Tommy Castro is one of the good guys, an artist who refuses to let his blues become a clich or an antique. On Soul Shaker, Castro finds those deep, driving Southern soul grooves that have been making Delbert McClinton a good living for 30 years. Written with some of the best left-of-center writers around Kevin Bowe, Gary Nicholson and even old Delbert himself the album combines down-in-the-alley, cigarette-pack-rolled-up-in-a-T-shirt-sleeve lyrics with huge beats and horn sections that would do Stax proud. "Anytime Soon" proves Castro has spent his time woodshedding with Otis Redding records, and "Let's Give Love a Try" is a butt-shaker that sounds like what Bob Seger might've done had he either kept his eye on the prize or at least done a duo with McClinton. Meanwhile, "The Next Right Thing" is a down-on-my-knees testimony that resonates with the holy blues lessons of the Reverend Al Green. Soul Shaker is no warmed-over Stevie Ray wannabe exercise this is Friday-night music, the thing you put on after the lights go down, with the liquor flowing, the silk stockings on the floor and all your inhibitions tucked away in the chifforobe.
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