Over the years I have reviewed an incredible number of excellent blues and blues/rock recordings. Those of you who have been with us for many years (and we thank you!) know how much I particularly love great live recordings. I especially love them when they are more raw and less over produced, as I find the energy and passion which comes from a great live recording really cannot be duplicated in the studio, though over the years I have nearly been proven wrong about that a number of times.

Enter “Wild And Free”, an incredible live recording and the latest release from the south Florida based blues/rock guitarist giant Albert Castiglia. This recording is so over the top powerful, so wonderfully full of raw energy, and just so delightfully raucous that perhaps it should have been more properly titled “Albert Castiglia-Live at Krakatau 1883”. Like the 4 massive explosions that reduced the Indonesian island to volcanic ash on August 27, 1883, “Wild And Free” is full of similar and such massive energy. Listening to this CD during coronavirus quaranteen has left me physically and emotionally drained with one notable side effect: the overwhelming desire to push the repeat button a few dozen more times. Castiglia and Band, whose fans have long lobbied for a live recording, surely will not be disappointed with this jewel. Castiglia and Company are joined on this set by Mike Zito, John Ginty, and Lewis Stephens, the final two guests adding very tasteful keys to the set. Mr. Zito, of course, is a most welcome pyroclastic flow to any blues/rock musical explosion. However the regular Albert Castiglia Band featuring Albert Castiglia on lead guitar and vocals, Ephraim Lowell on drums, and a most enjoyable Justine Tompkins on bass guitar are truly a great core by themselves.

The music is Billy Gibbons hard driving, Walter Trout intense, Lonnie Mack emotion filled, and of course flavored by many of the blues greats of the past. I did not hear a tune I did not thoroughly enjoy but if I had to pick favorites I would point you to “Get Your Ass In The Van” and “Too Much Seconal” which is somehow Lonnie Mack-ish to me. But realistically I could have pointed you anywhere on the CD for a great AC fix. Even the last song on the set, the instrumental “Boogie Funk” is molten, no cheap filler anywhere to be seen (or heard). The material is mostly mid and up tempo to accommodate the intensity of Castiglia’s enormous chops. I wish I would have been in the audience the night this was recorded (at the Funky Biscuit at Boca Raton, FL not actually Krakatau). But, as with any truly great live recording, you will feel like you were really there after hearing this.

I have read that the pressure wave created by the third and most massive of the 4 explosions on Krakatau in 1883 was so catastrophic that for the next 5 days some measuring stations across the world measured it 7 different times. This indicated that the sound was so incredibly powerful that it traveled 3.5 times around the world. In like manner I hope that the music within “Albert Castiglia-Wild And Free” will pass around the earth more times than that for you true guitar junkies to enjoy.

Be sure to visit with Albert online and purchase this great live set at his official web home www.albertcastiglia.net . “Albert Castiglia-Wild And Free” receives the coveted Bluesrock.reviews “I’d rather have this CD than a 24 pack of Charmin during a virus outbreak” award of excellence.

The Players:
Albert Castiglia-Lead Guitar and Vocals
Ephraim Lowell-Drums
Justine Tompkins-Bass guitar

The Tunes:
1. Big Dog
2. Hoodoo on Me
3. I Been Up All Night
4. Heavy
5. Get Your Ass in the Van
6. Searching the Desert for the Blues
7. Keep on Swinging
8. Too Much Seconal
9. Loving Cup
10. I Tried to Tell Ya
11. Boogie Funk

Review copyright 2020 www.bluesrock.reviews


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