The Bonzo Dog Band, an eccentric '60s British band with a penchant for silliness and satire, once released a song whose title begged the theoretical question: "Can blue men sing the whites?" That is, of course, a twist on the age-old argument about whether white musicians have suffered enough to sing the blues with any credibility. Modern masters like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Duane Allman certainly suggest they can, but the debate is a worthy one regardless. Another individual who affirms that ability is Miami blues boy Albert Castiglia, who apprenticed under such greats as Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, and Ronnie Earl. He's emerged as a singular presence on the local scene over the years as well as a standout showman and exceptional guitarist. That's not easy to do in an environment where cover bands remain the norm. His live performances are events in themselves, thanks to Castiglia's penchant for tossing off stirring solos while strolling off the stage and wandering out on the sidewalk, losing sight of his band but never the music at hand. Fortunately, Castiglia has no problem translating his talents to disc, and his third album, These Are the Days, is full of evidence of that. Like its predecessors, the album proves a worthy platform for his searing vocals. Castiglia contributes five originals to the mix, including the ominous opener "Bad Year Blues" ("Been a real bad year/Only 12 more months to go..."), while longtime colleague Graham Wood Trout of South Florida's other blues institution, Iko Iko, loans the title track, a backwoods ballad that allows Castiglia to stretch his melodic parameters. A take on Bob Dylan's otherwise obscure "Catfish" isn't so hot, but a good stock of standards ("Night Time Is the Right Time," "Need Your Love So Bad," "He's Got the Whisky," and "Loan Me a Dime") raise the quality level to where it needs to be.
Albert Castiglia performs Friday, March 14, at Alligator Alley, 1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park. Admission is $5, and the show starts at 9 p.m. Call 954-771-2220, or visit www.alligatoralleyflorida.com.
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