Charging Up This Guy's Electric Blues

POPULAR MUSIC AINU JAZZ

by Charles M. Young and Francis Davis

CHARGING UP THIS GUY’S ELECTRIC BLUES

Buddy Guy

disciple of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy has been playing electric blues for more than 30 years, ever since leaving his sharecropper parents in Louisiana for Chicago. After going into an extended career eclipse, he’s been enjoying a revival since Eric Clapton invited him to duet during a concert series in London in 1990. What sets Guy apart from many of the elder statesmen who play to mostly white, mostly ecstatic audiences who hunger for authenticity on the blues circuit is his tremendous energy. Beyond guitar chops, his great gift is enthusiasm. On Feels Like Rain (Silvertone) he is joined by Bonnie Raitt on the title cut, by Paul Rodgers on “Some Kind of Wonderful,” by Travis Tritt on “Change in the Weather,” and by John Mayall on “I Could Cry.” This all-star revival format worked for John Lee Hooker and for Guy himself on Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues, in 1991. He apparently believes that if it ain’t broke—which it ain’t—why fix it? Nine of the 11 songs are covers, but Guy performs with such energy that they all sound fresh. And they’ll still sound fresh when you see him on tour this spring and summer. —C.M.Y.