Tommy Castro – “Hard Believer”
Alligator Records
-due out Aug. 11

My title means no offense to Mr. Castro, but in defense of it, a title’s got to be nimble, catchy, and good to grab your attention. While I purport to none of these, Castro’s eleventh album is all of these and more: his soulful album here does credit to blues jam with hard-knock vocals and lush big-band orchestration. Try out the well-paced opener, “Definition of Insanity,” and his cover of Dylan, “Gotta Serve Somebody”; if you don’t see yourself sipping Southern Comfort at a worn barstool under the spell of the band onstage, then just enjoy “Gotta Serve’s” bass funk and soul-styled chorus. And if those don’t float your boat, the keyboard boogie to “Monkey’s Paradise” ought to; if not, then maybe you weren’t meant to get the blues. Strong enough for the fan or curious listener; recommended.

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