By now, people and blues fans alike, should be familiar with Tommy Castro. With four previous records behind him on Blind Pig, we are presented with an overall perspective on number five: "The Essential." This disc highlights eleven tracks of his personal best from each recording, including a killer bonus track (twelve): "Nobody Loves Me Like My Baby," a previously unreleased diamond! Also, included, a bonus video track of Tommy performing the above track. The CD is specially priced which is a bonus in itself, but more importantly; the music or guts of the mix is what it's all about. Check out the list: Can't Keep A Good Man Down, Exception To The Rule, Lucky In Love, The Girl Can't Help Me, Just A Man, Had Enough, Nasty Enough, Sho' Enough, Take The Highway Down, Right As Rain, and Hycodan. Many of these songs have crossed over into the charts of well respected DJ's across the country, and Europe as well. On a disc of this caliber, it's very difficult to pick out the favs-they are all so damn fine. How can you go wrong with songs such as the opening track: Can't Keep A Good man Down, or Right As Rain (track #10)? Tommy's sound is laced with funk, soul, blues, and rock riffs that work. He prefers playing a Fender Strat, and the Muddy Waters philosophy of showcasing the band as a whole. If you're strapped for cash, this is a good place to begin-it's all Tommy-at his best!
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.