Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Buddy Guy Live At Legends

In considering Buddy Guy’s new release, Live at Legends (Silvertone), one is struck by a couple of things. These are not the first live recordings Buddy has made at Legends as several years ago he offered a series of live recordings from his annual run (I purchased two of them). Secondly, on an album titled Live at Legends, it is odd to have some of the recordings included being studio recordings, as if they did not have more live material they could have included.

Musically this is the hard-edged Stone Crazy Buddy Guy with a mix of frenzied styled performances with searing guitar backed by a rock-tinged rhythm section. Unlike the 2004 performances, there are no saxophones to provide another solo voice (although when Guy explodes his solos, is any other voice needed). There is a nice piano break on the opening Best Damn Fool. His enduring love of Muddy Waters is reflected in renditions of Mannish Boy and a medley of I Just Want To Make Love To You with Bobby Rush’s Chicken Heads, with Guy engaging in a bit of call and response with the Legends’ audience on I Just Want To Make Love To You. The appealing Skin Deep benefits from opening in a more relaxed vein before Buddy cranks it up a notch with his solo before taking it down to sing its message about treat others like you want them to treat you. 

After a searing Damn Right I Got the Blues, Guy follows with relatively short medleys of Boom Boom/ Strange Brew, and Voodoo Chile/ Sunshine of Your Love, expressing his admiration for John Lee Hooker and then Clapton and Hendrix. On a live recording, I would rather have heard Buddy revisit at Legends some of his early recordings such as First Time I Met The Blues or My Time After Awhile, than three previously unissued studio recordings although they are pretty similar in the vein of Buddy’s most recent recordings.

Certainly Guy’s many fans will savor the explosive performances on Live at Legends. While blues traditionalists will find this a bit over the top, the fact is Buddy has remained true to his own muse and plays in a manner than belies his age. 

I received my review copy from a publicist.  Here is Buddy Guy doing a song associated with Otis Rush.

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