Tom Casino

Tom Casino

Tom Casino

Lucky In Love


There are certain expectations attached to a name like Tom Casino. It’s like when the New York Dolls’ proto-punk pioneer David Johansen reemerged as Buster Poindexter in the mid-’80s. Poindexter’s swinging, flamboyant personality solidified your vision of what you thought he would be once you heard his name. Sure enough, Casino is a real character, too — brimming with good-natured humor and a party-hard attitude. What is surprising, though, is that beneath some of his witty lyrics and vocal quirks is a serious musician flanked by men with solid chops including keyboardist Dale Ockerman of the Doobie Brothers.

“Let’s wrestle all night long,” Casino exclaims on the title track, his randy voice slithering with the reptilian baritone of Jim Morrison. With its pulsating bass lines and bluesy licks, the track is an immediate ear-grabber. Casino keeps the tone light, producing a rocking, raunchy bar-band number with funny, upbeat lyrics. “Chopstick Blues” continues Casino’s tongue-in-cheek approach to songwriting while his voice kicks into Tom Waits overdrive; there’s more asphalt in that throat than a newly paved road, and it is a joy to listen to.

When Casino stretches himself artistically, the results are even more impressive. Flutes and bongos inject a late-’60s, early-’70s vibe to “And All That,” recalling vintage Santana and War. “Senorita de Suerte” takes the Santana influence further as Casino and his men drive a sweltering Latin jam. What will probably get the most immediate attention is Casino’s playful lounge-jazz cover of the Ramones’ punk anthem “I Wanna Be Sedated.” Personally, I think Joey Ramone would have loved it.

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