Get this crazy baby off my head!


Tommy Castro

Tommy Castro - Exception To The Rule - 1995 - Blind Pig

Musician (6/96, p.90) - "...If the various music channels would get off their ass and do a regularly scheduled blues hour with actual blues artists--Castro could be a star..."

"Exception to the Rule" received some brilliamt reviews on it's release, from many eminent music critics and magazines, and deservedly so. The influential "Blues Review" had this to say, - "Castro's energy and charisma leap right out of each and every one of the cuts on the album. Castro's clearly got the goods and knows how to use them. All in all, this album does justice to a gifted performer." Musician Magazine said "Castro could be a star." and Guitar magazine stated, "It's straightforward, grooving blues that'll get your feet moving." The radio industry's Gavin Report remarked that "Castro has etched one of those rare blues records that rises above the usual clichés of the genre. Castro is the awesome exception to the blues rule....the next blues rock hero." Billboard said, "Castro combines the earthy soulfulness of Albert Collins and B.B. King with the polish of Robert Cray." Extremely high praise and the album has earned it. "Exception To The Rule" is an outstanding album of rock, blues and Memphis soul from a hugely talented bluesman and his band, and is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Tommy Castro is up there with the greats, but many people haven't realised it yet ! The legendary Carlos Santana had this to say about Tommy Castro, - "The blues is in good hands. When someone has the right intentions, with sincerity, you can never go wrong. This is the person who has the voice, the sound, and the intentions, to touch everybody's heart."Buy his brilliant "Can't Keep A Good Man Down" album, and listen to his "Painkiller" album which is a work of genius.


1 Had Enough Castro 4:53
2 Exception to the Rule Castro, Harris 3:27
3 Nasty Habits Castro 3:59
4 This Soul Is Mine Castro, Gilbert 3:41
5 Sho' Enough Castro 3:58
6 Me and My Guitar Blackwell, Russell 4:26
7 Hard Luck Case Crossan 2:58
8 How Long Must I Cry Castro 6:28
9 Leave This Town Castro, McDonald 4:24
10 Can't Quit the Blues Guy 4:26


Tommy Castro Guitar, Vocals
Ralph McDonald, Randy McDonald Guitar (Bass), Vocals (bckgr)
Austin DeLone Organ, Piano
Stu Blank, Jimmy Pugh Organ
Shad Harris Drums, Vocals (bckgr)
Keith Crossan Sax (Baritone), Sax (Tenor), Vocals (bckgr), Horn Arrangements
Tom Poole Trumpet
Terry Russell Trombone
Tim Hyland Horn Arrangements


According to all the press and hype and hoopla, Tommy Castro is pegged as the next big star of the blues. Long a favorite among Bay Area music fans, Castro — in the space of two album releases — has taken his music around the world and back again with a sheaf of praise from critics and old-time blues musicians alike. His music is a combination of soul-inflected rockers with the occasional slow blues or shuffle thrown into the mix to keep it honest. His vocals are laid-back and always a hair behind the beat, while his scorching guitar tone is Stevie Ray Stratocaster-approved. Crossover success does not seem out of the question. Born and raised in San Jose, CA, Castro started playing guitar at the tender age of ten. Initially inspired by Mike Bloomfield, Eric Clapton, and Elvin Bishop, he started the inevitable journey into the roots of his heroes and discovered and quickly became enamored of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Freddie King. His vocal styling came from constant listening to Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, and Otis Redding. After playing with numerous Bay Area groups honing his chops, he landed a gig playing guitar for the San Francisco band the Dynatones, who were then signed to Warner Brothers. The two-year stint augured well for Castro, playing to the biggest crowds he had seen up to that point and backing artists as diverse as Carla Thomas and Albert King. Returning to San Francisco, Castro formed his own group and in 1993 released his first self-produced album, No Foolin', on the dime-sized Saloon label. That same year also saw him winning the Bay Area Music Award for Best Club Band, an honor he duplicated the following year. Working as the house band on NBC's Comedy Showcase, airing after Saturday Night Live, only boosted his visibility and name value. In 1997, he won Bammies for Outstanding Blues Musician and for Outstanding Blues Album for his debut release on Blind Pig Records, Exception to the Rule. Also in 1997 Castro and his band began a three-year stint working as the house band on NBC's Comedy Showcase, which aired after Saturday Night Live. Live at the Fillmore was released in early 2000, and with everyone from industry insiders to B.B. King singing his praises, Castro appeared to be headed for bigger and better things. It was not to be, however, as in 2001 he left Blind Pig Records and recorded Guilty of Love for the small 33rd Street label. Blind Pig closed the books on their association with Castro in 2002 by releasing the career retrospective The Essential Tommy Castro. Gratitude appeared from Heart and Soul in 2003, followed by Triple Trouble (with Jimmy Hall and Lloyd Jones) later that same year from Telarc. 2005 saw Castro return to the Blind Pig label for the release of Soul Shaker, followed by Painkiller in 2007. © Cub Koda, allmusic.com