Clips & Pix: The Rolling Stones & Buddy Guy/Champaign & Reefer

Earlier this week, I found myself in blues heaven. More specifically, I had rented Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away, an excellent documentary about Guy’s life. One of the great scenes (and there are many of them!) is an excerpt from Shine a Light, the 2008 Rolling Stones concert film directed by Martin Scorsese, showing the Stones perform with Buddy Guy, which is also captured in the great clip below.

The footage shows the Stones and Guy playing Champagne & Reefer, a Muddy Waters tune. Check out the interaction between them – it’s just fascinating! Sure, part of it is show, but you can feel how excited the Stones are to play with one of their blues heroes. And the joy is mutual.

Waters included Champagne & Reefer on his final studio album King Bee from 1981. The producer was none other than Johnny Winter who had also produced Waters’ two previous studio albums.

Muddy Waters - King Bee - Amazon.com Music

The Rolling Stones, along with other British artists like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, have been huge fans of American blues artists like Guy, Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, to name a few, and like to play their songs. It’s hard to believe there was a time when these blues luminaries were largely unknown in America outside of Chicago, even though they had performed and recorded there for many years. The Stones, Clapton and Beck were instrumental to raise their popularity in this country, something Guy also stresses in the documentary.

Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away certainly deserves its own post, and I hope I’ll get to it one of these days. For now, I can refer you to Amazon where the film is available for rent. I watched it three times within the 3-day span the rental covers. If you dig Guy and the blues, I can highly recommend it.

Sources: Wikipedia; Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away (Devin Amar, Matt Mitchener, Charles Todd – 2021); YouTube

20 thoughts on “Clips & Pix: The Rolling Stones & Buddy Guy/Champaign & Reefer”

    1. I don’t do things half-ass and three make a charm!

      On a more serious note, I really thought the film was great and worthwhile watching more than once. Listening to the soft-spoken Guy talking about his life was very interesting. The way he told the story sounded very authentic to me. Seeing Guy play guitar outside an official gig like he was sitting right across was cool as well.

      I also like how the film includes commentary throughout from other musicians like Clapton, Santana and Gary Clark Jr. You really get a sense how much these folks respect Guy.

      I could watch stuff like this all day long. Perhaps it’s a good thing I don’t have that kind of time. My wife would probably divorce me! πŸ™‚

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      1. While I think “Let It Be” is a pretty solid album (the title track and “All Across the Universe” are among my all-time Beatles favorites – if they had just included “Don’t Let Me Down!”), I’m much more intrigued about the upcoming Peter Jackson film series than this reissue of the album.

        Giles Martin has done a remarkable job in remixing Beatles music, and his 2021 remixes of “Let It Be” sound great, especially if you listen via headphones. At the same time, I don’t find the differences to the Phil Spector mixes so dramatic. Granted, my “Spector mixes” I had for reference were remixes of the originals.

        Does anyone even know how many times The Beatles’ albums have been remixed. We should count them all! πŸ™‚

        I think sometimes Spector’s work gets too much beaten up. His wall of sound overproduction really came down to the orchestration on “Let It Be” and especially “The Long and Winding Road” – the latter he nearly killed!

        As far as my admittedly high-frequency-hearing-loss impacted ears can tell, for the most part, Giles Martin kept Spector’s treatment but moved the heavy orchestration more to the background, which I happen to like.

        While I also dig the 2003 “Naked” version of the “Let It Be” album, I actually prefer Ringo’s more elaborate drumming on Spector’s mix of “Let It Be,” so I’m glad Giles Martin preserved it in his remix of the tune.

        What I most like about the new reissue is the studio banter and the rehearsals. I’m less sure we need things like Take 14 of “Dig a Pony”, Take 19 of “Get Back” or Take 28 of “Let It Me,” as much as I love this last song, thinking it’s one of Macca’s best vocal performances he has ever done.

        On the other hand, I find Take 4 of “Two of Us” quite intriguing, since the rhythmic difference to what became the version that ended up on the record is quite obvious. I also enjoy the early versions of the tunes that ended up on “Abbey Road.”

        With all that being said, I’m satisfied I can access this 2021 reissue via my streaming music provider. I’m not going to spend the bucks to buy it.

        The Peter Jackson film series is different. We currently don’t have Disney+ at my house, so I will need to get it to watch the film.

        While I doubt Jackson’s film will be a wholesale rewrite of Beatles history, I think it’s going to provide a more balanced view. Despite all tensions among them, The Beatles still had joyful moments in their final years when they put the BS aside played music together. It strikes me that both Ringo and Macca have said so repeatedly. Had been Macca only, perhaps I’d be a bit more skeptical.

        Last but not least, Paul’s comments about The Rolling Stones strike me as strange. While much of the Stones’ music and arguably their best songs are clearly blues-influenced, calling them a “blues cover band” sounds pretty dismissive. I have to believe he didn’t mean it that way.

        In any case, I think comparing the two bands doesn’t make too much sense in the first place. Yes, they started out at around the same time, they both became part of the British invasion, and they were super famous – the Stones still are a big draw! But that’s really where most of the similarities end.

        Rather than comparing the two groups, I think we should simply acknowledge that both are great, but in different ways. The Beatles didn’t manage to put out albums like “Exile on Main St” or “Sticky Fingers”. On the other hand, the Stones never released anything like Sgt. Pepper.

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      2. First of all, great comment. Keep up the good work and Macca will be following you for sure. πŸ™‚

        I agree with you about looking forward to the film more than this album. We kinda knew what to expect with this album.

        We don’t know how many remixes there have been but we do know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

        I never really listened to “Naked.” That and Paul’s attempt that one time to rebrand the songs as McCartney/Lennon. reminds me of Jimmy Page, endlessly repackaging stuff. And Paul’s ego always gets the best of him.

        Agreed, we don’t need 5,000 versions of these songs. But it is fun to hear different takes on stuff. At least once.

        You can get Disney+ and then dump it. Who knows. Maybe they’ll offer a trial period. Not unheard of. Watch ‘Hamilton’ while you have it. You can enjoy our history.

        Yeah, I hope the film is more upbeat than the original. Weirdly, my son is looking forward to it almost more than I am and I would hardly call him a Beatles fan.

        The rivalry between the Beatles and Stones is actually wide and deep. In fact, British bands from that era were VERY competitive with each other. I think Paul knows full well that the Stones are a lot more than a blues cover band. I think in his own way he was saying “We were more innovative.” And that is certainly true.

        What’s interesting if you DO compare the bands is yes ,the Stones are a great blues band. But the Beatles were almost clueless in that genre. “Yer Blues,” “Oh, Darling,” “Old Brown Shoe,” “Don’t Let Me Down.” All bluesy. But they could never pull off a blues jam. I don’t think George really even knew how to play a blues solo. It just wasn’t his thing. You either feel it or you don’t

        So while the Beatles were the more innovative band, the Stones could play very convincing blues AND great pop.

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      3. Thanks, Jim. No question, when it comes to the blues, The Beatles couldn’t compete with the Stones. On the other hand, I would argue the Stones never managed to write a song like “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “A Day in the Life” or “Let It Be”, for that matter.

        Come on, Paul, I know you’re reading this, what’s taking you so long? πŸ™‚ While the Stones are much more than a “blues cover band”, I’ve now repeatedly called out your song “Let It Be” and how much I love The Beatles!

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      4. True on all points. I remember reading about how David Crosby was in the studio when he first heard pre-release Sgt. Pepper. Totally gobsmacked. It wasn’t just the Stones couldn’t do it – nobody could fucking do it.

        Paul is just being coy i think. I’ll have Justin Hayward talk to him.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Y’know, I got to wondering if those guys even knew each other. And then it dawned on me that Denny Laine from the Moodies was in Wings. And then I read that both bands back in the day were managed by Brian Epstein’s NEMS and rode tour buses together. Can’t find any evidence of a Hayward/McCartney connection. I wonder if they ever recorded together.

        Plus, here’s a present for you:

        https://tinyurl.com/ysc8puu7

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