Monday, August 4, 2014

Buddy Guy: Buddy's Blues

This is another exceptional entry in the Chess Records 50th anniversary series from the late Nineties and features fifteen tracks from Guy's tenure at the legendary Chicago blues label from 1960-1967.  Guy was truly a triple threat--a fine songwriter, an excellent soulful singer, and a staggering guitarist-and these selections are a great cross-section to his years with the label.  Notably, he was not as well regarded in those years as some of the other Chess greats like Muddy Waters, B.B. King and so forth, but his time would come years later with his 1991 album Damn Right, I Got The Blues, which sold loads of copies and got tons of acclaim.

Still, there's no denying the stunning quality of Buddy's Blues from his singing and playing to the beautiful remastering that opens up the sound of these Sixties recordings to the stellar bands he performed with, including pianist Otis Spann, bassist Jack Meyers, drummer Fred Below and horn players Jarrett Gibson, Bob Neely, Donald Hankins, Gene Berge and more.

Guy originals like "Worried Mind;" "I Found a True Love;" "Stone Crazy;" "Ten Years Ago;" and "My Love is Real" are complemented by a raft of tunes by the great Willie Dixon, including his "I Cry and Sing the Blues;" "Let Me Love You Baby;" "Pretty Baby;" and "When My Left Eye Jumps."  There is also a standout cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Keep It To Yourself," retitled here as "Keep It to Myself."  Throughout, Guy sings with great power and intensity, while his guitar burns with a fantastically clean clear tone.

Guy just celebrated his 78th birthday on 30 July and it was intended to get this post together for that day, but here's a belated birthday wish to one of the great musical figures in American history, not just in the blues.  Long may Buddy Guy live and play live and otherwise!

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