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The Blues: Buddy Guy

Updated on December 22, 2014

The Awesome Buddy Guy

The legendary Buddy Guy is one of the giants of the blues. His influences were legends, too, which may explain his incredible music. Buddy has worked with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf, on one the hand, and Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Rolling Stones, on the other. There are few notable blues figures that Guy hasn't touched with his music. He was even an influence on Jimi Hendrix.

...the best guitar player alive...

Buddy Guy, arguably the king of today's Chicago's blues, rules the Blues exactly as his idol and mentor Muddy Waters did. Buddy's first three albums for Silvertone in the '90s all earned Grammys. Eric Clapton calls Buddy his favorite blues guitar maestro, and so did (and do) a great many adoring fans worldwide, including the legendary Jimmy Hendrix.

In fact, according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Clapton proclaimed Buddy "...without a doubt the best guitar player alive." Coming from a superstar like Clapton, that's high tribute indeed.

High-energy guitar histrionics and boundless on-stage energy, coupled with a smile the ladies find irresistible, have always been Buddy's trademarks, along with a vocal style that's almost as distinctive as his incredible rapid-fire fretwork.

If you take the time to watch Buddy at work while you're here, you'll soon understand Clapton's high praise. They just don't come any better than Buddy Guy.

"Mustang Sally, baby, I guess you better slow your mustang down..."

Mustang Sally - Let's Rock & Roll!

Damn Right, I've Got the Blues
Damn Right, I've Got the Blues

This guest-studded CD relaunched Buddy Guy's career and set him toward the pinnacle of contemporary blues. Despite turns from Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and others, it's Guy who burns brightest--and loudest. He delivers roaring, exuberant performances of classic R&B ("Mustang Sally"), old-time blues ("Black Night"), and house rockers ("Where Is the Next One Coming From"). Most poignant, though, is his seven-minute instrumental "Rememberin' Stevie," which not only rekindles the fiery spirit of his own youth, but pays sensitive tribute to his late friend and admirer Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is the blueprint for Guy's current performing style. (Ted Drozdowski. Ted is a freelance journalist and musician living in Boston, Massachusetts.)

 

"You know I can't win, now people, cause I don't have a thing to lose..."

Damn right I got the Blues....

This is my all-time favorite Buddy Guy song, and one of the best renditions of the Chicago Blues style you'll find anywhere.

Done Got Old

"Remember the day, baby

That done passed and gone

When I could love you

Most all night long..."

"But now things gone changed

And I done got old

I can't do the things I used to do

'Cause I'm an old man"

"I can't look like I used to

I can't walk like I used to

I can't love like I used to,"

Done Got Old

I first heard this during Buddy's appearance at the Victoria Jazz Festival, in 2006. It's the first acoustic piece I've ever heard Buddy do, and I love it, being an old guy of 71 myself :-)

Sweet Tea

Buddy first introduced "Done Got Old" during his "Sweet Tea" tour in 2006... he'd gone down to the Delta to get in touch with his roots, and this CD was the result. "Done Got Old" aside, this album's filled with heavy, hard driving electric Blues.

"Sweet Tea" is probably Buddy's best CD - ever - the liner notes proclaim that Buddy "may have made the album of his life".

The dark, brooding, often haunting, hypnotic beat of the original tunes is left intact here. What Buddy brings to the mix is his exceptional guitar solos - make no mistake, Guy's playing on the album is exceptional - the best in a long time. If you want to hear something a little different from Buddy, now's the time - grab Sweet Tea and enjoy a master at his very best.

I Gotta try you girl

Hard-driving blues from Buddy's "Sweet Tea" release...awesome tune!

"Lord I work five long years for one woman

And she had the nerve to kick me out..."

Five Long Years

Music makes people happy, and that's why I go on doing it

Five Long Years - Muddy Waters

Buddy Buy spent his teen years sitting in Chicago's blues clubs, including the one belonging to Muddy Waters, one of Buddy's early mentors. In fact, Buddy now owns the club, Legends, and you can still find him there, signing autographs and greeting his fans..

This is the only song I've included here that doesn't feature Buddy Guy, but I felt Blues fans would enjoy the contrast between Muddy's performance and Buddy's equally outstanding cover.

I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man

MP3 from the Father of the Chicago Blues

 

Your Favorite Tune?

Which of the tunes on this page grabs you the most?

See results

Leave My Lil' Girl Alone

Buddy likes to talk about his early days with the Chess label because back then, his amazing fretwork was discouraged...they just didn't believe that Americans would buy Buddy's incredible fret work. With the British invasion, however, all that changed, and all the restrictions on Buddy's unique guitar style were lifted.

This song, one of Buddy's signature pieces from the Chess era, is a classic example of the laid back style Chess encouraged at the time.

The Complete Chess Studio Recordings
The Complete Chess Studio Recordings

An indispensable part of Buddy Guy history!

 

"I asked my baby for a nickle, and she gave me a twenty dollar bill..."

Sweet Little Angel

There are a number of versions of this classic on YouTube, many of them including other famous Blues greats like Eric Clapton, Big Mama Thornton, BB King, Albert Collins and Jeff Beck. If you love the Blues - and Buddy - as much as I do, you'll get yourself to YouTube and check them ALL out!

For this lens, however, I chose one that featured Buddy and Buddy alone. I think you'll thank me for it :-)

Sweet Little Angel
Sweet Little Angel

From the Album A Man And The Blues

 

Good reading!

Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta
Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta

Palmer's love of the blues shines through in this exceptional book.

 

Buddy Guy - Blues on the Web


Buddy on the Tonight Show

Your Favorite Chicago Blues Artist?

Who Is Your Favorite Chicago Blues Artist?

See results

Like Buddy Guy? - Your comments welcomed!

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    • Nightcat profile image

      Nightcat 

      6 years ago

      Love the lens! I'll be going to see him in a month so this was a treat. :)

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Great info on Buddy Guy, as well as other blues artists. Thanks for sharing!

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