Get this crazy baby off my head!


Tommy Castro

Tommy Castro - The Essential Tommy Castro - 2001 - Blind Pig

A terrific, twelve track compilation of Tommy Castro’s fan favorites, including two tracks not previously available on CD, and video footage viewable on CD-ROM. (Video not available on this post). This album proves why Tommy Castro and his brilliant band have a legion of worldwide fans and continually receive great music reviews. You will find Tommy's "Can't Keep A Good Man Down" album @ TOCA/CKAGMD The Tommy Castro, Johnny Nitro, Kevin Russell "San Francisco Blues Guitar Summit - Volume 3" album can be found @ TOCA/KEVRUS/JONNIT/SFBGS/V£ Tommy Castro's brilliant "No Foolin' " album is @ TOCA/NOFLN and his great "Exception To The Rule" album can be located @ TOCA/E2TR


1 Can't Keep a Good Man Down - Tommy Castro
2 Exception to the Rule - Tommy Castro, & Shad Harris
3 Lucky in Love - Tommy Castro, & Billie Lee Lewis
4 The Girl Can't Help It - Bobby Troup
5 Just a Man - Tommy Castro
6 Had Enough- Tommy Castro
7 Nasty Habits - Tommy Castro
8 Sho' Enough - Tommy Castro
9 Take the Highway Down - Tommy Castro
10 Right as Rain - Tommy Castro
11 Hycodan - Keith Crossan
12 Nobody Loves Me Like Me Like My Baby - Tommy Castro


Tommy Castro (Guitar), (Vocals)
Randy McDonald - Bass
Jimmy Pugh, Austin DeLone (Organ), (Piano)
Stu Blank (Organ)
John Turk (Piano)
Shad Harris, Billie Lee Lewis (Drums)
Keith Crossan (Saxophone)
Tom Poole (Trumpet)
Cheryl Serame, L.Z. Love, Roosevelt Winchester, Randy McDonald , John Turk, Annie Stocking, Keith Crossan, Jeanie Tracy, Billie Lee Lewis, Shad Harris. Ron E. Beck, Charles Jones (Vocals Background)


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, All Music Guide

Tommy Castro's rise has been stunning. While obviously a skilled, soulful guitarist and talented songwriter, Castro morphed in less than a decade from blues-bar obscurity to nationally known blues-rock guitarist and mainstay on B.B. King's yearly summer tour--all without garnering the dreaded "next Stevie Ray Vaughan" moniker. Not that Castro was aiming for that. His sound is more Memphis than Texas, with a West Coast bent. The Essential Tommy Castro is a summary of his first four albums, all for Bay Area blues label Blind Pig, and it works as an ideal introduction to Castro's style. There's something for the collectors, too: a previously unreleased live recording of "Nobody Loves Me Like My Baby." There's also a highly entertaining rendition of "The Girl Can't Help It," which is very nearly worth the price of admission. Accessible without being boring, inspired without being flashy, Castro's work is good fellowship given musical voice. © Genevieve Williams, © amazon.com


b. San Jose, California, USA. Castro and his music sit squarely at the centre of an evolving tradition of rock and blues. His early heroes were Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield and the Rolling Stones, which led him further back to the music of Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. All these artists - and more - have influenced Castro in his own writing, singing and guitar playing. Castro spent many years playing with bands in the San Francisco Bay Area, and toured for two years with the Dynatones. He formed the Tommy Castro Band in 1991, which was named Club Band Of The Year for the Bay Area in 1993, and again in 1994. Regular band members have included Randy MacDonald (bass/vocals), Keith Crossan (saxophone/vocals), Billy Lee Lewis (drums/vocals), and Chris Sandoval (drums/percussion). Castro consolidated the band's success by recording Exception To The Rule, his debut album on Blind Pig Records in 1995 (the 1993 release No Foolin' had appeared on the tiny Saloon label). The band continued to record with Blind Pig over several albums - Can't Keep A Good Man Down, Right As Rain, Live At The Fillmore, and The Essential Tommy Castro, a greatest hits collection. Overall the songs followed an upbeat, blue-collar tone, full of horns and machismo. Contrasting soulful numbers included "Just A Man" on Right As Rain. In 2001 the Tommy Castro Band moved over to 33rd Street Records for Guilty Of Love and then to Heart And Soul for 2003's Gratitude, a cover album of Castro's greatest heroes. Castro earned praise and respect from many of his idols, even getting the opportunity to play with them, opening for B.B. King on tour in 2001 and 2002. His band's music gained mainstream appeal through being featured in US network television programmes, and through a residency as the house band for NBC-TV's Comedy Showcase. The eclectic flavour of 2005's Soul Shaker, marking his return to Blind Pig, featured more original compositions from Castro, who wrote or co-wrote all the tracks. Although horns and guitars still dominated, the fusion was more varied. Notable tracks included the wistful "Anytime Soon" and "The Crossanova", characterised by Crossan's funky flute. © IPC MEDIA 1996-2009, All rights reserved


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


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