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Sean Costello - At His Best: Live

16 Tracks

Sean Costello has, sadly, been gone 3+ years, but his relatively short career has been well-documented by Landslide Records. At His Best: Live adds to Sean’s Landslide library, which includes Sean’s Blues (2009), Cuttin’ In (2001), and Moanin’ for Molasses (2001). Sean also fronted the Jivebombers on Delta Groove’s We Can Get Together (2008) and a self-titled 2004 CD on Artemis.

This 16-song set, from shows from 2000 through 2007, captures an artist that left us on the eve of his 29th birthday. Sean’s recordings capture his talent, and the Blues Blast Music Awards honors his memory with the Sean Costello Rising Star Award. The CD opens with a blistering tribute to Freddy King, “San-Ho-Zay,” and continues with an expert reading of the Magic Sam classic “All Your Love” from a stop at Buddy Guy’s Legends in 2002.

While the disc features mostly straight-ahead rock-tinged blues, slower numbers like “I Got a Feeling” and the soulful and funky “Can I Change My Mind?” shine. The crowd noise during Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby” offers a “you are there in the club” vibe, and I’d like to think that fellow Atlanta bluesman Tinsley Ellis would be proud of Sean’s muscular workout on “The Battle is Over But the War Goes On.” On “Peace of Mind,” Matt Wauchope’s organ ushers in a soulful cover of Robert Ward’s song from his 1999 release, New Role Soul on Delmark. The last song is a real treat. Sean matches Little Richard’s (yes, as in “Tutti Frutti”) vocal intensity and co-author Albert Collins’ fretwork on a raucous “Lucille.”

A portion of the royalties from the sale of At His Best: Live will be donated to the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research, and I hope readers will learn more about Sean, and this condition, at

Reviewer Eric Steiner is president of the Washington Blues Society Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington, and a member of the Board of Directors of The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.

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