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Album Review

Dave Specter has featured singers on most of his albums; Sharon Lewis, Tad Robinson, Lynwood Slim, Lenny Lynn, and the late Barkin' Bill Smith are among the vocalists he has worked with along the way. But the Chicago-based guitarist opted to play instrumentals exclusively on 2000's Speculatin', and he does the same thing on the self-produced Spectified. There isn't a vocalist to be found on this late 2010 release, which favors an exciting blend of electric Chicago blues, jazz, and soul. Specter is in fine form throughout this 72-minute CD, and the jazz influence is as strong on Specter's own compositions as it is on inspired performances of Freddy King's "Wash Out" and Ma Rainey's "See See Rider." One thing that enhances the album's jazz appeal is the presence of two electric organists; Pete Benson plays on three of the tracks ("Blues Call," "Wash Out," and "Slick Pick"), and Brother John Kattke (who is also heard on piano) appears on most of the other tracks. The electric Hammond organ, of course, isn't strictly a jazz instrument; it has been used on plenty of rock and R&B sessions over the years. But jazz enthusiasts tend to associate the electric organ with the seminal Jimmy Smith and his numerous followers, and Specter's interactions with Kattke and Benson are certainly mindful of the soul-jazz groups that have been led by Smith, Jack McDuff, Charles Earland, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and other Hammond B-3 icons. There is also some awareness of organist Booker T. Jones and his instrumental soul group Booker T. & the MG's, who had their share of major hits in the '60s. When Speculatin' came out, Specter's followers predicted that it wouldn't be his last all-instrumental album; they were right, and Specter never fails to shine as an instrumentalist on the excellent Spectified.

Customer Reviews

Best yet

This album, and Dave's current band, sounds better than ever before. We were at the record release party and were thrilled by the sound of the horn section, and Jazzy Bluesy Funky sounds. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who loves Chicago blues, jazz guitar, or swinging music in general.

Something for everyone

While I am no music critic, I know what I like. Spectified is a vibrant collection of music which really delighted! Soul Serenade and Stick to the Hip were my personal favorites, but the Mrs was partial to Blues Call. An excellent release ... click and see for yourself!

Classic Blues

I bought this CD right after I saw Dave live. It is a great piece for any blues lover. He plays a clean and classic blues guitar that feels totally timeless. It's an upbeat album you can get lost in from track 1 until it hits the end, a great piece to add for any blues or music fans collection.


Born: May 21, 1963 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A first-tier blues and jazz guitarist, Dave Specter, whether working solo as a bandleader or as a sideman for artists like Johnny Littlejohn or Son Seals, has always brought intelligence and sharp, crisp playing to the music table, a sort of contemporary version of T-Bone Walker. Born on Chicago's northwest side on May 21, 1963, Specter didn't pick up the guitar until he was 18 years old, but once he did, he never looked back. Early on he worked as a support player for Littlejohn, Seals, and the...
Full Bio
Spectified, Dave Specter
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Blues, Music, Jazz
  • Released: Aug 15, 2010

Customer Ratings