Sean Costello died of a drug overdose in 2008. That death, like so many others, cut short a brilliant musical career. But he left a legacy of great music for his many fans and those who have since discovered his music, many of them from videos on YouTube. Many of those fans, myself included, have anxiously awaited a live CD so that we could get a taste of what we missed.
At His Best is just that, and it is both wonderful and bittersweet to realize that, live, he really was at his best. Because these recordings came from both clean soundboard recordings and raw live audience tapes, the sound quality varies, but the excitement and tremendous passion and skill Costello possessed comes through on every take.
My favorite cuts are those where the sheer joy of entertainment shines through most clearly to me: “T-Bone Boogie,” “I Get a Feeling,” “Check It Out,” “Can I Change My Mind?”, the personal and humorous “Doing My Own Thing,” the rockabilly groove of “Motor Head Baby,” and the great rave-up on “Lucille.” But every single one of the 17 tracks on this CD showcase the fabulous guitar playing and expressive voice of this consummate performer.
It’s obvious from this recording that on the stage in front of an audience was where Costello felt most at home, and I am glad that although he is no longer with us, he left us this wonderful music to keep him alive in our hearts.
It was bipolar disorder that ultimately took Costello from us, and part of the proceeds of this CD go to the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research. So buy it for yourself and for every blues lover you know.