Dave Specter & the Bluebirds With Barkin' Bill | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dave Specter & the Bluebirds With Barkin' Bill


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Guitarist Dave Specter is that rarest of artists, a young musician to whom taste and subtlety mean as much as technical expertise. His road credentials range from house-rocking contemporary blues (a year and a half with Son Seals) to Chicago traditionalism (European festival appearances with the likes of Jimmy Rogers and Snooky Pryor); in between he's obviously done a lot of woodshedding with vintage T-Bone Walker recordings. His leads are lithe and melodic, and he supports them with sophisticated jump-blues chording. Vocalist Barkin' Bill has been a local legend on the west side for over three decades. Bill's rich baritone and impishly debonair stage presence make obvious his debt to jazz-blues vocalists like Big Joe Williams and Jimmy Witherspoon, but he's equally at home fronting a raucous electric band. With Specter at his side, he's able for the first time in years to explore the more melodic and subtle aspects of his musical personality. It's a unique pairing, rife with long-range potential. Thursday, Wise Fools Pub, 2270 N. Lincoln; 929-1510.

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