This disc, Tommy Castro's brainchild, is partially an album of his, as he is on quite a bit of it, however it also brings together a number of other artists and friends, not just restricted to Alligator artists, in a live setting. There are two Legendary Blues Cruises each year; one does the Pacific Ocean in October, and the other is in the Atlantic in January/February. These increasingly popular music theme cruises provide a great place for artists that don't always get together to come together in a relaxed atmosphere, and get to play with each other in a party atmosphere over a several day. Of the several of these 'cruise discs' that have crossed this desk lately this one has some of the most incendiary playing on it, and definitely the best sound quality. Most of the artists here play with their own bands so this isn't so much a jamming disc as it could be, still with the quality of playing and sound there is little to quibble about.
There is some truly inspired playing here; Michael "Iron Man" Burks is one of those Alligator artists that doesn't have the name recognition of some of the others, however his guitar work is electrifying and his vocals are riveting. He absolutely explodes on a 10-plus minute version of his song Voodoo Spell. This is just one of the many highlights on this disc. Tommy Castro gives some of his finest vocals, showing a maturity in both vocal style and guitar style that wasn't expected, he had always seemed to play more to the loud speedy crowd, and now he is playing with such taste that it is often what he doesn't play that is as important as what he does. That growth alone was a great pleasure to see. However that is not all you will get because there are nonpareil performances all over the disc. Sister Monica does a version of her song, Never Say Never, that is sure to open your eyes to her talent, with Tommy C playing some tasteful lead guitar behind her. Then there is Janiva Magness, again with Tommy behind her, who shows why she is getting such good press, and that it is well deserved. Then there is the breakout band of the cruise, Trampled Under Foot, and you will be here much more from this band of two brothers and a sister. Look out for their disc when you are looking for this Alligator release.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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