Buddy Guy (from the album The Blues is Alive and Well)
There is fair warning in the words Buddy Guy intones on “Bad Day”, the Blues accenting his hurdles of police harassment and homegrown finger-pointing on the track. Horns punch and jab with guitar leads as Buddy Guy takes his Blues uptown in “Old Fashioned” while raggedy Blues riffs skitter over the smooth groove of “End of the Line” as curved rhythms roll across “A Few Good Years”, the track dreamily revolving under the tale’s wishes and hopes. If you are noticing an obvious Blues theme branded into the songs, that is the point that Buddy Guy is making with his music and the tunes collected on his recent release, The Blues is Alive and Well. The snap and sizzle of guitar licks warm “Nine Below Zero” as Buddy Guy admits “Guilty as Charged” on a raucous rhythm and kicks up some barnyard dirt with “Milking Muther for Ya”.
Arriving in Chicago, Illinois in the mid-1950’s, Buddy Guy quickly became a part of the local Blues scene, working with players and labels, eventually signing with Chess Records from 1959 to 1968. Label head Leonard Chess felt that the sound of Buddy’s live show was ‘noise’ and never properly packaged his music, Chess tapping his guitar work for the recordings of labelmates Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, Sonny Boy Wiliamson, Little Walter, and others. The steps for “Blue No More” slowly trudge towards heavenly happiness as Buddy Guy is joined by the vocals of James Bay on the tune. Friends from the long, influential career of Buddy Guy lend guitar work on The Blues is Alive and Well as Buddy knocks back “Cognac” with Keith Richards and Jeff Beck while Mick Jagger offers his harmonica for “You Did the Crime”. The story unravels like the rhythms of the title track as Buddy Guy channels his woes, confessing that ‘love is gone’ while admitting that “The Blues is Alive and Well”.
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