Buddy Guy

George "Buddy" Guy is a living Chicago Blues legend, known for his superlative talent and flamboyant stage presence with his Fender Stratocaster. Music critic Jon Pareles had mentioned in a New York Times article that, “Whether he's singing with gentle menace or bending new curves into a blue note, he is a master of tension and release, and his every wayward impulse was riveting”. Buddy’s resume is as impressive – he is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and holds the title of “Greatest Living Electric Blues Guitarist”. He has won five Grammy Awards, the Presidential National Medal of Arts, the Billboard Magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and a record total of 23 W.C. Handy Blues Awards. Rolling Stone magazine has placed him 13th in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Buddy’s collaborations span across generations, from Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Little Walter, to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. A guitar legend on his own right, Stevie Ray Vaughan had once said, “Buddy Guy plays from a place that I've never heard anyone play". Buddy calls himself a “caretaker of the blues”, and adds, “I just take what they taught me and keep adding to it”. By them he means Guitar Slim, Magic Sam, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters.

Born on July 30, 1936 in Louisiana, Buddy first starting strumming a makeshift guitar he had made with a block of wood and hairpins borrowed from his mother. He would devote all his free time to music, especially during the weekends when there was no work on the plantations. It was a decade later when Buddy got his first real guitar, a Harmony acoustic that is now housed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The year 1957 changed Buddy’s life forever, when he went to Chicago, and specifically, the legendary 708 Club. Buddy became Chess Records’ first-call session man during the early 1960s, and also started recording under his own name, with albums like I Left My Blues in San Francisco in 1967, and A Man and the Blues for Vanguard in 1968.  Though the 1970s and 1980s saw 20 more releases, Buddy tasted commercial success with his Grammy winning albums – in 1991 it was Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, followed by the 1993 album Feels Like Rain, and then came the 1994 smash hit  Slippin' In. An artist who has always been contemporary without compromising on the bluesy soul of his music, Buddy‘s subsequent releases include Live: The Real Deal in 1996, Heavy Love in 1998, Sweet Tea in 2001, Bring 'Em In in 2005, and his last album till date, Skin Deep, released in 2008. While Bring 'Em In has Buddy jamming with John Mayer and Carlos Santana, Skin Deep features young talents like Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and Quinn Sullivan.

When asked about the inclusion of these relatively lesser known musicians in his album, Buddy had this to say - "I just try to get the best players, and hope I can pop the top off this can and show that the blues are back. I learn from them and bring them in and see what they can do. And these guys got me feeling like when I was 22 years old and went into the studio with Muddy Waters." What a fantastic way to pay homage to one’s mentors! The music still continues, particularly at Buddy’s own nightclub in Chicago called Buddy Guy’s Legends. The place is nothing less than a shrine for all true blues fans.
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