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Buddy Guy - Living Proof



The title in this case really means something. Buddy has struggled through the ups and downs of his career and come out of the other side as one of the most vital and relevant current practioners of the blues. He along with B.B. King and Otis Rush are about the only living major players left from the formative years of electric blues. He possesses the vocal chops and guitar fire of someone far younger. He has survived and evolved his sound to sound current, not relying on his original guitar sound, to the dismay of some blues purists not keen on his soaring, string bending antics. To my ears it’s an extension of his straight forward lyrics that portray life’s realities.

“74 Years Young” is the perfect lead in for what is to come. In it Buddy relates his romantic and musical adventures and proclaims at the song’s conclusion-“I ain’t never had enough of nothin’”. The tale is punctuated by a sizzling guitar attack.

What sounds like the intro to a Muddy Waters song introduces his recounting of learning and practicing his guitar skills much to the chagrin of his family members in “Thank Me Someday”. His brash vocal skills are shown to good affect hear as well as throughout the cd. The lyrical and guitar energy of “On The Road” are equal to or greater than any blues guitar slinger working today. Thankfully the “star” guests are kept to a minimum here and well done. B.B King’s duet with Buddy works fine in the well-worn tradition of melancholy reminiscence blues songs. Carlos Santana keeps the blues vibe intact on “Where The Blues Begin” with his guitar and congas complimenting another of Buddy’s odes to the blues. The approach to the promised land is broached on the slow gospel-tinged “Everybody’s Got To Go”, encased in organ sweet electric piano courtesy of Reese Wynans. The patented Guy feistiness shows up in the bouncy “Let The Door Knob Hit Ya”. An instrumental, something not often seen on a Buddy Guy record, closes out the program. “Skanky” is a funky guitar workout that calls up the ghost of Freddie King.

Yet again Buddy has come up with a solid serving of invigorating blues in a career that shows no sign of slowing down or sinking into mediocrity. The able backing band featuring second guitarist David Grissom and drummer-producer Tom Hambridge do much to bolster the sound of Buddy’s blues vision. For my money this outing lacks some of the imagination, song diversity and stronger song structure of ‘Skin Deep”, but doesn’t lag behind in blues power. Here’s hoping that “The Real Deal” keeps putting out blues music of this quality for a long time. He sho’ nuff’ supplies us with the living proof here.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at

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