A young Bay Area guitarist-vocalist, Castro, 45, plays blues-rock that falls right smack into the "party" category. This is the band you hope to luck into at some at-of-the-way roadhouse on a Saturday night.
Long a favorite live band in the San Francisco area for his Johnny Winteresque guitar style, Castro's high-energy sound doesn't lose much in the studio. He has a husky, punchy vocal style and a fiery, straight-ahead way with a guitar.
His small band (Keith Crossan, sax; Randy McDonald, bass; Billy Lee Lewis, drums) plays hard and usually fast. Castro writes or co-writes most of the material, and though it isn't blindingly original, it certainly suits his style.
The producer's (Jim Gaines) touch is evident on "Right as Rain." There are a couple of slow, deep ones, like Johnny Taylor's "I've Got to Love Somebody's Baby," but Castro mostly goes for a crossover sound mixed with some Memphis-style soul, with perhaps the potential to achieve both.
Much of "Right as Rain" is repetitive and the comments in his press kit about "calling to mind great blues-rock players such as Billy Gibbons…Stevie Ray Vaughan and even Duane Allman" seems way over the top to this writer's ears and is, perhaps, reaching for it a little bit.
Highlights include "If I Had a Nickel," which finds Castro phrasing a nice guitar solo midway through the track, the soulful "My Kind of Woman" and the tender "Just a Man."
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.