guys. They played at our Blues Café’ back in March and put on an awesome show. Albert is one of the nicest artists that I have ever met and let me tell you, I have met many. Thanks again!
Ron Hoerter with Daniel Schlewitz
Albert Castiglia earned his blues cred as a member of Junior Wells' band, but his resumé is irrelevant at this point in his career. His muscular vocal style, incendiary guitar work, and fine songwriting are all the signs of an artist who's in it for the love of music, a fact he wryly acknowledges on this album's title track. With John Ginty's big Hammond B-3 lending support to his chattering rhythm guitar work, Castiglia sings "The road to riches is playing guitar, that's why I'm living inside my car" before laying down another stinging guitar solo. "The Man" is a blues mambo that protests the damage bankers have done to the country with a bitterly humorous lyric and some snarling lead guitar. A modified Bo Diddley beat drives "Public Enemy #9," another wry tale of street life, while "I Want Her for Myself" is a more traditional country blues thang with driving acoustic guitar and cool harmonica work by Sandy Mack. Graham Wood Drout's "Sometimes You Win" is another acoustic workout, a brooding meditation carried by only by Castiglia's acoustic guitar and vocals. Castiglia shows off his guitar prowess on a supersonic version of Freddie King's "Freddie's Boogie" featuring another solid performance by John Ginty on the B-3. He demolishes Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm" with a metallic guitar assault and a sneering, growling vocal and gives Little Richard's "Directly from My Heart to You" the familiar feel of an early New Orleans R&B jam, again with the able work of John Ginty, this time on piano
- J. Poet
Singer-guitarist Albert Castiglia was a member of Junior Wells Band the last year of Junior’s life. After Wells’ passing the band did some gigs backing vocalist Sandra Hall with Castiglia developing his craft and career in the years since. An energetic guitarist who can rock out, he is also a capable vocalist who has a new release on Blue Leaf, Living the Dream. On this, his band of AJ Kelly on bass and Bob Amsel on drums is augmented by the keyboards of John Ginty with Sandy Mack adding harmonica to a couple of tracks, Jonny Rizzo slide guitar to one and Emedin Rivera adding percussion on two.
The recording a mix of rocking blues and some interesting covers that represent some unusual choices. As a guitarist he certainly can pull out all the stops but even at a rocket tempo, the clarity and articulation in his playing is evident. On the opening title track as he sings about playing the blues wherever he can and the hustlers and sharks one comes across before he takes an explosive solo. I certainly am impressed by his talent even if the performance might be a bit rocked out as a matter of my preference. It is followed by a nice topical blues about us doing clean up for The Man with a latin groove which his rhythm section ably handles under some more guitar pyrotechnics.
Freddie King is an obvious influence and Castiglia certainly does a fine salute on King’s Freddie’s Boogie, which kicks off in hyper-drive and his mix of chords (in the vein of Magic Sam on Lookin’ Good) and single note runs is exhilarating. He puts plenty of heart singing Little Richard’s Directly From Heart To You, and Ginty takes the first solo on this followed by Castiglia emphasizing the lower end of his guitar’s range. Sometimes You Win represents a change of pace with him on acoustic guitar as he spins a bit of home-grown philosophy in the lyrics, followed by screaming slide on Public Enemy #9, as he sings about being busted in no man’s land with a beer in his hand.
Sandy Mack adds harmonica to Paul Butterfield’s Lovin’ Cup, a performance that (to this listener) might have benefited from a bit more relaxed tempo and more measured playing. In contrast, the frenzied playing and tempo changes of his original guitar showcase, Fat Cat, seems more realized. I Want her For Myself is a nice acoustic blues with Mack’s harmonic complimenting his solid blues boogie guitar groove. The longest track is a cover of Walking the Backstreets, that most will know from Little Milton’s recording. In addition to a steady vocal, there is plenty of musical heat but also the backing and his playing let the music breathe. Amsel and Kelly display how steady and capable a rhythm section they are here. Castiglia picks up the acoustic guitar for a very engaging rendition of Shakey Jake’s Call Me If You Need Me, before the album closes with a heavy blues-rock rendition of Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm.
Albert Castiglia is an exceptional guitarist and steady singer who is backed by an excellent band with a fine rhythm section and while Living The Dream will have the most immediate appeal to fans of high energy rocking blues, but there is much that those of us with a more traditional musical bent can enjoy. http://inabluemood.blogspot.com/2012/09/albert-castiglia-is-living-dream.html
Like others of his generation, South Florida's Albert Castigila -- that's pronounced ka-steel-ya -- plays cranked-up modern guitar blues in the inescapable shadow of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Though he does it better than most, what makes him distinctive is the strong material and overall intelligence of his approach. Castigilia aspires to be more than just another loud, partying blues rocker in the blustering fashion that can cause more informed listeners to wonder if actual blues has lost its way or is maybe dead in all but lurching bombast. Fully versed in blues history -- he concludes this set with the pre-blues Mississippi prison song "Parchman Farm" (whatever the credits say, Mose Allison didn't write it) -- Castigilia adroitly avoids the traps, even in the full-tilt moments, which happily aren't all of them.
Unlike most of his contemporaries, Castigilia sometimes picks up an acoustic guitar and performs material in a contemporary iteration of folk-blues (Graham Wood Drout's "Sometimes You Win," the original "I Want Her for Myself"), adhering to the model set by Bob Dylan, who I'm sure would approve. Castigilia also is graced with wit and a social conscience, expressed in the above-mentioned Drout composition and in his own ascerbic "The Man," a fierce critique of America's growing economic inequality and attendant corruption of the elites.
Call it blues with all the necessary chops and a working brain besides, and you've got something worth paying attention to on Living the Dream (and for that matter his Keepin On, which I reviewed in this space on 4 September 2010).
Former Junior Wells bandleader Albert Castiglia continues to knock listeners’ socks off with his incredible guitar work and his continuing development as a songwriter with his latest Blue Leaf Records release, Living the Dream. Consisting of 12 songs, five written by Castiglia, this is a masterful set of blues that is sure to please longtime fans and impress newcomers.
To get the picture of Castiglia’s prowess as a guitarist, you really need to look at two cuts. The scorching Freddie King instrumental, “Freddie’s Boogie,” which is really a nearly five-minute free-for-all between Castiglia and keyboardist John Ginty, is one extreme. The opposite end is the nine-minute epic version of the blues standard, “Walk the Backstreets.” He can rock the house when needed, but can also bring it down to a slow burn when required.
That doesn’t mean you should disregard the rest of the disc. Castiglia’s originals include the winning title cut that opens the disc, one dealing with modern subject matter (“The Man”), a blazing instrumental (“Fat Cat”), an old school blues rocker (“Public Enemy #9), and “I Want Her For Myself.” The other covers are also well done, particularly Little Richard’s “Directly From My Heart To You,” Paul Butterfield’s “Lovin’ Cup,” Shakey Jake’s “Call Me When You Need Me” (a solo acoustic track), and a electrifying version of Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm “ that closes the disc in excellent fashion.
In addition to Castiglia’s regular rhythm section (Bob Amsel – drums, A. J. Kelly – bass), Castiglia gets support from Ginty (piano, B3), Sandy Mack (harmonica), Juke Joint Jonny Rizzo (acoustic guitar), and Emedin Rivera (percussion). However, they give Castiglia plenty of room to nearly set fire to his strings on most of these songs with blistering solo after solo.
Living the Dream is another fine additon to Albert Castiglia’s catalog. If you’re a fan of modern blues guitar done well, look no further than this release.
http://blog.bluespowr.com/2012/08/09/springearly-summer-can-really-hang-you-up-the-most-quick-takes-newish-music-from-johnny-rawls-albert-castiglia-liz-mandeville-and-the-nighthawks.aspx Albert Castiglia, Living the Dream (Blues Leaf Records) As tempted as we were to limit our review of Albert Castiglia's latest album Living the Dream to just three words - "Walk the Backstreets," which is the only track you'll need to hear to realize this is yet another good one from the all-too-underrecognized Castiglia, we knew that wouldn't do justice to the many other fine tracks on this project, from the catchy opening title track and rollicking instrumentals "Freddie's Boogie" (Freddie King) and Castiglia's own "Fat Cat" to the swaying, keyboard-infused ballad "Directly from My Heart to You" (Little Richard) to the rocking closer in Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm." A former band leader, guitarist and singer for the great Junior Wells, Castiglia has long had a knack of combining soulful, often country-tinged, vocals reminiscent of Van Morrison and Jimmy Buffett with fiery blues guitar riffs and solos, not to mention the clever lyrics you'll hear on such songs as "The Man" ("Oil man came from across the sea, spilling pain and misery/ One year later, without a word, five dollars a gallon and giving me the bird"), one of five songs on the album penned by Castiglia. In addition to the nine-minute, simmering, down-the-alley blues of Little Milton's "Walk the Backstreets" (Sandy Jones) - which probably should come with some kind of warning that it could lead listeners to hit the replay button time and again, you'll also want to be sure to check out "Sometimes You Win" with its quieter, Led Zeppelin-sounding guitar solo and Castiglia's take on Paul Butterfield's "Lovin Cup," featuring some blistering guitar work from Castiglia as well as harmonica from Sandy Mack.
On his sixth solo album, Albert Castiglia celebrates making a living doing what he loves: playing high-energy music for a devoted fanbase, mainly up and down the East Coast but also into the heartland. Several things set the guitarist apart, and the new record highlights these well. Unlike many of today’s purveyors of the blues, Castiglia remains tasteful, whether belting out a rocker like the self-penned title track or a slower cover of the Little Richard ditty “Directly From My Heart To You.” The record includes five Castiglia originals and a bevy of covers mixing up the tempo throughout the musical sequence and offering a couple of acoustic tunes for color. He is an accomplished slide guitarist, but may be most at home at the riffing and soloing that is expected. For a fretmeister, one of the hardest things is holding back from playing too many notes and whether playing a Strat or Les Paul, both of which are featured prominently on the new record, Castiglia manages to get the right notes in the right place. Nowhere is this more evident than his cover of the master of tasteful soloing, Freddie King’s “Freddie’s Boogie.” Phrasing is Castiglia’s specialty, and he leaves plenty of gaps for the notes to breathe. Driving the guitar through his own signature Olinger amps, this record is a visit to tone town and finds Castiglia living the dream – that is, making a living playing music and entertaining fans. – Eric C. Shoaf