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Dave Specter & Friends - Live In Chicago CD
Delmark Records
Run Time: 66:58 Live Recording

Dave Specter has been one of Chicago’s prime “young” guitarists since 1991. Really, he’s a veteran and one of the best. Specter has a long back catalog of great work and he’s played with a virtual who’s who of anyone and everyone who’s been in Chicago. Specter’s band is pretty much the same. Recorded over two nights in August of 2007 at Buddy Guy’s Legends and Rosa’s Blues Lounge, Specter and company paint a wonderful portrait of Chicago’s blues heritage.

Specter’s band is an all-star cast out of bands of Chicago legends. Brother John Kattke on keys runs the blues jams at Buddy Guy’s Legends Club. Harlan Terson on bass and Marty Binder on drums spent time with both Buddy Guy and Otis Rush’s road bands. In all, you have a formula for everything that is Chicago and it’s musical confections.

With swinging, tasteful Freddy King-like instrumental interspersed between fabulous singing by Tad Robinson, the legendary Jimmy Johnson, and Specter’s long time friend Sharon Lewis this album is a beautiful snapshot of Specter’s live shows.

Tad Robinson offers some “country-soul” on the Tom T. Hall (yeah the country singer) classic “How I Got to Memphis.” Jimmy Johnson still sounds as brilliant on guitar and vocals as he did 30 years ago on the staple “Feel So Bad” and the Jimmy Rogers B-Side “Out on the Road.” Sharon Lewis finishes the set with a beautiful gospel-like soon-to-be classic “Angel.” Intermixed with all of this wonderful crooning is the steady work of Specter’s tasteful guitar playing, weaving its way in and around and through these songs. Specter gives a fine lesson to anyone who wants to learn Chicago Blues and play it well.

Accompanying this great CD is a DVD of all these fine performances. I’m pretty assured that the instrumentals have more of an impact once they are seen and heard together. However, the CD would’ve been a fine stand alone piece in the enormous 60 year catalog of Delmark. In this case, pick and choose which one you want and you’ll end up with something that is bound to keep your attention for a long time.

Plus, on any given night, I’m sure you can find Dave Specter, one of the world’s finest blues guitarists playing in some small bar or pub in Chicago. Why? Because he’s quickly becoming one of those legends you hear about every time you’re in the Windy City.

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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