Friday, October 23, 2009

Buddy Guy Plays the Blues

Originally posted on November 26, 2007

Another work week descends upon us. When I was much younger the free summer concerts in Central Park NYC were hosted by Schaeffer Beer. In 1967 a friend and I went to the so-called Schaeffer Beer Festival to catch a promising lineup: Buddy Guy and the Mothers of Invention. I didn’t know much about Buddy Guy then and there I stood when he opened the show. It was electric blues from Chicago, more electric than I had ever heard any Chicago bluesman play. It was excellent. Guy was on fire. He played “Sunshine of Your Love,” a Cream staple and big hit of the day. Later, Zappa did the song too, as a sort of rejoiner! Anyway, I went away quite impressed. Years went by and I ended up in Chicago for graduate school in the early ‘80s. Guy was knocking them dead at the South Side’s Checkerboard Lounge, but I never seemed to get the chance to go. It was where blues was played at its best and it started late and ended much later. I was too busy getting the schoolwork done and I still regret not having made the trip.

Buddy Guy lives through his recordings as well, though, so I’ve continued to appreciate him. He is certainly one of the greatest electric blues guitarists ever and a tremendous vocal power. Right now I’m checking out a CD that sounds like it was recorded in the ‘70s-‘80s called Buddy Guy and Friends, Volume One (St. Claire). Some of this CD was recorded at the Checkerboard Lounge, some in the studio. It is all great. Check this one out if you can find it.

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