Buddy Guy Fires On All Cylinders On New Album

“The Blues Don’t Lie” coincides with 65th anniversary of legendary guitarist’s arrival to Chicago

Last Friday (September 30), Buddy Guy’s anticipated new album The Blues Don’t Lie came out. Once I started listening to what is yet another late-career gem by the now 86-year-old blues guitar dynamo, I literally couldn’t stop. Sure, Guy doesn’t reinvent the blues, but you can be damn sure the man still got the blues, firing on all cylinders and leaving no doubt he was born to play the guitar.

The release date of the album, Guy’s 19th, coincided with the 65th anniversary of his arrival to Chicago from Louisiana to pursue his calling to play the blues. Once again, production was handled by the great Tom Hambridge, Guy’s longtime collaborator, who also played the drums and co-wrote most of the original tunes.

The Blues Don’t Lie also features notable guests, which according to this review in Rock & Blues Muse include Mavis Staples, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Jason Isbell and Bobby Rush. Reese Wynans, a former member of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backing band Double Trouble, plays keyboards – certainly an impressive cast, but frankly, which musician who digs the blues wouldn’t want to record with Buddy Guy?

I’d say it’s finally time to take a closer look at some of the music on this new album. The opener I Let My Guitar Do the Talking provides a perfect entry point. Co-written by Guy and Hambridge, the tune recalls the above-noted 65th anniversary of Guy’s arrival to the windy city. Now let his guitar do the talking. Check it out – damn!

If I don’t have your attention by now, this post may not be for you. Or maybe give it one more try? How about The World Needs Love, the only tune solely penned by Guy. Sadly, Guy’s words ring very true: The world needs love like never before/The world needs love like never before/People are hurtin’ and killin’ people/People they don’t know…This tune is a great example that the soft-spoken Guy is a great vocalist, in addition to being a killer guitar player!

I’m skipping Guy’s amazing duo with Mavis Staples since I recently covered it here and go right to another guest appearance: Symptoms of Love featuring Elvis Costello. The tune was co-written by Richard Fleming, another longtime collaborator, and Hambridge.

Are you ready for some funky blues? Ready or not, here’s What’s Wrong With That featuring Bobby Rush. Of course, there’s nothing with that! The smoking hot tune, another Fleming-Hambridge co-write, is one of my early favorites.

In addition to 13 original tracks, The Blues Don’t Lie includes three covers. Here’s one of them, which I have a feeling deep inside you may have heard of before: I’ve Got a Feeling, by four lads from Liverpool called The Beatles. The combination of two unfinished songs – Paul McCartney’s I’ve Got a Feeling and John Lennon’s Everybody Had a Hard Year – appeared on Let It Be, the final released (though not the final recorded) album by The Beatles that came out in May 1970. I’ve also got a feeling Sir Paul likes this groovy rendition.

Let’s do one more, another cover: King Bee, a swamp blues classic written by James Moore, aka. Slim Harpo, who also first released it in 1957. The tune has since been recorded by numerous other artists, such as The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters and even early Pink Floyd, who at the time (December 1964) were still called The Tea Set. It’s notable to recall Syd Barrett derived the name Pink Floyd by combining the first names of two blues musicians who were part of his record collection: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. I love Guy’s stripped-back acoustic delivery and his slightly fragile vocals. So good! You also gotta love his final words: “Is that enough? [laughs] All right.”

If you’re still with me, I would encourage you to check out the entire album. Here’s a Spotify link:

So what’s Buddy Guy’s reaction to The Blues Don’t Lie? One clue is the album’s opener: I don’t say too much/I let my guitar do the talking…Another is the following image that accompanied a recent tweet. As they say, a picture speaks more than a thousand words!

Sources: Wikipedia; Rock & Blues Muse; YouTube; Spotify

Advertisement

14 thoughts on “Buddy Guy Fires On All Cylinders On New Album”

  1. This sounds as fresh as you can get… I like his take on I’ve Got A Feeling.
    The name that popped out to me was James Taylor…when I think of blues…Taylor doesn’t come to mind but I’m a fan either way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Buddy Guy is incredible and possibly not human!😆

      When he talks, he’s so soft-spoken. If you met him in the street and didn’t know, you would never guess what a badass guitarist he is!

      And, yep, James Taylor doesn’t look like the most obvious choice to invite as guest on a blues album. That said, he’s done a nice rendition of “Steamroller Blues”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He still looks young also! That is the song I thought of when I heard Taylor was going to be on there.
        Buddy not only is great but he is a great showman.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I saw him last in April at a midisize theater in New Jersey. While it’s obvious he isn’t 26, he certainly is not in bad shape physically speaking, especially for a man who is well into his ’80s. Even more incredible is when he makes announcements in his soft-spoken voice and then starts playing guitar like Jimi Hendrix – it’s really something else, Max!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool! It’s great he’s still recording and the writeup suggests as good as ever… I need to go back and give some of those tracks a listen when I have a bit more time, especially the Costello colab and the Beatles cover. I worked with a gal in the 90s who saw him – at the time she didn’t know much about him and wasn’t a fan of ‘blues’ per se – and she raved about his performance for days.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazing to see a legend still producing the goods. All power to the Guy!
    Saw him live in Melbourne in the 1990s. He was a hoot. Unfurling a super-long guitar lead and strolling into the audience (so I’ve not met him on the street, but been within a yard of the man!). He rarely finished a song in the whole set, seeming to get bored and moving straight into something else. Such a showman.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You said it, amazing! I’ve seen Buddy Guy three times, most recently this April, and he still wanders off the stage to walk through the audience while playing! I don’t know what the man is doing, he literally seems to be like the Duracell bunny – maybe he should be Bunny Guy! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: