Album Reviews

Albert Castiglia

Up All Night

Artist:     Albert Castiglia

Album:     Up All Night

Label:     Ruf

Release Date:     10.6.2017

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This builds on the success of Castiglia’s 2016 release, Big Dog. Once again, Castiglia’s good friend, Mike Zito, produced and lent his axe and vocals. Cyril Neville co-wrote a track, harmonicist Johnny Sansone jumped aboard for a guest spot, keyboardist Lewis Stephens joined in, and Castiglia has delivered tunes written by his buddies, Graham Wood Drought and Zito as well as a few covers. Just three of the 11 tunes are Castiglia originals. The differences this time out are: Castiglia is now fronting his own power trio with Jimmy Pritchard on bass and Brian Menendez on drums, Sonny Landreth guests on “95 South,” and, mostly, the music ratchets up from its predecessor’s blistering level. That’s right. This is heavy stuff.

Hunkering down once again at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA, a place that is now home turf for Castiglia, the band fired away and cut ten songs in one day. Even the song titles give clues to the straight-ahead, no nonsense approach. Both musically and lyrically it’s about as raw and direct as one can get, as evidenced by “Quit Your Bitching” and “Chase Her Around the House,” to mention just two. Castiglia summed up his pride in the recording this way, “You’ll rock out and dance like nobody’s watching. If you’re sad, this record will lift you up. If you’re already happy, this album will make you happier. You can listen to this album anywhere anytime…”

Purists be damned. This fire burns at the intersection of blues and rock, with expressive vocals and incendiary fretwork and its barely controlled inferno shows little sign of abating until the closing acoustic tune “You Got Me to That Place” —although “Quit Your Bitching” is a slow blues burner. The album kicks off with the bass heavy, stinging “Hoodoo on Me” into the wah-wah driven title track. “Three-Legged Dog” carries a garage band vibe and “Knocked Out Loaded” uses call and response. “Unhappy House of the Blues” is the Neville co-write that features Sansone on harp.

It seems as if Zito infused into these sessions that carefree, no-holds-barred approach from his last album, Make Love Not War. That approach, combined with Castiglia’s sheer joy of playing with his own Cream-like power trio, make for an all-out sonic assault. It’s already loud before you even consider dialing that knob up.

—Jim Hynes

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