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Buddy Guys 10 Best Blues Albums

Updated on April 11, 2011

Buddy Guys 10 Best Blues Albums

Buddy Guy was born on the 30th July 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana and went on to establish himself as one of the pioneers of the Chicago blues sound. Buddy Guy is well known also for his guitar virtuosity and showmanship on stage, such as playing his guitar with drum sticks or strolling into the audience while playing solos.

Buddy Guy learnt to play guitar on a basic home made two string diddley bow and after trading up to a proper guitar in the early '50s began performing with local bands in and around Baton Rouge. In the late 50's he moved to Chicago and was at the forefront of the Chicago Blues scene along with other artists such as Muddy Waters, Magic Sam and Otis Rush. Buddy Guy continued to thrive through the 60's UK blues explosion but along with many of his contempories he experienced a decline in interest and relevance through the 70's and 80's until being "found" again thanks in large measure to Eric Clapton's strong backing.

This Top 10 list is my take on Buddy Guys 10 Best Blues Albums from his long, productive and awesome career. You may agree or you may disagree but at least please listen.

1. Damn Right I've Got The Blues

My first pick is Buddy Guy's 1991 commercial comeback album, Damn Right I've Got The Blues, recorded after limited recording success for the previous 10 years. With guest stars like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler he was back centre stage and relevant.

This album includes the classic R&B standard "Mustang Sally" and the old-time blues tune "Black Night". But it is the title track "Damn Right I've Got The Blues" and the beautiful seven-minute instrumental "Rememberin' Stevie,", which pays tribute to his late friend and great admirer Stevie Ray Vaughan, that really make this record stand out.

Damn Right I've Got The Blues CDs available on Amazon

2. Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea is an album by Buddy Guy which was recorded in 2001 through vintage amplifiers and has a live and dangerous feel to it that marks it as a superb effort at improving on the classic blues records set some 40 years ago. Even the liner notes that come with the album proclaim that Buddy "may have made the album of his life".

Despite most of the titles included being covers of other artists work with only 2 original Guy compositions included there's a lot to like about this record. The stand out track is "Baby, Please Don't Leave Me." where Buddy's guitar hits its cat-strangling best and never looks back. Coming a close second is the 12 minute "I Got to Try It, Girl".

Sweet Tea CD available on Amazon

3. Stone Crazy!

Stone Crazy was actually originally released in 1981 through Buddy Guys fallow period and is a blistering and breathtaking live set is full of his idiosyncratic guitar solos, he really indulges his histrionic side throughout an amazing high energy set. This record veers much more towards the rockier side of the Guy's ledger than the blues side.

For me Guy's astonishing take on the old blues standard "Outskirts of Town" is simply incendiary. The album also finishes with another highpoint which is the mesmeric "When I Left Home,"

Stone Crazy CD's available on Amazon

4. DJ Play My Blues

DJ Play My Blues is Buddy Guy playing and feeling the blues, pure and simple, without any sense of compromise for the radio or commerciality. Hence the heavy irony of the albums title. Very rarely is the blues this heartfelt and rarer still is it so well played. This was Guy playing without the adulation he would later receive and it's possible that Buddy has never sounded better than this on this record, as he lets his guitar wail loud on every single cut.

This album has the wonderful "Dedication to the Late T-Bone Walker," which seems to bring out feelings so deep and heartfelt within Guy that you can almost feel the blues.

DJ Play My Blues CD available on Amazon

5. Slippin in

Slippin In is another of Buddy Guys post revival albums from the early 90's this time 1994 and sees him celebrating his bluesiness one more time. Right from start of the record Buddy lets his guitar loose and he even experiments with some very Hendrix-esque effects.

This album sees him mixing songs from his live set list, such as "Someone Else Is Steppin' In" with a couple of blues standards such as "I Smell Trouble" along with a couple of new Guy originals, such as "Cities Need Help."

Slippin in CD available on Amazon

6. A Man and the Blues

A Man and the Blues was an early Buddy Guy album from 1968 as can be seen from the psychedelic cover and this was his first mainstream album away from Chess and his debut full-length session as the band leader. However the feel and the vibe are distinctly retro with Buddy surprisingly playing some very understated guitar.

On this album Guy is joined by friend and pianist Otis Spann who provides some tough grooves on the vicious "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "I Can't Quit the Blues," and a superb cover of "One Room Country Shack." In fact on this album there are no weak songs.

A Man and the Blues CD available on Amazon

7. Living Proof

Living Proof is Buddy Guys latest album and its well worth its place on the list. Living Proof as the title suggest is partially an autobiography as it opens up with the stark tale of “74 Years Young,” the rest of the songs often cover the different aspects of a working musician's life.

On this record there's also what now seems to be the obligatory cluster of famous person duets with BB King and of course Carlos Santana. But its Guy's blistering and gnarly guitar that stands out and the production on this record brings it out in full.

Living Proof CD available on Amazon

8. Blues Singer

Blues Singer is not your archetypal Buddy Guy record as he unplugs for an album length excursion into folk blues. Guy’s stinging lead breaks are still there as well as his emotive voice, but both are definitely less flamboyant in the acoustic setting.

On this album Buddy Guy gives the proper treatment to classics such as "Hard Time Killing Floor", Son House's "Louise McGhee", and "Sally Mae". But the feel of this album overall is the blues for late nights and when noone understands.

Blues Singer CDs available on Amazon

9. The Definitive Buddy Guy

There's always place for a compilation on these lists and out of the hundreds of compilations of Buddy Guys music that there are available The Definitive Buddy Guy I reckon is the best of the bunch. Although it is fair to say that you certainly wouldnt be disappointed with most of them.

This compilation is a one CD, 17 track retrospective over all of Buddy Guys career and it also serves as a great introduction to man and his music as well as acting as a superb one stop shop for all those already familiar.

The Definitive Buddy Guy CD available on Amazon

10. Last Time Around: Live at Legends

Last but by no means least is Last Time Around: Live at Legends, a live pairing of Buddy Guy and his long time friend and partner Junior Wells from Guys own Legends night club. This album is just Guy and Wells on acoustic guitar and harmonica, playing their own classics such as Guy's "You Better Watch Yourself" and Wells's inimitable "Hoodoo Man," as well as many other blues classics like "Hoochie Coochie Man".

This is beautiful and poignant tribute to the late great Junior Wells who died in 1998, five years after this live set was recorded, and takes them back to their roots and follows them as they celebrate the journey.

Last Time Around: Live at Legends CD available on Amazon

Which Buddy Guy Album do you think is his Best

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