Dave Specter with Otis Clay Message in Blue Album Review

Reflections in Blue
By Bill Wilson
July 2014

Specter’s tenth release features the guitar virtuoso backed by a stellar crew for what has got to be a hit. When you bring this much talent into one place, something magical has got to happen…and if magical is what is called for and expected, Message in Blue comes across with just that. With Dave Specter on guitar, Brother John Kattke on keyboard of all sizes and descriptions as well as vocals on several numbers, Harlan Terson on bass, Marty Binder on drums, Otis Clay providing vocals on several cuts and Bob Corritore on harmonica it would be almost impossible to go wrong. Add the seasoned horn section of Kenny Anderson, Bill McFarland, Hank Ford & Willie Henderson, backup vocals from Theresa Davis & Diane Madison and a couple additional special guests throwing in their special touches here and there and you have the makings of a ready-made classic. This is a band that is tight, and right on the money every step of the way and there is no finer guitarist in the business than Dave Specter. The disc opens with Specter’s “New West Side Stroll,” following it up with Otis Clay’s rendition of “Got To Find A Way” that knocks the ball out of the park, but to follow it up with a tribute to the late Bobby “Blue” Bland in the form of “This Time I’m Gone For Good”…the disc could have stopped here and this old man would have been satisfied but the goods just keep on coming. A great mix of eight originals from Specter and five well-chosen covers, mixing passionate instrumental numbers, which no one does better than Dave Specter and incredibly powerful vocal numbers with the aid of Otis Clay, a man who is without question one of the finest soul singers in the business. This piece was a classic masterpiece from its very inception. Hands down, it gets no better than this.

Return To Main Reviews page