Blues…From The Inside Out
Born in Chicago in 1963 guitarist Dave Specter has been part of that cities music scene since he began playing clubs in 1985. He toured the U.S. and Europe backing such greats as Son Seals, Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay, and The Legendary Blues Band. Specter has performed and/or recorded with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Otis Rush and Robert Lockwood Jr. and appears on over forty albums as guitarist or producer. He also has albums as leader or co-leader on Delmark Records including 1996’s jazz influenced “Left Turn On Blue”; 2000’s “Speculatin’”; 2004’s “Is What It Is” recorded with Steve Freund and featuring Barrelhouse Chuck; 2008’s CD/DVD “Live in Chicago” recorded with guests Jimmy Johnson, Tad Robinson and Sharon Lewis; 2010’s “Spectified” and 2014’s “Message in Blue” recorded with Otis Clay.
“Blues …From The Inside Out” is Specter’s twelfth recording for Delmark and first on which we get to hear him sing. The core unit includes Specter, guitar and vocals; and long-time band members Harlan Lee Terson, bass; and Marty Binder, drums. Other artists guest throughout the recording. All of the songs are written or co-written by Specter except one. Specter states “I was always content with guitar being my voice as a musician, I’ve worked my entire career on the art of backing up singers and writing/playing instrumentals and never felt a desire to sing until fairly recently. People have always said nice things about my voice when I’m emceeing a show or doing my “Blues From The Inside Out” podcast. I’m getting inspired to write more songs that I sing, as I’m honestly more comfortable singing my own words than somebody else’s. I’m looking forward to seeing where this road takes me.” Specter sings on the title track co-written with Bill Brichta; on the rockin’ “Asking For a Friend” and on the topical John Lee Hooker inspired “How Low Can One Man Go?” about the current occupant of the White House. “Wave’s Gonna Come” written by Brichta features him on acoustic guitar and vocalist Sarah Marie Young.
The T-Bone Walker influenced Specter continues “I used to be more of a Chicago blues purist, but when I heard Professor Longhair, the Neville Brothers and Allen Toussaint it shook me up in a good way”. Specter’s hopeful “March Through The Darkness” was inspired by “Chicago’s guiding light of spirit and soul” Mavis Staples. “There’s a lot of darkness that we are living through…regardless of your political party.” The vocal is from Specter’s collaborator and keyboardist Brother John Kattke, who also sings on “The Blues Ain’t Nothin’” with lyrics from guitarist Jorma Kaukonen who sits in. Pianist Kattke sings again on “Ponchatoula Way” with percussionist Ruben Alvarez; The Liquid Soul Horns including tenor saxophonist Mars Williams, Ron Haynes trumpet, and trombonist John Janowlak; and background vocalists Robinson and Devin Thompson. The instrumental “Sanctifunkious” features Meters-Neville inspired rhythms. Three more instrumentals are included.
“Blues…From The Inside Out” is the most comprehensive album of Dave Specter’s career. The expressive guitarist is showcased as never before. He has become the complete artist.