Albert Castiglia is a Florida blues guy who sort of started out at the top, playing lead guitar with the Junior Wells band from 1996 to Wells' death in 1998. Although he did play with a local blues band in Miami in the early '90s. He makes Fort Lauderdale his base now.
Since then, he's been performing and recording regularly, with his latest CD, "Living the Dream" (Blues Leaf Records) our subject for today.
Castiglia plays a mean guitar, writes interesting lyrics, and isn't afraid to move around blues styles, which he does easily.
He can lean into a tough blues rocker, like the title track that actually opens the album. It's lean and fierce; with an energetic solo midway. Then there's "The Man," with a bit of Latin flair, but lyrically aimed at the heart of current economic issues -- "...break out the buckets and bust out the pans, we're all doin' cleanup for the man."
Castiglia has written or co-written five of the tracks here, including the two already mentioned. But he pulls some fine music from some covers that are worth covering, like Freddie King's "Freddie's Boogie," and one of the my favorite cuts, a very unusual cover of "Directly From Heart to You," an old doo-woppy kind of thing written by Himself, Little Richard, who recorded it with the Johnny Otis band.
Another favorite thing here is Albert's facility with three fine acoustic blues, the mournful "Sometimes You Win," a shuffling original "I Want Her For Myself" and the very bluesy "Call Me When You Need Me." An album full of this kind of material might be an interesting idea.
There's also a very stinging and torchy "Walk the Backstreets," in a classic blues framework, crying over classic blues heartbreak. The set closes with another unusual choice, a driving version of Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm."
I've seen Castiglia a couple of times, and heard some of his earlier albums. He seems to be getting better and better, especially with his musical choices and original work here.
Here's a video of "Directly From My Heart to You" (the keyboards on the CD make for a better cut):
Here's the Little Richard version, one of my all-time LR faves: