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Great playing, so-so songs

Exception to the Rule
Exception to the Rule
By Tommy Castro

Blind Pig Records: 1996

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This review first appeared in the April 26, 2996 issue of the North County Times.

San Francisco bluesman Tommy Castro's debut shows him as one of the best of the new crop of blues heroes. Castro is in the West coast school, like Rod Piazza or Junior Watson.

A solid singer, Castro's vocals remind of San Diego's Earl Thomas – combining soul and blues into an accessible, pop-oriented sound.

It's his guitar that sets him apart, though. Equal parts George Thorogood's energy and Robert Cray's polish, Castro's solos are scintillating.

But his songs (he wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks here) just aren't up to the level of his performance. They're all passable blues tunes, but there's little intricacy or imaginatino in them, certainly nothing to really push his abilities on guitar. He pushes himself out of pride and professionalism, but with better songs Castro could easily become a crossover star.