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Shows with Buddy Guy in them
George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is a five-time Grammy Award-winning American blues and rock guitarist and singer. Known as an inspiration to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan., and other guitarists, Guy is considered an important exponent of Chicago blues. He is the father of female rapper Shawnna and son Michael. He is the older brother of late blues guitarist Phil Guy.
Guy is known for his showmanship: for example, he plays his guitar with drumsticks, or strolls into the audience while jamming and trailing a long guitar chord.
Guy’s early career was supposedly held back by both conservative business choices made by his record company (Chess Records) and "the scorn, diminishments and petty subterfuge from a few jealous rivals". Chess, Guy’s record label from 1959 to 1968, refused to record Buddy Guy’s novel style that was similar to his live shows. Leonard Chess (Chess founder and 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee) denounced Guy’s playing as "noise". In the early 1960s, Chess tried recording Guy as a solo artist with R&B ballads, jazz instrumentals, soul and novelty dance tunes, but none were released as singles. Guy’s only Chess album, "Left My Blues in San Francisco", was finally issued in 1967. Most of the songs belong stylistically to the era's soul boom, with orchestrations by Gene Barge and Charlie Stepney. Chess used Guy mainly as a session guitarist to back Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor and others.
Buddy Guy was a leading star at the 1969 Supershow at Staines, England that also included Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Stephen Stills, Buddy Miles, Glen Campbell, Roland Kirk, and Jon Hiseman. Image: 1969 Supershow.
By the late 1960s, Guy's career was in decline. The heavy blues-rock scene he had helped inspire was flourishing without him. For the next two decades, Buddy Guy had to endure the neglect many blues and rock artists faced in their careers: As visionaries and pathfinders they are overlooked while their followers received the fame, recognition and fortune.
Guy's career finally took off during the blues revival period of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was sparked by Clapton's request that Guy be part of the '24 Nights' all-star blues guitar lineup at London's Royal Albert Hall and Guy's subsequent signing with Silvertone Records.
On July 7, 2008, Guy was presented with an
Award for performing in all four decades of the Montreux Jazz
As New York Times pop music critic Jon Pareles noted in 2004:
Mr. Guy, 68, mingles anarchy, virtuosity, deep
blues and hammy shtick in ways that keep all eyes on him... [Guy]
loves extremes: sudden drops from loud to soft, or a sweet,
sustained guitar solo followed by a jolt of speed, or a high,
imploring vocal cut off with a rasp...Whether he's singing with
gentle menace or bending new curves into a blue note, he is a master
of tension and release, and his every wayward impulse was riveting.
Guy’s songs have been covered by Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan., John Mayall, Jack Bruce, and others. Several of Guy’s early songs and licks were allegedly stolen by the late Willie Dixon and Guy’s early record companies. Regardless, Guy is perhaps better known for his creative interpretation of the work of other songwriters.
Traditional blues fans may appreciate the
albums, The Very Best of Buddy Guy, Blues Singer, Junior Wells'
Hoodoo Man Blues, A Man & The Blues and I Was Walking Through The
Woods. Contemporary blues and rock fans may appreciate Slippin’ In,
Sweet Tea, Stone Crazy, Buddy's Baddest: The Best Of Buddy Guy, Damn
Right, I’ve Got The Blues, and D.J. Play My Blues. Guy's live show
is featured in the video Live! The Real Deal and he performs in the
DVDs Lightning In a Bottle, Crossroads Guitar Festival,
Clapton: 24 Nights, Festival Express, and A Tribute to
One trick Guy has perfected in recent years is pulling someone out of the audience—often an attractive woman—and having her paw the strings on his guitar, as Guy fingers the frets with his left hand. At one concert in the early '90s, playing to a huge hometown audience at Chicago's Ravinia Festival, Guy grabbed a nine-year-old boy by the wrist, pulled him on stage, and had him play the right-hand part of a robust and drawn-out solo. Guy has also left the stage entirely at concerts and into the spectator area. At a concert in Hamilton Place, Ontario, Buddy Guy walked into different sections of the stadium and sat with the audience while he continued to play a guitar solo. He would often say comments to the audience such as "that's really me playing".
Tom Lavin remembers the first time he saw Buddy Guy at a college concert. "Buddy was wearing a leopard skin blazer and when he soloed with one hand while he removed his jacket and then switched to soloing with the other hand while he took off the other sleeve, never missing a note. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Right there I knew that's what I wanted to do."
Guy recalls, "The first guitar player I saw
putting on a show was Guitar Slim—I must've been 13 years old—he
came out riding that guitar, wearing a bright red suit. I thought;
'I wanna sound like B.B. King, but I wanna play guitar like that.' "
"Buddy's act was not premeditated or contrived," Donald Wilcox said
in his biography of Guy. "His style was merely a natural by-product
of being self-taught, having a compulsion to play, and being
insecure enough to feel that if he didn't dazzle and hypnotize his
audience with the flamboyant techniques he'd seen work for Guitar
Slim, he'd be buried by competition from guitarists who were better
As Josh Hathaway once observed: “Rock and roll just could not be the same without Buddy Guy.” Buddy Guy helped modernize the blues, “moving the blues forward without losing sight of its roots.”
Buddy Guy has been called the bridge between the blues and rock and roll. He is one of the historic links between Chicago electric blues pioneers Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and popular musicians like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page as well as later revivalists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.. This was what Stevie Ray Vaughan. meant when he said, "Without Buddy Guy, there would be no Stevie Ray Vaughan.." Even Guitarist magazine observed:
Without Buddy Guy, the blues, not to mention rock
as we know it, might be a heckuva lot less interesting today. Take
the blues out of contemporary rock music—or pop, jazz and funk for
that matter—and what you have left is a wholly spineless affair. A
tasteless stew. Makes you shudder to think about it...
Guy could arguably be considered the inspiration, directly or indirectly, for every rock power trio format since Cream (i.e., bands such as Beck Bogert Appice, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Rush, etc.). Clapton admitted that he got his idea for a blues-rock power trio during his teenage years while watching Buddy Guy's trio perform in England in 1965. Clapton later formed the rock band Cream, which was “the first rock supergroup to become superstars” and was also “the first top group to truly exploit the power-trio format, in the process laying the foundation for much blues-rock and hard rock of the 1960s and 1970s.”
Recalls Guy: "Eric Clapton and I are the best of friends and I like the tune 'Strange Brew' and we were sitting and having a drink one day and I said ‘Man, that "Strange Brew"...you just cracked me up with that note.’ And he said ‘You should...cause it's your licks...’ " As soon as Clapton completed his famous Derek & the Dominos sessions (spawning "Layla") in October 1970, he co-produced (with Ahmet Ertegün and Tom Dowd) the Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play The Blues album with Guy's longtime harp and vocal compatriot. That record, released in 1972, is regarded by some critics as among the finest electric blues recordings of the modern era.
In recognition of Guy's influence on Hendrix's career, the Hendrix family invited Buddy Guy to headline all-star casts at several Jimi Hendrix tribute concerts they organized in recent years, "calling on a legend to celebrate a legend." Jimi Hendrix himself once said that “Heaven is lying at Buddy Guy’s feet while listening to him play guitar.” Songs such as "Red House", "Voodoo Chile" and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" partly came from the sonic world that Buddy Guy helped to create. According to the Fender Players’ Club: “Almost ten years before Jimi Hendrix would electrify the rock world with his high-voltage voodoo blues, Buddy Guy was shocking juke joint patrons in Baton Rouge with his own brand of high-octane blues. Ironically, when Buddy’s playing technique and flamboyant showmanship were later revealed to crossover audiences in the late Sixties, it was erroneously assumed that he was imitating Hendrix."
Stevie Ray Vaughan. once declared that Buddy Guy "plays from a place that I've never heard anyone play." Vaughan continued:
Buddy can go from one end of the spectrum to another. He can play quieter than anybody I've ever heard, or wilder and louder than anybody I've ever heard. I play pretty loud a lot of times, but Buddy's tones are incredible…he pulls such emotion out of so little volume. Buddy just has this cool feel to everything he does. And when he sings, it's just compounded. Girls fall over and sweat and die! Every once in a while I get the chance to play with Buddy, and he gets me every time, because we could try to go to Mars on guitars but then he'll start singing, sing a couple of lines, and then stick the mike in front of me! What are you gonna do What is a person gonna do! Jeff Beck affirmed:
Geez, you can’t forget Buddy Guy. He transcended
blues and started becoming theater. It was high art, kind of like
drama theater when he played, you know. He was playing behind his
head long before Hendrix. I once saw him throw the guitar up in the
air and catch it in the same chord.
According to Jimmy Page: “Buddy Guy is an
absolute monster” and “There were a number of albums that everybody
got tuned into in the early days. There was one in particular
called, I think, American Folk Festival Of The Blues, which featured
Buddy Guy—he just astounded everybody.” Former
bassist Bill Wyman: “Guitar Legends do not come any better than
Buddy Guy. He is feted by his peers and loved by his fans for his
ability to make the guitar both talk and cry the blues… Such is
Buddy’s mastery of the guitar that there is virtually no guitarist
that he cannot imitate.” Guy has opened for the Rolling Stones on
numerous tours since the early 1970s. Slash: "Buddy Guy is the
perfect combination of R&B and hardcore rock and roll."
Billy Gibbons: "He (Buddy Guy) ain't no trickster. He may appear
surprised by his own instant ability but, clearly, he knows what's
up." Lonnie Brooks: “Buddy Guy is a master. He’s the bravest guitar
player I’ve ever seen on a bandstand. He’ll pull you into his trap
and kill you. He owns that bandstand and everyone knows it when
Buddy’s up there."