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The Essential Tommy Castro

Album: The Essential Tommy Castro
# Song Title   Time
1)    Can't Keep a Good Man Down
2)    Exception to the Rule
3)    Lucky in Love
4)    Girl Can't Help It, The
5)    Just a Man
6)    Had Enough
7)    Nasty Habits
8)    Sho' Enough
9)    Take the Highway Down
10)    Right as Rain
11)    Hycodan
12)    Nobody Loves Me Like Me Like My Baby - (previously unreleased)
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • This is an enhanced audio CD, which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
  • Personnel: Tommy Castro (vocals, guitar); Keith Crossan (saxophone, background vocals); Tom Poole (trumpet); Austin DeLone, Jimmy Pugh (piano, organ); John Turk (piano); Stu Blank (organ); Randy McDonald (bass, background vocals); Billy Lee Lewis, Shad Harris (drums, background vocals);
  • Jeanie Tracy, Annie Stocking (background vocals).
  • Compilation producers: Edward Chmelewski, Jerry Del Giudice.
  • Includes liner notes by Joseph Jordan.
  • Personnel: Tommy Castro (vocals, guitar); Keith Crossan (saxophone, background vocals); Tom Poole (trumpet); Jimmy Pugh, Austin DeLone (piano, organ); John Turk (piano, background vocals); Stu Blank (organ); Shad Harris, Billie Lee Lewis (drums, background vocals); Annie Stocking, Jeanie Tracy, Ron E. Beck, Charles Jones (background vocals).
  • Blind Pig closes out their four-album Tommy Castro association with this adequate collection of his recorded highlights for the San Francisco-based label. Not the best guitar slinger in town, Castro compensates by writing tunes that mix good-time soul, R&B, funk, and roots rock together with blues to produce a swampy, wholly satisfying mix that goes down easy. Songs like "Right as Rain," "Can't Keep a Good Man Down," and "Lucky in Love" crackle with Chuck Berry by way of the Stones' basic rock & roll simplicity. However, this compilation seemed to be rushed out in 2001 in order to compete with Castro's Guilty of Love album of new material for another label, and it shows. There is no indication of which release the songs originate from in the skimpy notes, and Castro had no say in choosing the tracks. The 50-minute playing time is too brief for an artist with a four-CD catalog, and even though the enhanced concert CD-ROM video for "Nobody Loves Me Like My Baby" is a welcome addition and gives a visceral demonstration of how tough the band rocks live, it's also duplicated as an audio only selection on the disc. Regardless, the music holds up as rugged, bluesy rock with strong connections to Memphis soul with the Stax-styled ballad "Just a Man" and James Brown funk in "Nasty Habits" tempering the Stevie Ray Vaughn-isms of Castro's meat-and-potatoes playing. He also boasts a distinctly gritty voice that works perfectly with his original material and the previously unavailable version of Little Richard's "The Girl Can't Help It," added here as one of two unreleased tracks. As it is, The Essential is a satisfactory collection for those who want a taste of the Castro experience, but one that could -- and should -- have been a lot better. ~ Hal Horowitz
Professional Reviews
Living Blues (11-12/01, p.82) - "...A fine introduction..."
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