Tommy Castro


Tommy Castro performs Tues., Oct. 30, at the Big Room.

Bay Area bluesman Tommy Castro and his band have thrilled a lot of people since his debut demo, 1993’s No Foolin’. With covers of B.B. King and Buddy Guy songs, it got a lot of attention and a contract with the Blind Pig label. And 1995’s Exception to the Rule flat smoked! Since then he and his band have earned numerous accolades and eventually toured with both King and Guy. On his eight subsequent albums he’s focused more on Memphis-style soul/blues and bluesy pop rock, and that’s what’s on offer here. Albert Collins’ “A Good Fool Is Hard to Find” is the only blues (nice assist from Coco Montoya!), while the rest hew closely to Castro’s successful formula. Keith Crossan’s tenor sax is paired with frequent guest Tom Poole’s trumpet with varying effect throughout, but they really cook on the uptempo “I’m Not Broken” (“I may be broke but I’m not broken.”). As tepid as I find the rest of this CD (why all the fade-outs?), I’ve got to say that seeing Castro in person is as exciting as ever. Those lucky devils with tickets to next Tuesday’s sold-out Big Room show featuring him and Ronnie Baker Brooks, Deanna Bogart and Magic Dick are in for a treat.