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December 1998

Tom Principato
Really Blue
Ichiban Records

An unsung guitarist from the Washington, D.C., area, Tom Principato unleashes impressive chops and a wide array of tones on Really Blue (Ichiban/Powerhouse D2-24963-2; 55:14). "Every Minute, Every Hour" captures the raucous energy of West Side Chicago blues while the instrumental romp "One For Danny" is a blazing bluegrass-flavored dedication to the late, great Danny Gatton. "Stranger's Eyes" is a soothing, jazzy original that might fit well in Sade's or Michael Franks' book. Other guitaristic highlights include an organ-fueled cover of Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues," the minor key slow bluesy title track, an exercise in fretboard nuance and dynamics, and the rockin' Jerry Lee Lewis-flavored "Standing At The Cross Roads Again." Principato offers a fresh take on his own swinging jump blues instrumental "In Orbit," the title track of an album from 1990. He puts a rocker's twist on a Big Joe Turner medley and closes the collection on a tender note with "Here, in my Heart," a solo guitar showcase full of shimmering chords, arpeggios and Lenny Breau styled harmonics. A versatile and talented guit-picker. Otis Rush, Any Place I'm Going (House Of Blues 51416 13 43 2).

Originally published in December 1998
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