No one will accuse Steve Freund of having the greatest voice in the blues world. While Freund is an impressive guitarist, he is merely adequate as a singer. But when you're evaluating an album, it is important to look at the big picture. Taking different things into consideration -- impressive chops, adequate singing, likable songwriting -- one concludes that "C" for Chicago, although slightly uneven, has more plusses than minuses. Freund won't blow you away with a great voice, but he still gets his points across on enjoyable (if derivative) Chicago-style blues numbers like "Everytime I Get to Drinking," "Working Man," and "Please Love Me" (which employs Boz Scaggs as a second guitarist). One of the CD's most memorable tracks is "I Love Money," a humorous account of having champagne tastes and a beer budget. Like so many blues songs that have been recorded over the years -- or, for that matter, country songs -- "I Love Money" manages to laugh at life's disappointments. Freund also provides a few instrumentals -- which include "Mr. Jackson's Boogie" and the jazz-influenced "Cool Dream" -- and that is a good thing because they give him a chance to really stretch out on electric guitar. Although "C" for Chicago is a Chicago blues album first and foremost, Freund shows his appreciation of jazz at times. And that is why he was lucky to have guitarist/singer Dave Specter produce this album. A versatile musician, Specter has one foot in the blues and the other in jazz, and he serves Freund well on this generally decent but imperfect effort.
"C" for Chicago Review
by Alex Henderson