Six String Soul - 30 Years on Delmark
Yes, it's really been 30 years that Chicago
guitarist extraordinaire Dave Specter has
been part of the Delmark Records family. 30 years!
To commemorate Specter's longevity with the label,
Delmark has released a two-disc compilation of 28
recordings, both on his own albums as well as
accompaniment of other artists from the label.
Six String Soul - 30 Years on Delmark is a
very nice look at this man's career, and also
refreshes our collective memories of past singers
like Barkin' Bill Smith, Jesse Fortune, Floyd
McDaniel, and others. While Delmark has previously
issued past anthologies from their long and glorious
history, with this album fitting in nicely as still
another tribute to the iconic Chicago-based label.
This collection should be cherished for bringing
back recordings of the wonderful singer Barkin' Bill
Smith, whose rich, throaty voice resonates on the
first cut of disc one, "Buzz Me," and later on
"Railroad Station." We're also treated to the
marvelous "Fortune Tellin Man" from Jesse Fortune, a
song that I've never been able to get enough of.
Fortune was a vastly underrated singer in his day,
and his album by the same name was and still is an
absolute gem. Soulful blues singer Tad Robinson,
who's still very much on the scene today, shows up
on two cuts on disc one, with "Sweet Serenity"
coming from the Blueplicity album that they
did together, and "Can't Stay Here No More" from an
album that also included Al Miller, Willie Kent and
A highlight of disc two comes on the opening cut,
with Lenny Lynn handling vocals with his jazzy,
charcoal voice on "Blues On My Mind," sounding very
much like a classic slow B.B. King blues. That song
was originally released on Blues Spoken Here,
billed to both Specter and Lynn. I haven't heard
that full album in a long time, so I've got to give
that one a spin to remember what I've been missing.
Chicago blues veteran Jimmy Johnson joins in on
"Feels So Bad," while blues shouter Sharon Lewis
hooked up with Specter for the mid-tempo blues
shuffle "In Too Deep."
Specter's soul side is given plenty of time with a
pair of numbers featuring Otis Clay on vocals. "Got
To Find A Way" is up-tempo and uplifting, while Clay
switches to a slow, plodding blues, "This Time I'm
Gone For Good," with killer blues guitar from
Specter. I'm not too familiar with Brother John
Kattke, but the Chicago guitarist / singer joins
Specter on two numbers, the mid-tempo shuffle
"Chicago Style," featuring plenty of big horns, and
the funky "March Through the Darkness."
Of course, there are also plenty of instrumental
gems throughout the album, with one of my favorites
being "Sanctifunkious," as jazz organist Jack McDuff
and a whole lot of horns join forces with Specter
for this jazzy masterpiece.
Closing the collection is a recent single released
by Billy Branch and Specter. The title "Ballad of
George Floyd" tells us what we need to know about
its contents, and it's a slow blues with plenty of
emotion packed into Branch's vocals.
Six String Soul is another important
anthology commemorating both Specter and the Delmark
label. Not only will I being playing it quite often,
but it will also motivate me to go back to listen to
the full albums from which these 28 songs
--- Bill Mitchell