Tommy Castro – Soul Shaker

Soul Shaker

It’s time to give Tommy Castro his due. And with this new record, he might actually get it. For years, he has played the blues circuit, doing his thing – singing about as well as anybody, playing guitar forcefully and soulfully, and being the ultimate showman. He has released fine records in the process. This one seems to have a little more soul influence. And that’s a good thing.

Very few voices in the music industry can do this style of music this well. The Southern soul of “Anytime Soon” is a vehicle for Castro’s voice. His rhythm guitar helps set the pace for that one. Same for the uptempo “What You Gonna Do Now?.” Throw in a solo full of double-stops and chord work, and you’ve got a winner. The boogie-soul mix and pull-offs on “Take Me Off the Road” match the urgency of the lyric. Funk takes over on “Big Love” with a blistering, in-your-face wah solo. The title cut is exactly what it says. It also gets a push from the slide guitar of Roy Rogers. All of these tunes were written or co-written by Castro. All are driven by his guitar, his voice, and some nice horn charts.

I’ve always enjoyed Castro’s material and his pure command of this style of music. In a perfect world, this album would break a very talented artist. If you’re unfamiliar with Castro, check this one out. Then move backwards through the catalog. The reward will be well worth the effort.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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