Sunday, October 11, 2015

Buddy Guy Born To Play Guitar

With B.B. King's recent passing, Buddy Guy probably has assumed the role of elder statesman of the Blues. Regardless of this, Guy has a new recording to entertain folk with "Born To Play Guitar" (Silvertone/RCA Records), that has something for everybody in terms of material and performance style. In addition to Guy and his band, he also has guest appearances from Kim Wilson, Billy Gibbons, Van Morrison and Joss Stone and like his recent recordings is produced by Tom Hambridge.

The opening title track is a semi-autobiographical number as he sings he was born to play guitar and that he has a reputation that everybody knows his name, and has blues running through his veins, that opens with spare backing and which is generally played with restraint (compared to some of Guy's efforts). "Wear You Out," with Billy Gibbons adding his raspy singing, is more in a blues-rock vein and less satisfying to these ears. A rendition of the Little Walter recording "Too Late" has a nice vocal, rollicking shuffle piano and tough harmonica from Wilson, although I find the next track, " Whiskey Bear & Wine" less enjoyable because of the hard rock flavor of the rhythm (especially the bass).

Joss Stone joins for a duet on the Dinah Washington-Brook Benton hit, "(Baby) You Got What It Takes," and with Buddy adding chords and single note runs, Stone an him trade verses in an energetic manner. The interesting topical blues "Crazy World" makes use of vocal and instrumental effects as he sings about the selling water and someday they will sell the air we breathe while "Back Up Mama" is a variation on the back door man theme as he has a backup mama if mama number one is not around.

Van Morrison joins guy for "Flesh & Bone," a song occasioned by the passing of B.B. King as Morrison sings it ain't over when one dies, and when one goes, one's spirit lives on while Buddy remembers his parents and still with him even though long gone and this life is more than flesh and bones. "Come Back Muddy" finds Buddy unplugged and singing that he wishes Muddy would come back, that Buddy would love to hear his voice and let us make us some of that old nasty noise on a marvelous heartfelt performance to close this recording.

There is something for a whole spectrum of blues and rock fans here. Even those with more traditional blues tastes should enjoy a good portion of "Born To Play Guitar." In any event, Buddy Guy continues to follow his own muse with plenty of heat.

I downloaded a review copy thanks to a publicist. Here is the title track.

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