Steve Freund

"C" for Chicago

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

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.

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