Music News

Buddy Guy

Along with B.B. King, George "Buddy" Guy is perhaps the quintessential modern blues singer/guitarist. Born in 1936, Guy came from the original wave of Chicago blues players that made a major impact on rock 'n' roll, establishing himself with Howlin' Wolf, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters before going solo — often co-leading a band with harmonica legend Junior Wells. Guy's trademarks are his piercing, coiled-snake guitar tone and his anguished, seething vocals. And the three-disc (plus DVD) collection Can't Quit the Blues presents several high points from Guy's lengthy career. It's slanted more toward recordings from 1990 and on, with only disc one serving up a cross section of his tenures with the Chess, Vanguard, and Delmark labels. But fortunately, much of Guy's recent work is some of the better/best modern electric blues around. From the distinctively thorny fretboard zing of "Let Me Love You Baby" to the skulking, lubricious primal thump 'n' wails of the previously unreleased "Honey Bee," Can't Quit the Blues is music to make Nick Cave weep and the Rolling Stones faint. Live, Guy can be hit-or-miss, but when he's on, few in blues or rock can touch him.

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Mark Keresman