* Tommy Castro, Jimmy Hall, Lloyd Jones +
Reese Wynans, Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton
“The rules were simple: just bring your axe, a stack of your favorites, and producer Randy Labbe would supply the rest. What no one ever expected was how effortlessly these musicians would mesh together.” —Art Tipaldi (from the liner notes)
One of the most powerful crossroads in the blues tradition is the place where blues, R&B and soul come together. Put a heavy backbeat on the traditional blues structure and charge it with the emotional jolt of gospel music, and the result is something visceral and compelling. Look no further than the music of titans like Sam Cooke, James Brown and Al Green for proof.
Guitarists / vocalists Tommy Castro and Lloyd Jones and harpist / saxophonist / vocalist Jimmy Hall celebrate this fine tradition with the release of Triple Trouble, a collection of eleven tracks that indulges their longtime affinity for a classic sound. Castro, Jones and Hall are joined by Double Trouble, the legendary rhythm section (keyboardist Reese Wynans, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton) that helped put Stevie Ray Vaughan on the map and have become a highly reputable session unit since SRV’s passing more than a decade ago.
Triple Trouble encompasses the rollicking and smoldering extremes of R&B and soul, and makes several stops in between. Jones opens the set with a roadhouse rocker called “Sometimes,” while Hall contributes a range of original material: the driving “If That Ain’t Love,” the funky “Love Will” and the melancholy “Midnight to Daylight.” Castro adds further fuel to the fire with the Texas-styled “Mamma Jamma” and the Philly-flavored “Whole Lotta Soul."
In addition to the original material, Castro and company try a few classics on for size, including a red-hot rendition of B. B. King’s “Be Careful with a Fool,” featuring some of Hall’s down-and-dirty harp work. Hall throws some tenor sax lines into a spicy rendition of James Brown’s “Good Lovin,’” while Jones turns the Lennon-McCartney classic “Help” into something altogether new and inspirational.
The album closes with a funky jam session called “Cold Funk,” one of those impromptu but brilliant moments in the studio that producer Randy Labbe and his crew were lucky enough to capture on tape.
Born and raised in San Jose, Tommy Castro has been a longtime favorite of the Bay Area, and has compiled a decade-long discography that has catapulted him to international acclaim. In addition to touring extensively as a headlining act, he was also part of the B. B. King Blues Festival Tour in the summers of 2000 and 2002. His 1999 Blind Pig release, Right As Rain, was voted one of the top blues records of all time by Blues Revue readers.
Guitarist / singer / songwriter Lloyd Jones comes out of the Pacific Northwest blues scene, and has been recording on a number of independent labels since the late ‘80s. Blues Revue said his 1995 recording, Trouble Monkey, was “not only one of the best blues albums of 1995, it is one of the best albums of the 1990s.” Robert Cray called it “the best damn record I’ve heard in a long time.”
Jimmy Hall, former lead vocalist and harpist for Wet Willie, has been making records since the early ‘70s. Throughout that decade, he and the band toured with Aerosmith, the Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad and the Grateful Dead. He scored a Grammy nomination in 1985 for Best Male Rock Vocalist on Jeff Beck’s Flash album. More recently, he’s played sax and harmonica in Hank Williams Jr.’s touring band.
Triple Trouble marks the Telarc debut of all three artists. Check out this recording and hear why three’s a sweet-sounding crowd.