Buddy Guy broke out of the Chicago barrel of blues fish with his initial session work for Chess, and the cutting of his own sides throughout the sixties for Phil and Leonard Chess. Buddy had taken the Delta blues of his Louisiana upbringing, the advice of Chicago master Muddy Waters, and his own allegiance to electric rock-bound guitar pyromania, and cut a blistering swath across the Chi-Town cityscape. The music he cut for Chess from his 1960 debut, through his 1967 departure, spelled the direction that his musical journey would take.
Buddy surrounded and was surrounded by some of Chicago's finest bluesmen including the recently-deceased saxman Little Bobby Neely, pianist Little Brother Montgomery, Fred Below on the drums, Otis Spann on piano, saxist Abb Locke, Lafayette Leake with the organ, Lefty Blake and Matt Murphy on second guitars, saxmen A. C. Reed and Gene Barge, and Junior Wells on the harmonica. Mix-matching this personnel and others of top caliber, Buddy's expressive guitar and his stridently individual vocals lay atop like sweet frosting.
There are eleven songs here and five come from Buddy: his well-known "Stone Crazy", "Leave My Girl Alone", "She Suits Me To A Tee" , and his co-written duo with Junior Wells, "Talkin' 'Bout Women Obviously". He does studio stalwart Willie Dixon's: "Let Me Love You Baby", the jazz tinged "Pretty Baby", the deep-blue "When My Left Eye Jumps", and an alternate take on "Too Many Ways". His redux of Sonny Boy's "Keep It To Yourself" and the Badger-Geddins-Feinburg "My Time After While" finish out the collection. The Strat master, Guy, is shown in all his axe and vocal splendor with this small slice of his workbody.
Built and styled aboard some of the best support Chicago could offer, Buddy kept playin' the blues like his great mentor, Muddy Waters, told him. Still pushing the axe envelope, Guy continues to pack the houses with his incessant blues-fevered approach. This collection takes a bite into now-five decade career of the reigning head of the Chicago school of blues. An importantly formative, but already matured, stylistic period in his life; this assembly of 60s Buddy is powerful and incomparable.
MCA Records; 2220 Colorado Ave.; Santa Monica, CA 90404: or, www.umusic.com
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