Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: 'Rhythm & Blues' - Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy is a living blues legend. The 77 year old guitarist has been playing the blues since he was a youngster, and eventually made his way to Chicago in the mid 50's like many of his blues compatriots. Here he made friends with Muddy Waters and Junior Wells among others, and started performing with these giants as a session player.

He hit stardom in the early 90's when his album 'Damn Right I Got The Blues" won a Grammy award (he's won 5 more along the way), and since then he's been kicking ass all over. He's one of the only blues artists to be signed to a major record label. And with this album, his took this ass whoopin' to new heights, as it's his highest selling album in opening week and reached number 27 on the Billboard charts. [SOURCE]

This album is divided into two CDs: the first being 'Rhythm' and the second being 'Blues'.

The 'Rhythm' CD is a bit unusual to hear at first because you don't expect to hear soul/R 'n' B from Buddy. What it actually turns out to be is a collection of songs of funk and soul that are not in the expected repertoire of a Chicago bluesman, which shows Buddy's musical abilities and versatility and perhaps, his confidence out of his usual comfort zone.

The first track, 'Best in Town' sets the tone; a heavy funky song, where Buddy says: 'You don't have to be the fastest gun, or a hoochie coochie man, or a seventh son', paying homage to the Chicago bluesmen Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon.

This CD features covers songs, like Junior Wells 'Messin with the Kid' which features Kid Rock, and Guitar Slim's 'I Done Got Over It'. Both feature the rock and R n B sound respectively, done well, with great guitar solos by Buddy. 'One Day Away' which features Keith Urban, was a weak song, only because I'm not into modern country-rock. And Keith Urban is there. The song although has a great message, it comes off cheesy.

Moving to CD 2, the 'Blues' CD, which obviously is my favorite of the two, is pure Chicago blues heaven.


Starting with 'Meet Me in Chicago', Buddy gets to take you to town. The songs 'Too Damn Bad', a raunchy blues about a lover trying to come back to his love, hits you right in the head, 'Evil Twin', which features Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, is a slow and rockin' blues track and is just a joy to hear. Hearing Buddy and Joe square off in guitar battles creams pants. 

Most of the songs on the CD such as 'All That Makes me Happy is the Blues' and 'My Mama Loved Me', while strict blues, features very pure and real songwriting, where he talks about his personal upbringing, about his single mother, and all his hardships. It's very personal and it makes the music much more relatable.

Of course,  there's time for fun, with 'Blues Don't Care', saying "Try to run but there's no escape, just a middle finger in the hand of fate", describing that you can't escape the blues.

The album is a must-have for blues lovers, for guitar slinger lovers, and if you are wanting to explore your music options, GET THIS ALBUM.

I'm happy to see and hear Buddy still performing and leading the blues mothership at his growing age, and from the looks of it, he's not going anywhere anytime soon!


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