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

Clips & Pix: Joe Bonamassa/A Conversation With Alice

I just came across this great brand new tune by Joe Bonamassa, A Conversation With Alice. As reported by Guitar World, the track is the first from a forthcoming British blues-rock studio album he recorded at Abbey Road Studios. As I found out after some digging, it was co-written by English blues and rock guitarist Bernie Marsden and Bonamassa.

Bonamassa is backed by The Sleep Eazys, an instrumental band featuring Anton Fig (drums), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Lee Thornburg (trumpet) and Paulie Cerra (saxophone). Michael Rhoades rounds out Bonamassa’s band on bass.

The new single comes right on the heels of Easy to Buy, Hard to Sell, an instrumental album Bonamassa and The Sleep Eazys released on April 10, apparently, as a tribute to guitarist Danny Gatton, one of Bonamassa’s mentors. I haven’t listened to that one yet.

A Conversation With Alice “is derived by an experience I had a couple years ago when some friends of mine intervened and said, ‘You know what Joe? You should go ahead and talk to someone about these problems you have that come up time and time again’,” Bonamassa told Guitar World.

“I went to see this lovely woman in Los Angeles, CA and began talking about my problems. After the second session I came to the conclusion that I was unrepairable and that the crazy in me makes me good at my job. I like being good at my job…I think I’m good at my job, unless you ask the internet. Which then there’s some debate, which bolsters the crazy. See how it’s all interrelated? So, I wrote a song about it.”

While I should probably listen to more of Bonamassa’s work to come to my own conclusion, I know one thing for sure: That new song friggin’ rocks, and I’ll be sure to look out for that forthcoming album. Since Guitar World didn’t mention anything else other than it’s scheduled for later this year, I assume Bonamassa hasn’t revealed any additional details yet. A Conversation With Alice is a great tease.

Sources: Wikipedia; Guitar World; YouTube