Clarence Spady
"Just Between Us "
Severn Records

Soul In Control, (07/02/08)

Blueswax Rating 9
Reader Rating 8

Clarence Spady is one of those rare triple treats in music, as he is not only a great guitarist and vocalist, but he is also a very distinctive and sensitive songwriter. Ten of the eleven tunes on Just Between Us are credited to Spady with the eleventh co-credited to Spady and Donya Washington.

over a decade, and only his second recording since his debut on Evidence Records, Nature of the Beast released in 1996 and recorded in '93. But the wait was worth it, as Spady and Severn's David Earl have beautifully crafted one of the best new recordings of 2008.

There are many highlights on Just Between Us, but my favorites start with the infectious thumping bass lines on "King of Hearts," which if singles still existed today this would probably be the one headed for the top of the charts, as this is the one song I cannot get out of my head; it's a very, very good track. "Enough of You" not only has hilarious lyrics, but it is also serious when you take the time to think about the words. The title track is drop-dead gorgeous and reeks with high quality Soul. The instrumental "E-Mail" is near genius as Spady's guitar takes what is seemingly a very simple riff, then twists and turns it into a very complex yet pleasant tune; it's a brilliant piece of music that at times offers very mesmerizing guitar playing.

Spady's multiple skills are enhanced by the outstanding production work we have become accustomed to from Severn Records. Benjie Porecki always stands tall on B3 and piano, and does not disappoint here, like keyboardist Bob O'Connell, who shares keyboard duties. And let's not forget background vocalists Karla Chisholm and Meg Murray who also add a lot of depth and quality to this first-rate recording.

But this disc is all about Clarence Spady's outstanding skills as a pleasantly fresh songwriter, solid vocalist, and as a superb guitarist who rises above it all on Just Between Us. This is future Blues, with prior influences firmly in place, performed to absolute perfection. Now let's hope it won't be another decade-plus till the next Clarence Spady recording.

Note: I recently had a the opportunity to see Clarence Spady perform in Teaneck, New Jersey, at Mexicali Blues, and should Mr. Spady visit your town, do not miss him. This man is made for the stage and I would hope that festival producers give Mr. Spady a well-deserved opportunity to play at their venues, as they will not be disappointed!

Bob Putignano: