Clarence Spady | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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CLARENCE SPADY

There's a lot of living packed into young Clarence Spady's voice. With a career that's already included road stints with the likes of the Four Tops and the Temptations, Spady possesses a gritty worldliness that can't be forced or faked--complete with the personal and psychic perils that life on the road can bring. Spady's relative youth (mid-30s) is more evident in his guitar work, which will probably strike some as too rock influenced to do justice to his more subtle material. But he brings undeniable virtuosity and emotional fire to everything he touches, and even at his most histrionic his musical integrity is beyond dispute. On Nature of the Beast, Spady's current CD, saxman Tom Hamilton tempers Spady's in-your-face emotionalism with a refreshing dose of funky R & B sophistication. The combination sometimes threatens to rupture--Spady's prone to excess, as he tells us in the autobiographical title tune--but at its best the disc is an exhilarating fusion of musical craftsmanship and the still-fresh enthusiasm of youth poised to take on the world. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452. DAVID WHITEIS

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