" Spectified "
Blueswax Rating 8
All Instrumental and All Good. Spectified Indeed!
Dave Specter first picked up a guitar when he was eighteen years old. He doesn't sing and has previously utilized the vocal services of Barkin' Bill Smith, Jess Fortune, Tad Robinson, Lynwood Slim, Steve Freund, and others. He's also worked with another non-singing guitarist, the great Ronnie Earl, on Specter's debut recording for Delmark, Bluebird Blues.
Spectified is Specter's ninth recording, an all-instrumental CD and the first for Fret12 Productions. It's an assortment of originals and a few hip blues and soul/jazz covers. It also features one song with David Hidalgo from Los Lobos. The Bo' Weavil Brass (led by former Tower of Power trumpeter Mike Cichowicz) appear on four tunes and Brother John Kattke and Pete Benson co-chair the keyboards with a tight rhythm section consisting of Harlan Terson' bass and Greg Wyser-Pratte's drums and percussion. Latin percussionist Victor Garcia also contributes to two tracks.
Noteworthy are the opening funky and horn-driven "Stick to the Hip" propelled by Specter's very creative and tasty solos and "Octavate'n." This second cut is a straight-ahead blues with Specter reflecting on his old cohort Ronnie Earl's blues-jazz chords and phrases. The King Curtis classic "Soul Serenade" is treated with due respect by Specter and company, where Dave's solos are fueled by the heady horn section. "Alley Walk" vamps a bit like "Smokestack Lightning" yet offers its own twists and turns. Freddie King's "Wash Out" is a delightful romp. The appropriately titled "The Funky Hunky" is fiery and brings back the horns on one of this disc's most up-tempo track. The Tex-Mex of "Rumba & Tonic" features David Hidalgo's accordion, but this enchilada is just so-so. "Lumpus D' Rumpus" easily could have been included on one of those old Freddie King instrumental surf LPs. That's not a putdown. This tune is splendid and Specter rolls solidly here. Interestingly, Spectified closes with an alternate solo acoustic take on "Alley Walk."
Specter is a very talented guitarist worthy of more notoriety. My only quibble is with the predictable format where each song has a repeated lead-in guitar solo followed by a keyboard solo and closing guitar solo. Be that as it is, "Spectified" is a welcomed addition to Specter's discography as well as your own album collection.
Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: email@example.com
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com