Authentic. Is there any better word in music?
I remember listening in to an interview we had set up for Buddy during his last release. He spoke about growing up in a rural Louisiana house that didn’t have running water for nine years of his young life. I remember talking with B.B King who told me that he started behind a plow. And, I remember a friend of mine who, upon visiting Muddy Waters in Chicago asked him where the music came from. Muddy took him outside to a garden in his back yard, knelt down, picked up a clump of dirt, rolled it around in his hand and said, “This… this is where the music comes from.”
These guys all have one thing in common – they are grounded, come from and are connected to, the earth. It is no wonder then, when we hear Buddy Guy’s bigger than life voice, we are moved to believe everything he is singing. He is the REAL THING. And, with the passing of B.B. King, he is one of the few original bluesmen still walking the planet. For sure the last most-recognized one, which makes him all the more a treasure. He is known for being way ahead of his time with his ferocious style of playing – indeed Jimi Hendrix got some of what we all thought was his signature moves directly from Buddy Guy, and, Clapton, Page, Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer are just a few other great players who have been enormously influenced by him.
One of the things I really like about this new album are songs with the guest artists. Not because he needs them, but because of the varied music styles that each one brings. You get the down and dirty “Wear You Out” with the Reverend Billy Gibbons bringing it that ZZ Top rockin’ way, a beautiful shuffle, “Baby You Got What It Takes” featuring the gorgeous voice of Joss Stone, and “Flesh & Bone” with Van Morrison which sounds like, well… a Van Morrison record! If that wasn’t enough, Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds is on two tracks and he has to be the best harp player going. One of the reasons I like his style so much is, he can play a solo like the best of them, but often he uses the instrument to fill in like a horn section would – it just adds so much to the overall texture of a track. So, the overall musical journey that we are treated to is very rich and very entertaining. The production is stellar, and let’s not forget the actual GREAT Buddy Guy guitar playing!
I know this all sounds like a bit of a rave, and if it does, it should – this is easily one of my favorite albums of the year!
Just a word on our Buddy Guy guitar contest. We’ve given away a few nice ones over the years, but this polka-dot Strat, Buddy’s signature guitar, is a beaut! Here’s the thing. Whether you are a guitar player or not, I urge all of you to enter this particular contest. If you win, you will have even more than a beautiful signed Buddy Guy signature Fender Stratocaster – you will own a piece of American music history!
God bless Buddy Guy.
© Paul Rappaport 2015