Buddy Guy is 74-years-old and his latest album — Living Proof — dropped today and that collection of gut and grit is, without a doubt, spectacular. Buddy Guy is one of our greatest American Blues Heroes. He has transformed his talent into something bright, white-hot, and unbending.
Buddy started playing the Blues in the 1950’s, but his record company hated his original, organic, guitar style and ordered him to play The Blues as it had always been: Calm and Soulful.
It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that Buddy could play The Blues his way and without any commercial interference.
Finally able to honor his own ignited, and set-free, talent, Buddy found his greatest fame and everlasting longings as he played the music he wanted to record — and the rest of a burgeoning Blues history full of spanking guitar riffs and a rhythmic, thumping, right thumb — was born.
The album is packed with vicious Blues riffs in songs like “Living Proof” and “Guess What” and “Too Soon” — but the album fails a bit when Buddy gets melancholy in “Everybody’s Got to Go” and “Stay Around a Little Longer.”
Buddy Guy’s Blues are cruel and biting — and every single cut of the album should slice us.
Here’s a screenshot of my iTunes account proving I actually purchased “Living Proof” and the proof is in the Pinging!
Here’s an example from the first cut on the album — “74 Years Young” — where you are lulled into a plonky, country, rhythm that explodes into a scathing Blues guitar riff at 1:33. The change in tempo and intention are stunning!
Buddy Guy loves B.B. King and gives him all the credit for inspiring his career. In turn, you can hear Buddy Guy’s hard influence in the intricate melodies and rhythms of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton:
At Guy’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005, Clapton told the audience that Guy “was for me what Elvis was probably like for other people—my course was set, and he was my pilot.”
If you truly like The Blues, you’re going to love Buddy Guy’s “Living Proof” — and I hope you fire up the album and get some good-hearted grilling in the meat of your soul. I’m charred. I’m done. I’m the dead-sure living proof that Buddy is, and always has been: The One.