Legends Show (Doc)
I imagine that one of the toughest things in a person's life would be to have a sibling who possesses similar talents but who, for whatever reason, has achieved greater fame. As an athlete, imagine being the brother of Hank Aaron (Tommie), Joe DiMaggio (Dominic) or George Brett (Ken). No matter how good any of the brothers ever were at the sport of baseball, only their more famous brothers will ever be remembered (except maybe as a trivia question). Certainly the same holds true in music where Chicago blues guitarist Phil Guy has played in the shadow of his more famous brother, Buddy Guy, for many
years. However, Phil has his own resume of accomplishments too; having played with Louisiana legend, Raful Neal for several years before becoming a stalwart on the Chicago blues scene. When I learned that Phil Guy would be playing at Legend's Wednesday night Blues Revue in St. Cloud, I jumped at the chance to see him perform.
Backed by his band, The Chicago Machine, Phil Guy proved himself to be a talented guitarist and an astute entertainer, playing an outstanding show at Legend's. Phil opened the show by introducing his band; Doug MacDonald (a.k.a., Razorback) on guitar, Hassan on 6-string bass and Jody Young on drums; and then leaving the stage to allow them to provide the music. Starting with two instrumentals, The Chicago Machine proved to be superior musicians, showing their talents as each member soloed on the second song of the evening, "Come Home Baby." Before Phil came up on stage to perform with the band, Razorback put out an excellent impersonation of Albert King on
"Flooding In California," where he sang and played guitar in a style that was very true to King's. Razorback's "King-like" talents would reemerge several times during the evening, particularly on a song called "Hey Baby!," which included elements of another Albert King song, "Matchbox," and on "That's What The Blues Is All About," also a King standard.
When Phil Guy took the stage, the mood of the band changed, shifting into more of a classic Chicago blues sound. Beginning with "You Got To Help Me," Guy displayed his vocal talents for all to hear. This was followed by the Muddy Water's classic, "Long Distance Call." During the song, Guy ripped off a stellar slide solo, but without the use of any kind of slide, only his fingers. Followed by an outstanding solo by Razorback, this was one of the best songs of the evening, no more than 40 minutes into the first set!
I was surprised that the sets included very few songs from either of Phil Guy's JSP recordings. "Breaking Out On Top" or his latest release, "Say What You Mean." In fact, the only song that I recognized from either CD was a song called "The Last Time" from the new CD. Otherwise, the band's sets were comprised of various well-known cover tunes and standards, including everything from Jimmy Reed's, "Ain't That Loving You Baby" to "I Should Have Quit You A Long Time Ago" and "Turning Point."
As has been my experience with the Wednesday Blues Revue at Legend's in St. Cloud, Phil Guy and The Chicago Machine put on an outstanding show worthy of the appreciate of any blues fan or famous blues brother. Check out Legend's Wednesday night schedule and get up to St. Cloud if you get a chance. It's a quick, easy drive and always worth the trip.
Turtle's Show (Ray)
Looking at Phil Guy you would think he was a dead ringer for comedian Richard Pryor and not Buddy’s younger brother. But this wasn’t a comedy show, it was Phil Guy’s debut at the new blues club in Shakopee, Turtle’s Bar and Grill. It’s not easy playing in the shadow of his more famous brother but Phil, who followed a similar musical path as Buddy, is really his own man with his own style. He has a voice that easily shifts from Chicago blues to Delta to R&B and soul. He sang a very nice version of Otis Redding’s "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" during this show.
Born April 28, 1940, in Lettsworth, Louisiana, Phil Guy was raised in a small town about 60 miles from New Orleans. While growing up Phil cut his musical teeth playing with the likes of Slim Harpo, Silas Hogan, Lazy Lester, and Raful Neal. After moving to Chicago in 1969 he joined his brother’s band and has played with many of the Chicago bluesmen of that era, including Junior Wells, Byther Smith and Jimmy Dawkins. He now tours extensively with his own band.
Turtle’s Bar and Grill is a great new blues venue serving the southwest metro area. They feature blues (both local and touring bands) several time a month with plans to increase that to a weekly basis sometime in the future. The club itself is located adjacent to the existing bar in a restored 1890's building that includes rich wood paneling, tin ceiling and ornate bar. The room is very large with the stage in one corner and glass windows looking out on one of the side streets of downtown Shakopee. Just a short drive south of the River, its nice to be able to go see some live blues on that end of town. Bluesman Eddie Kirkland will be there on October 27th! Stop by sometime soon.
Turtle's Bar & Grill
132 First Ave. E.
Shakopee, MN 55379
This review is copyright © 2000 by Doc Piltz and Ray Stiles, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.