This frees up considerable room for both his singing -- which has matured over the years into an oddly engaging mix of white-boy soul, at its impassioned best falling somewhere between the bayou edge of John Fogerty (in his early Creedence days) and the balls-out wailing of Sammy Hagar (minus the leather-pants pretensions) -- and his songs. Sharing various compositional chores with bandmates Randy McDonald (bass), Keith Crossan (sax), and Billy Lee Lewis (drums), Castro's hip-shaking tunes "Lucky in Love," "My Kind of Woman," and "Callin' San Francisco" are fueled by tight, groove-conscious arrangements and a punchy horn section. Far from drown-in-your-beer balladry, this is fully energized music for blues fans who know how to rock out.
-- Sam Prestianni
Tommy Castro appears with Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums and Sy Klopps Blues Band on Saturday, March 6, at 9 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Tickets are $15; call 775-7722.