Albert Castiglia – I Got Love | Album Review

Albert Castiglia – I Got Love

Gulf Coast Records

11 tracks

The last two years have been a hard road to hoe for gigging musicians and Albert Castiglia has been hoeing that road. The pandemic put a crimp on many an artist’s cash flows and lifestyles. The darkness of the last two years followed by the eventual triumph that was heralded by the light at the ed of the tunnel are the inspiration for this album; it’s release is a cathartic act for Castiglia. A truly fine effort here by Castigla, he gives us ten great new cuts and an excellent cover to savor. Produced by Mike Zito and issued on his Gulf Coast Record label, Albert is touring with Zito as The Blood Brothers Tour this Spring to help promote this new release.

Supporting Castiglia are three fine musicians. Albert handles the guitar and lead vocals on all tracks. Justine Tompkins plays bass and backs up on vocals as does Ephraim Lowell who also plays drums. B3 and piano are played by Lewis Stephens. The quartet is tight and give outstanding performances from top to bottom.  If you want high energy, rocking blues, then look no further.

The title track “I Got Love” gets things kicked off. A rousing blues rocker, Castiglia does what he does best here – play damn good music. Castiglia lets loose with a big guitar solo that is sure to please.  Exuding positive energy, Albert gets off to a fantastic start here.  He follows that with “Don’t Pray With The Devil” with a bit of a funky groove going, a driving and cool beat. Castiglia howls out the vocals as he warns of falling in with the dark side. Bi, poignant licks abound here- Castiglia never takes any prisoners. Next is “Burning Bridges,” a song of break up and getting out of a bad relationship. Castiglia offers a solid performance once again as he sings and plays with a cool vibe. “Sanctuary” is next where Castiglia turns down the heat a bit as he sings that he’s found his sanctuary in his life’s partner. A restrained guitar solo adds to the piece nicely. “Double Down” follows, a slick and bouncing blues cut about people doubling down the lies they tell to cover the lies they previously told. Another sweet guitar solo is offered up here. The B3 accompaniment is solid throughout but it’s especially cool here. “Long Haul Daddy” is a driving and wailing cut with a massive guitar introduction. Traditional blues with an AAB format to the song, Castiglia lights things up with more outstanding ax work. The band plays into it with some response to Albert’s calls and it’s a fun cut from start to finish. Two big solos and some honkytonk piano make this even better.

Next up is “What’s Wrong With You?” where Castiglia asks his woman what the title says because she’s never satisfied no matter what good things he does for her. It’s got a sweet groove and Albert once again nails the solos. Chicago’s Melvin Taylor wrote the next cut, “Depression Blues.” He’s probably one of the most underappreciated artists in the Windy City, but Albert pays him some respect with this fine, funky cover. Castiglia lets it all loose as he solos, but he’s got some air and breathing room in his licks even when he tearing it up. “Freedomland” follows, a sarcastic song telling how we’re down for the count here in America (Freedomland). With all our riches many were hurt badly by the pandemic and Albert writes and sings about the struggle here. It is a vibrant and driving song with harsh vocals and strident guitar – really well-done. In “You Don’t Know Hell,” Castiglia sings about life today still being better than the not-so-good old days. He tells people they don’t know hell if they think this is bad.  Albert concludes with “Take My Name Out Of Your Mouth” is a slower, traditional Chicago blues that Castiglia delivers with emotion and feeling. More huge guitar solos abound as he tells people who just like to scream and shout to take his name out of their mouths before they talk badly about him.

I’ve been following Albert since the start of his career, and he never ceases to amaze me with the drive and energy he exudes in his music. He survived the Pandemic and he expresses that gratitude in his work here. From his early days at the feet of Junior Wells to his now well-established solo career, this Miami native and Blues Music award nominee raises the bar with each new release. I do not hesitate to recommend this CD to all blues fans – this is Albert Castiglia doing what he loves to do and doing what no one else can. Go get this CD now; you won’t regret it!

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