Clingman71; thanks for the notice-- I'm a Buddy Guy fan too. Cheers. Craig
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Unfortunately we all are not getting younger and many things that we were able naturally to do in past are getting to be more difficult for us and some impossible. Leaving aside a certain simplification of music Buddy regrettably demonstrated in his last album a singing with difficulties. The most unpleasant was not to hear that he was not able to sing but to hear how he was trying to mask it out and to fake it as a creativeness. It is very apologetic and petty development .
Verybigass; I'm sorry I asked. I did not know at the time who I was responding to. After reading your last post I went back for another listen. Well Buddy Guy has one of the most beautiful and emotive voices of any blues singer I have ever heard. I suspect this genre of music may not be your area of expertise. Have you listened to any Howlin' Wolf lately? How about John Lee Hooker, although we all know he he couldn't sing well after 1958 or so.
Bought it today at Borders, put it on and was doing some chores around the house, so not a close listen yet. No complaints, but probably no Handy Award either.
I wonder if this recording is some sort of a response to Sweet Tea's psychodelica? I don't know, but I'm still kinda cool to Sweet Tea. Sometimes I think that it's unlistenable--all that reverb! It's as if Buddy has just discovered the fun of pedals, and he's got 'em all turned up to "11." Still not sure of the point of it all.
Anyway, I think that Blues Singer seems to be an answer to all of those who thought that Sweet Tea was too far out. This latest effort seems to be Buddy saying, "See, I still sing the blues!" I don't think that Buddy needs to do this; I just want him to play the music that HE wants to play. The thing is, Blues Singer is probably closer to home for him. After all, he's pretty much the living history of post-war (that's WW II, y'all!) blues.
I finally got a copy of this and sat down for a serious listen. I like Buddy Guy in general, and this is a fantastic recording in many regards, but I've got to be honest and say that there are several songs on the album that start out with a ton of promise, my foot starts tapping, and as soon as Buddy opens his mouth I want him to just leave the damn room and I can't stop my hand from reaching for the remote to skip to the next track.
Certainly not a waste of $9.00, but now that I've listened to it I know why I was able to find it in the used CD section already-
Personally, I think that Buddy's best work was done in the early to mid 60's with Junior Wells. Junior was definitely the leader of that band, much more innovative, and held everything together. Buddy's more recent work (say the past 15 years) shows a propensity for histrionics, both in his playing and singing. In many cases his bands at live shows leave a lot to be desired and the talent level in the bands simply is not there; my gut feeling is that he can get away with paying this type of talent less and realizes that he can draw on his own reputation, particularly with white suburban audiences who may be appriciative but not particularly well exposed to great blues (unfortunately we all can't live in Chicago, Memphis, Houston or other blues haunts). For now, though, I think Buddy lives mainly on his reputation. He'll be in my city this summer for a local blues festival, but I doubt if I'll make much of an effort to see him. As the post above suggests, his vocals can get a bit on your nerves and for my money there are probably at least a dozen better guitar players playing in relative obscurity in Chicago today.
Crazy: I'm all for that; you have to respect a bluesman like Buddy who has been plying his trade for more than 40 years and who has also been a strong promoter of the blues through his ownership of clubs. And there is no denying his influence on the current generation of guitarists in Chicago as a "bridge" from the early post war sounds of Muddy, etc. to the current era, as well as his influence on rock guitarists.
I have been a Buddy Guy fan a long time and agree with HDM that there was much great work with Junior Wells, and a lot of average stuff since. But I really really like Blues Singer. If it has to rock out for your juices to flow, then you will not like this album, for sure. And if I read between the lines then that appears to be the main reason for the negative words above. But I like it and cannot relate to the "too much reverb" and "has to fake singing" comments at all with this one.
Buddy's peak work is in the past, but at 67 years of age he's still an exciting artist. Personally, I think his best work was the band he had with Junior Wells and his brother Phil Guy in the early 70s. As far as his acoustic work goes, I recommend you track down an album on Blue Thumb records "Buddy & the Juniors". Its Guy on guitar with Junoir Mance (piano) and Junoir Wells (harmonica). It's a definite treat.
I have that Cd, and you are right. No argument, his work with Junior Wells was the best. For me, what was great on that work was Buddy's guitar, and Junior's singing. Buddy's singing has been more erratic, sometimes lacking soul, sometimes not. Blues Singer is a bit odd in that Buddy sings the blues very gently. There is a place for that and the singing has soul this time. And this time the lightning licks are absent and rightly so with this form of material. But the timing and bending of the notes is still a master at play.
Firstly, let me state that Buddy Guy is perhaps one of the best blues guitarsts alive. I found his Blues singer a bit of a let down compaired to one of the greatest albums ever Sweet Tea. I will also state that I saw both shows in NYC and quite a few were disappointed at the blues singer show. At the sweet tea show people were more than cheering,
they were gasping. They did not believe that anybody can be this good. Buddy Guy himself commented that he will no longer look at the song list, or alloted time per track. He
knew something special was going on. Acoustically, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, "Alone & Acoustic" is by far better. I
urge every Buddy Guy fan to go out & get Sweet Tea, but beware you will expect this kind or preformance from him all the time.
Thanks for that Buddy Guy reco to all of us. I must try to lay my hands on that. Do you know if it is available on vinyl?
I have Buddy Guy's "I Left My Blues in San Fransisco" on vinyl. I can say that I'm very disappointed by it - I find Buddy shrieking all over the place in every song! Drives me crazy! And, it's supposed to be one of his better efforts! Compared to other offerings that I have from BB King, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters & the Chess Records samplers, I find this part. album rather bad, if I may say so. I know that I like the Blues very much but my taste in this genre is still developing. Maybe I need to bolt myself in my seat & listen again (rather than jumping up & lifting the stylus off!).
Its a shame that Sweet Tea is not aviable on vinyl.Get it
on CD as soon as possible. Just try not to laugh out loud at the review that is on the cover. Andy Ellis from Guitar Player Mag. states "anyone who understands Tom Waits or Portishead will immeditately understand the brooding spooky esthetics" NO this CD is Juinor Kimbrough kicked up
several notches. If you want some decent Buddy Guy vinyl pressings that are cheap get his Alligator pressings.
P.S. does anyone know what a Portishead is ?
Unfortunately, Buddy has only two entries in the Alligator catalog: "Stone Crazy" and "Alone and Acoustic," the latter, of course, is shared with Junior Wells.
It's a shame, because both of these recordings are arguably his best performances. I believe that Buddy and Bruce Igueler (sp?) of Alligator had a bit of a falling out, and Buddy did not have a record release in the U.S. for over 10 years--a true crime. And I just don't get it because Albert Collins had all the support in the world from Alligator; what made Buddy so different? Alone and Acoustic sat in the can until "Damn Right I Got The Blues"--on Silvertone--was released. I guess Alligator finally believed that it had a "viable product." Don't you just "LOVE" the record industry??? It's things like this for which Buddy need make no apologies.
I hate to say it but the last two times that Buddy Guy was in NYC he was a big dissapointment. Yes I am an advid blues fan especially the Chicago electric style. The last ( and I do mean last time I will see him ) was at Lincoln center with a host of stars. All Buddy Guy did is come out with his pokka-dotted pants & matching guitar and promote some young kid who wasn't that good, or at least needed more practice to stay on stage with that lineup. He stood up and just strummed some notes to the music. Buddy Guy runs hot and cold. What is traditional for him is to do a tribute to past blues artists in music. The first time it was good, by the 4th time you are sick of it. If I had a nickel for every time I him say " Its so Funky in here I can Smell it " I could retire. Most of Buddy Guys' material is very good, but Sweet Tea just shows what new hight he can easily attain, and I wish he would stay at that level.
Again I will say Blblues68 when Eric Clapton was asked who was the best all around guitarist in the business his answer was Buddy Guy. The problem with these great artists is since they have nothing to prove, why bother working. I saw the Blues Singer tour at the Beacon theater in NYC, and allthough it was a very good show, compaired to his preformance of Sweet Tea I couldn't get into it. I feel the Sweet Tea show was the highest point this Blues Man reached. People wern't cheering as much as ghasping at what an astounding preformance it was. Why not maintain this level of output. I just saw Bryan Lee ( who is also about 70yrs old ) and blind to boot and his show was way better that the last terrible preformance of Buddy Guy at Lincoln center. I think that it is time to move on with this artist.
Artists I want to see move on are The Stones and Areosmith and 99% of the so called musicians I hear played on MTV and my local radio stations, not Buddy Guy. Most of the true Blues Legends that actually lived the Blues have already left us BB and Buddy are two that haven't. They have spent there lives trying to keep the Blues alive by inspiring young artists like Jonny Lang and KWS to keep the tradition going (which they haven't by listening to their latest efforts). I first saw Buddy in the 80's and have seen him almost 20 times since then, and will continue to dish out my $25 to see him and Jonny Lang at the end of this month. As far as Sweet Tea it is actually one of my least favorite Buddy albums it is very bass heavy and it seems to drone on and on it is very hard for me to listen to the whole thing. That's cool you were able to see Bryan Lee I have a few of his Cds and have always wanted to catch a live show, By the way Brian Lee was born in 1945 and Buddy in 1936 age has caught up to him in the last ten years "Done Got Old"!
If you've been a Buddy Guy fan for a long time you have to be aware that his live and recorded performances have ALWAYS been extremely variable. I saw him regularly for a span of almost 20 years starting in the late 70s and can say with confidence that you never knew which Buddy was going to show up; the take no prisoners, nobody's ever played better Buddy, or the I'm mailin' this one in from a couple of states over Buddy. There was a span of a few years in the early 80s that he so desperately sucked that I swore I would never see him again. Then I saw him with Jr. Wells at the Beacon and he was so great that my goose bumps got goose bumps.
I think he is one of the quintessential blues men. His heart is always on his sleeve and if he feels like crap, so goes his playing. Substance abuse may also be a problem as it is with a great many performers. We should support him while he is still with us.