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Blues - Released February 8, 2019 | Silvertone

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Blues - Released January 25, 2019 | Silvertone

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Blues - Released December 21, 2018 | Silvertone

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Blues - Released November 9, 2018 | Silvertone

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Blues - Released June 15, 2018 | Silvertone

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Damn Right ! Who could disagree? Of course Buddy Guy has blues in the blood! The Chicago guitar legend is saying it loud on this album: The Blues Is Alive And Well! At 81 years old, he seems on better form than ever, and has a lot to teach the youth. This is a punkier, rockier bluesman than the present generation, who knows how to bring the blues to a white audience. Old fashioned? The accusation wouldn't offend Buddy Guy, who's just playing his guitar right. Here, the guitarist is discussing the blues with guests who have the stature to hold a conversation with him. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck and James Bay feed his talent, and stay in perfect harmony with his genius. And what would be blues without talk of booze and old friends? On Cognac, Buddy Guy seems to shed twenty years when he evokes Muddy Waters. It's too late to sip a brandy with him, but now he's got Keith and others for company. Getting wasted in style, filling up on booze and the blues, dealing out a hand that can't ever end: that's the spirit of the blues. Beyond the music, there is a real discussion that starts between guitar riffs, piano chords and the singer's penetrating voice. Better than a trance, this is a stairway to the underworld opening up. And then there's such a captivating groove on The Blues Is Alive And Well. It's a grand declaration of love for the genre, which, through solitude, poverty and suffering, remains a faithful friend, a life-saver, an intimate journal. Perhaps the album should be seen as a kind of passing-onward of the blues to the generations to come. Blue No More gives a fair account of the idea. It's a duet where Buddy Guy is singing face-to-face with the Pearly Gates. It doesn't dampen his mood at all, through, because he knows that others down below will pick up his baton. And James Bay echoes his master's words back to him: "I won’t be blue no more". © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Blues - Released June 15, 2018 | Silvertone

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Buddy Guy begins his 2018 album, The Blues Is Alive and Well, by singing "a few good years is all I need right now," an acknowledgment that at 81 years old he's closer to the end of his life than he is to the beginning. This isn't the first time he's made such an admission. Eight years earlier, he opened up Living Proof with a boast that he was "74 Years Young," so his advancing years have been on his mind for a while, but The Blues Is Alive and Well is full of songs charged with mortality. The record is bookended by "A Few Good Years" and the mellow boogie "End of the Line," and Guy muses about "Somebody Up There" and wonders what will happen "When My Day Comes," all the while acknowledging he's "Old Fashioned." That's a lot of songs about life and death, but The Blues Is Alive and Well has a lot of songs in general -- a full 15, lasting well over an hour. This excessive length means there's a lot of room for levity, too, including James Bay sitting in for a duet on "Blue No More," Mick Jagger's wailing harp on "You Did the Crime," and, best of all, a showdown with Keith Richards and Jeff Beck on "Cognac." Guy has some good moments on his own, of course -- his guitar stings throughout and he can sell the house rocker "Guilty as Charged" with a vigor that belies his age -- but the emphasis on ruminative tunes feels a bit heavy-handed. Maybe that's why the album ends with "Milking Muther for Ya," a minute-long dirty joke that punctuates the moody vibes of "End of the Line." Its very presence suggests that Buddy Guy would rather live it up while he still has a few good years left. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Blues - Released July 31, 2015 | Silvertone

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Once again working with producer/songwriter Tom Hambridge -- the bluesman's main collaborator since 2008's Skin Deep -- Buddy Guy serves up a straight-ahead platter with Born to Play Guitar, his 28th studio album. Many of Guy's latter-day records loosely follow a theme, but Born to Play Guitar is pretty direct: just a collection of songs designed to showcase Buddy's oversized Stratocaster. Which isn't to say there's either a lack of variety or pro forma songwriting here. Hambridge cleverly colors Born to Play Guitar with a few bold, unexpected flourishes: the sweeps of sweet strings that accentuate "(Baby) You've Got What It Takes," a duet with Joss Stone that lightly recalls Etta James' Chess Records work; the big, blaring horns of "Thick Like Mississippi Mud" that moves that track out of the Delta and into an urban setting; the acoustic "Come Back Muddy" which performs that trick in reverse, pushing Chicago blues back down south. Elsewhere, Van Morrison contributes a moving tribute to B.B. King in "Flesh and Bone," a heartfelt ballad that doesn't quite fit with the rest of the record because it's about song, not feel -- a nice anomaly on a record whose greater concern is juke joint boogie. Guy delivers on this front quite ably, particularly when he's paired with fellow blues lifer Kim Wilson (as he is on "Too Late" and "Kiss Me Quick") or when Billy Gibbons slithers out of the Texas hills to lay down the heavy stomp of "Wear You Out," and while there are no surprises on these duets, nor on the proudly traditional Chicago blues of "Born to Play Guitar," "Back Up Mama," and "Whiskey, Beer & Wine," there is still pleasure in hearing a master tear into his beloved music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine