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Dave SPECTER – Spectified 2010

Posted in BLUES, Dave SPECTER on November 30, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dave SPECTER – Spectified 2010


Dave Specter has recorded with some of the preeminent blues and jazz players in the world.  He appears on compilation CDs with artists such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. He’s won awards for production and his signature skills can be heard from the production booth to the sultry tones of his blueplicitous guitar.
“Spectified”, is the ninth studio release from Chicago Bluesman Dave Specter. This album showcases soulful originals infused with classic blues favorites. Featuring special guest David Hidalgo from Los Lobos on “Rumba & Tonic” as well as The Bo’ Weavil Brass on 4 tracks led by former Tower of Power trumpet man, Mike Cichowicz. Brother John Kattke and Pete Benson share the keyboard chair, with the rock solid rhythm section of Harlan Terson and Greg Wyser-Pratte laying down the grooves – thick and blue. Latin percussionist Victor Garcia also makes a guest appearance on two tracks.
In a relatively short time frame, Chicago guitarist Dave Specter has found his way onto the blues equivalent of the fast track. Just over a decade ago, the towering guitarist with the carefully coiffed hair first made his presence felt as a good-natured bouncer at B.L.U.E.S., a Windy City blues mecca. Now, he’s got six acclaimed albums in the Delmark catalog, every one a satisfying, challenging mix of blues (Specter lists influences including T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Magic Sam, and Otis Rush) and jazz (Kenny Burrell’s another of his main men).
The native of Chicago’s Northwest side didn’t even grab a guitar until he was 18 years old, inspired by his harp-blowing older brother Howard. While working at Jazz Record Mart and in the shipping department at Delmark he took guitar lessons from Sunnyland Slim’s former guitarist Steve Freund. Once he gained some skills, Freund set him up with legendary drummer Sam Lay and Howlin Wolf’s guitar player Hubert Sumlin for a tour. At this time he was also working at B.L.U.E.S., making valuable contacts on the job that led to sideman gigs with Johnny Littlejohn, Son Seals, and the Legendary Blues Band before he assembled his own outfit, the Bluebirds, in 1989.
Since Specter doesn’t sing, he recruited deep-voiced crooner Barkin’ Bill Smith as his first vocalist. The two shared the spotlight on Specter’s alluring 1991 Delmark debut, Bluebird Blues. After Smith departed, Specter latched on to another West side veteran, Jesse Fortune, backing the singer on his 1993 Delmark set Fortune Tellin’ Man. Dazzling harpist Tad Robinson took over frontman duties for the Bluebirds’ 1994 disc Blueplicity and Live in Europe the next year. California harpman Lynwood Slim became the band’s resident singer when Robinson left.
Jazz is growing increasingly prominent in Specter’s evolving guitar attack. He imported legendary jazz organist Brother Jack McDuff to provide a Hammond B-3 cushion for his 1996 Delmark project Left Turn on Blue. In 1998 he returned with a new singer, Lenny Lynn, and a new record for Delmark, Blues Spoken Here. For 2000s Speculatin’ Spector did away with vocals and cut 13 instrumentals. Is What It Is appeared in 2004, followed by Live in Chicago (a DVD of the same show was also issued) in 2008, all on the Delmark imprint.
Squeezing frequent European tours in between a myriad of local gigs, Specter wears his love for swinging blues tradition on his sleeve, and it fits him well.
Dave Specter is considered one of Chicago’s Finest Blues Artists and now with the release of “Spectified”, we all get a chance to hear why, as he lays down the soulful blues, while the rest of the crew sprinkle their magical dusting of jazz when and wherever needed, making this Album a complete and utter treat for the senses.
“Spectified” is an Album that is not only Purely Instrumental, it is also a Album that is Instrumentally Pure. Unlike the vast majority of Albums out their today, Instrumental Albums do not have the option of hiding behind lyrics if there are flaws. “Spectified”, as far as I could hear, was flawless, in fact lyrics would have only taken this treasure down a few notches.
“Spectified” consists of 12 Tracks, 9 which are Originals and 3 Covers, at least that is the official word, although the CD sent to me did have 13 Tracks, so it may of been a special limited promo offer CD. Accompanying Specter on some of the Tracks are David Hidalgo from Los Lobos on “Rumba & Tonic”, The Bo’ Weavil Brass, with Trumpet Master, Mike Cichowicz on 4 Tracks, and Latin percussionist Victor Garcia also makes a guest appearance on a couple of Tracks. Rounding out this Album are the regulars, Brother John Kattke and Pete Benson (Sharing Keyboards), and Harlan Terson and Greg Wyser-Pratte (Rhythm Section).
“Spectified” marks Specter’s 9th Release, which in itself is a more than worthy accomplishment for any Artist. Specter’s resume does not however, stop there, as you can find him featured on no less than a couple of dozen other very fine Blues Album’s along side many of the greats such as Lurrie Bell, Eric Clapton, Corky Siegel, John Primer, Junior Wells, Carey Bell, Little Walter, and Big Walter Horton, just to name a few. Dave Specter also gets his share of accolades and critical acclaim. “His 1991 release Bluebird Blues reached the #1 spot on both the Living Blues national radio charts and the Tower Records blues charts” and his 1994, “Blueplicity”, was chosen one of the top 10 blues albums of the last decade.
In the world of Guitar Instrumentalists, you really are not going to find a hell of a lot more that are better at it than, Dave Specter. He truly does reap what he sows and what he sows is just pure musical magic.
I was not familiar with Dave Specter before this Album, but I am now. “Spectified” will be played often and I look anxiously to the future for more Specter Releases.
Without question, I give “Spectified”, my highest rating of 5*****. Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed.
Favorite Track… “Octavate’n”
By John Vermilyea.
01. Stick To The Hip 5:21
02. Octavate’n 5:27
03. Soul Serenade 7:25
04. Blues Call 5:55
05. Alley Walk 4:46
06. Wash Out 3:43
07. The Funky Hunky 4:11
08. Rumba & Tonic (feat. David Hidalgo of Los Lobos) 5:57
09. Azulado 7:28
10. Slick Pick 4:47
11. See See Rider 7:16
12. Lumpus D’ Rumpus 5:58
13. Alley Walk Acoustic 4:12

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