CD review: Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues
In the tone, depth and greasy howl of Buddy Guy’s guitar you can hear all those who he influenced: Clapton, Vaughn, Moore, Bonamasa, Beck, and Hendrix.and more. At seventy six his voice is unwavering and his energy is palpable so it is no surprise he chose to release a new double album titled Rhythm & Blues. The eighteen new songs and three inspired covers could easily serve as the soundtrack to his autobiography When I Left Home: My Story, as he reminisces on his life’s adventures and takes us on a musical travelogue thru his more than fifty years of playing the blues.
The Rhythm disc features more modern rhythm and blues-styled tracks with deep grooves. Kid Rock trades barbs with Guy on the Junior Wells’ 1960 classic “Messin With The Kid.” Critics will may scoff at this, but Buddy Guy has certainly earned the right to play this song anyway he chooses. The country tinged “One Day Away” with Keith Urban, has a sweet sentimentality to it. The Muscle Shoals horns add fuel to hat You’re Gonna Do About Me,” a rousing duet with Beth Hart. Guy rounds out the disc with a playful reading of Guitar Slim’s “Well I Done Got Over It” the gritty blues “The Devil’s Daughter,” and the seriously spooky “Whiskey Ghost.”
Disc two” The Blues,” kicks off with a geography lesson from Guy on “Meet Me In Chicago,” acting as a tour guide pointing out the highlights of his beloved city of the blues. Reese Wynans plays some fabulous barrel house piano on the classic shuffle “Too Damn Bad.” Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Steve Perry and Brad Whitford join Mr. Guy for a ripping slow blues “Evil Twin.” The highlight of the disc has to be when Gary Clark, Jr. joins Guy on “Blues Don’t Care.” Marking the moment when the blues torch is passed on to a worthy representative of the next generation.
The album was produced by the Grammy winning producer Tom Hambridge who plays the drums and wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album. He assembled two basic all-star sets of musicians as the backing Band. The first consists of David Grissom (guitar), Reese Wynans, (B3), and Michael Rhodes (bass). The second set consists of Rob McNeely (guitar), Kevin McKendree, (B3), and Tommy MacDonald (bass). Hambridge and Guy will no doubt be looking at multiple award nominations for their efforts.