Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Congratulations to Buddy Guy...

...The O'Jay's, The Pretenders, and Percy Sledge for being inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Thanks but no thanks to the induction of U2, for they ruined rock music. Sorry.For a detailed description of Buddy Guy's achievement, view here.

I was first exposed to Buddy Guy from his early Chess recordings when he was playing guitar for Muddy Waters, then his acoustic collaboration with Junior Wells. Buddy Guy has the most electrifying guitar sound of all blues cats I've heard, and his singing is as expressive as it is fiery. It's almost that he's always angry about something. He's got a nice stage presence. Some of his best recordings can be found on bootlegs when he did his trio thing with just guitar, bass and drums. And he fills all the voids with his almost flawless guitar licks or solos. I think Hendrix actually learned that from him.

Buddy Guy became a superstar in the rock world in early 90's when his recording Damn Right I've Got the Blues reached a wider CD-buying audience, and he became a household name ever since. His presence is still strong; approaching the age of 70, Buddy is one of the hardest working bluesmen ever, working 300+ days a year. I saw him on a Crossroad guitar DVD recently, and he looked as if he was in his early 40's. This guy's youthfulness is utterly unbelievable.

However, I must say Buddy's live performance these days is a hit-or-miss. I saw him at 9:30 the night after 9/11. Never finishing a song and often indecisive, Buddy would try to impress the audience by imitating Clapton, Stevie and Hendrix. His shows, even though still showcasing his guitar talent, have become a junkfest of haphazard chops and ego-boosting utterances. Therefore, to approach Buddy Guy's music and his influence on modern music, one should start from a historical perspective.

Like Johnny Winter, James Brown, the late Jimmy Smith, one must appreciate Guy's music simply because he was once great. I'll always remember this famous Guy quote: "A lot of people tell me, Blues, they make you cry. I say, then you better not come see me, because I will make you the happiest person you ever seen!"

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