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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Delmark Records artist: Dave Specter - Message in Blue - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Message in Blue, from Dave Specter and it's hot! Opening with instrumental, New West Side Stroll, Specter comes out with the strings blazing. A cooking jazz influenced swing blues also featuring Brother John Kattke on organ and backed by Harlan Terson on bass and Marty Binder on drums this is smoking! On R&B track, Got To Find A Way, Otis Clay takes the center spot light backed by Theresa Davis and Diane Madison on vocal and Kenny Anderson (trumpet), Bill McFarlland (trombone), Hank Ford (tenor sax)and Willie Henderson (bari sax). This Time I'm Gone For Good has a nice slow tempo and a great lead bass line. Clay again takes the mic but this time with a deeper bluesy approach. Specter lays out some really tasty riffs on this track making it one of the best on the release. Title track, Message In Blue, is a nice blend of blues and soul. Specter maintains the spotlight with clean melodic guitar solos. Very nice! On swinging Chicago Style, Kattke takes the vocal lead accompanying himself on keys. The horns are back and punctuating all the way with Binder keeping the drums tight. Specter plays a really nicely phrased guitar solo and Kattke also rolls out a nice piano solo as well. On classic R&B track I Found A Love, Clay is back with his best vocals on the release. Specter chases Clay's vocals on guitar in almost Hound Dog Taylor style. Very cool! Funkified Outta Space has a real authentic Billy Preston kind of organ style and Specter "sings" the lead on guitar. Playing lower neck solos against upper fretboard riffs is particularly effective. Kattke lays down a really gritty organ solo taunting Specter on. Nice groove. Same Old Blues has gospel piano phrasing and really sets a nice table for Kattke to sing really super lead vocal. Specter takes full advantage of this inviting rhythm squeezing out some of the tastiest riffs on cd this year. The Stinger has a latin feel with the addition of Victor Garcia on percussion. Another jazzy showcase for Specter on guitar and Kattke on keys these guys just keep pushing up the heat. Jefferson Stomp has a much more primitive feel with light percussion and piano work. Specter dances lightly on the strings and Bob Corritore joins on harp. As the track gets cranking, Specter don's his slide and cooks up some rich lead riffs. Corritore steps up as well and shows his chops. Very nice! Watchdog has Kattke back on lead vocal with a strong Chicago feel. Specter kicks it up a notch on this track with some really well placed riffs. Kattke is back on organ and commands the spotlight. Very cool! The Spectifyin' Samba gets further out on that jazz limb but maintaining a blue feel. John "Boom" Brumbach offers up a really nice tenor solo on this track opening the floor for Specter to show his jazzier chops. Garcia again joins on percussion helping to deliver that Latin feel. Kattke is always super on keys and the Rhodes is really rich. Wrapping the release is Opus De Swamp, has a really swampy feel with heavy drums (Travis T. Bernard) and bass (Jim Tuillo) coaxed along by Corritore on harp. Specter tops the track with lightly sprinkled country blues riffs. This is a really cool release with a lot happening. Check it out!  

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