Whoa-ho-ho! I was gonna ask "Where in hell did this cat saunter in from?", but the promo lit informs me he was the band leader for Junior Wells and, man, Junior picked a winner in this guy, I'm tellin' ya. From the very first song, the title cut, Living the Dream, with it's sprightly high strung chicken pickin' chords and burning solos that'll make Kubek, Ellis, and others sit up wide-eyed, Albert Castiglia has you just where he wants ya.
I'd say this is great bouncy energetic blues, but Castiglia's fiery fingers yank all that up another notch. He sings a heartfelt tune as well, but, hoo boy, them solos and those insistent chords! The basic band's a trio but when John Ginty sits in on organ, as in Freddie's Boogie, gas gets tossed on the blaze. He really packs it in tight with Albert, tracing the guy like a hound dog straining at the leash, prey in sight. And Al, well, he just goes nuts. You can guess how it comes off on the CD. My damn amplifier was smokin', especially after the unique heavy slant on Parchman Farm, a cut that'll make the Cactus boys jump.
About half the cuts here are penned or co-written by Castiglia, but when he pockets someone else's stuff, he makes it his own, as in Little Richard's Directly from my Heart to You, Ginty again sliding in for some righteous piano before Albert takes his solo and bends the floorboards. Ah, but catch him in the 9-minute version of Sandy Jones Jr.'s Walk the Backstreets and even Robin Trower's and Roy Buchanan's mouths will water (Roy's, of course, from the Great Beyond, where he's now jamming with the pantheon). So, no, I wouldn't say this guy's Living the Dream…I'd say he's constructing it from the ground up, and he's got one hell of a lot of heart invested in it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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