Tommy Castro Right As Rain

This is kick ass, R&B-laced blues-rock that covers a lot of ground. Castro's guitar influences include BB and Albert King, T-Bone Walker and Jimmy Reed, but he grew up on a diet of blues-tinged Memphis soul — Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Ray Charles. This is Castro's secret weapon. His clear, soulful tenor (a dead ringer for Delbert McClinton, who duets on one track, oddly enough), coupled with his lethal, ear-shredding guitar tones, a one-man tenor sax powerhouse, and a skin tight rhythm section, make for an bracing set of songs with the power to make your backbone slip, if not dislocate it altogether. Castro utilises great restraint on each number, seemingly unwilling to steal centre stage, as he surely could, with his blistering brand of greasy solos. All that's lacking on this record is more of Castro's stinging leads. This is clearly a team effort, and it's laid down so tightly that it's impossible to listen without some serious foot-tapping. Castro's originals generate more heat than the classics he seems prone to cover, but this record is true to the rhythmic form, and guaranteed to put a froth on your beer and some heart into your nightlife. (Blind Pig)