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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ruf Records artist: Albert Castiglia - Big Dog - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Big Dog, from Albert Castiglia and it's voracious. Opening with Let The Big Dog Eat, Castiglia bursts into flames right out of the chute. With aggressive vocals and powerful guitar work, Castiglia picks up where he left off on his last release, Solid Ground .
Backed by Mike Zito on guitars, Scot Sutherland on bass, Rob Lee on drums and Lewis Stephens on keys, this is a terrific opener. Rolling blues, Don't Let Them Fool Ya has a real solid bass line and stinging guitar answer. This track has a bit of a loose vocal delivery and the guitar exchange between Zito and Castiglia puts me in mind a lot of Elvin Bishop attitude. Excellent! Shuffle track, Get Your Ass In The Van has the Elmore James/Hound Dog Taylor slide feel and Castiglia really rocks it. One of my favorite tracks on the release this track is smokin'! Slow and deliberate, Drowning At The Bottom, is a terrific blues track with excellent trem bends and soulful vocals. Castigli lays down some really expressive guitar lead here so heads up! Easing up on the pace, Let's Make Love In The Morning, would be an easy radio sell with simple, fluid, guitar lead and a cool melodic hook. Two stepper, What I Like About Miami, has cool vocal harmonies with alt country rock style guitar riffs. Easy Distance has a light funk bottom and Sutherland's bass work is hot! Castiglia is really comfortable at vocal on this type of track and with Stephens pushing a nice organ line. Castiglia's guitar work is crisp and nasty. Chicago style blues number, Where Did I Go Wrong, is another of my favorite tracks on the release with loose, gritty vocals and hot harp work from Johnny Sansone. Foot stomper, Where The Devil Makes His Deals, is really driven by Lee's kick drum and iced by Sansone on harp. Castiglia and Zito drive to a fever pitch on guitar but keep it contained under 4 minutes. Boogie woogie track, What The Hell Was I Thinking has a bit of rock n roll with Stephens on piano and a taste of country for a good mover. Really cool double stopped guitar lines and a solid bottom give this track just the right zip. Wrapping the release is R&B ballad, Somehow and Castiglia shows a more serious side of his vocal vocabulary. A hopeful track and a solid closer for a real strong release.

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