Buddy Guy is damn right I got the blues

Buddy Guy’s album Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues is a commercial comeback masterpiece that earned him the recognition he deserved after a decade-long hiatus from recording his own music.

Buddy Guy, one of the most enduring and amazing performers in the blues canon, has announced that his upcoming tour of Australia will be his last. Though he performs at least 130 nights a year, including a regular residency at his famed Chicago blues club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, this farewell tour marks the end of an era for the legendary musician. By popular demand, Bluesfest Touring presents a final show for Guy at the State Theatre, a fitting farewell to a true icon of American music.

As well as saying goodbye to his Australian fans, Buddy Guy’s upcoming tour is also an opportunity to reflect on his legendary career, which has spanned numerous albums and collaborations with some of music’s biggest names. Among his most iconic works is the album Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues, a commercial and critical success that marked his comeback in the early 1990s.

With its stripped down sound and guest appearances by guitar legends Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, the album cemented Guy’s place in the pantheon of blues greats. As he prepares to take the stage for his final performances Down Under, it’s worth taking a look back at this seminal album and its influence on the genre.

buddy guy

George “Buddy” Guy, a renowned American blues guitarist and singer, was instrumental in shaping the Chicago blues scene and inspiring generations of musicians. Though often categorized as a Chicago blues artist, Guy’s musical style is unparalleled. His repertoire spans the deepest, most traditional blues, as well as a dynamic and innovative blend of avant-garde rock, soul and free jazz that changes from one performance to the next.

After a hiatus of almost a decade from recording his own music, Buddy Guy released Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues in 1991. Recorded at Battery Studios New York and produced by John Porter, best known for Roxy Music, BB King, Ryan Adams and Missy Higgins among others. Though Guy’s influence on the blues was widely recognized by luminaries like Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guy had largely flown under the radar by the 1980s. But with the support of Silvertone Records and producer John Porter, he triumphantly returned to the recording studio.

When it came to recording Buddy Guy’s legendary album Damn Right…, Porter assembled a top-notch group of musicians to accompany the blues legend. The producer has selected an impressive line-up which includes Guys bassist Greg Rzab, Little Feats Richie Hayward on drums, keyboardists Mick Weaver and Pete Wingfield, guitarists Neil Hubbard and Porter himself, backing vocalists Tessa Niles, Katie Kissoon and Carol Kenyon, and saxophonist Malcolm embraced. Molly’ Duncan. To add some extra flair to the album, Porter also recruited the legendary Memphis Horns and even convinced British guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler to play on a few tracks.

Despite the trend of filling albums with big guest stars that were to come, Porter’s decision to include these guitar greats was a wise one. “Buddy went out for about $500 a night or so and was very low key. He’s always been one of my absolute heroes as a guitarist and as a singer, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s load this record up a bit with some ‘names’ on it and maybe we can sell a few copies.’ ‘ Porter recalls. And it sold, becoming one of only a handful of blues albums to sell over a million copies and earning Guy and Porter a GRAMMY win.

The album’s stripped-down sound, featuring just a Fender Stratocaster and a couple of Fender Tweed amps, was a perfect fit for an electro-blues artist with Guy’s classic Chicago roots. With an effortless fluidity, Guy sings with both a subdued menace and fearless creativity, navigating the blues with masterful ease. Possessing an unparalleled ability to create and release tension, he captivates his audience with every unexpected turn. Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues was a commercial and critical success, and the 2005 Expanded Edition added two bonus tracks.

buddy guy

Few artists have attempted to improve upon the classic golden age blues records of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, but Buddy Guy has done just that, continuing to innovate and inspire with every new release. Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues features a cast of heavyweights including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler, as well as Memphis Horns talent: Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love and Jack Hale. With this album, Guy cemented his place in the pantheon of blues greats and reaffirmed his status as one of the finest guitarists alive, as Clapton once put it.

Whether experimenting with novel twists on classic blues riffs or pushing the limits of what the genre can achieve, Guy’s every spontaneous impulse is utterly captivating. His music defies easy description and instead needs to be experienced first hand to be truly appreciated.

Buddy Guy will be headlining Bluesfest 2023.

https://happymag.tv/why-it-mattered-buddy-guy/ Buddy Guy is damn right I got the blues

Adam Bradshaw

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