Happy 83rd Birthday Buddy Guy!
George “Buddy” Guy, born July 30, 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana. He began playing guitar at the age of two, after making his own two-string diddley bow.
Buddy’s visceral playing style has convinced many that the blues was running through his veins. A major influence cited by eminent guitarists including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Buddy Guy is one of the few remaining titans of the blues, bridging traditional and modern forms, as well as musical generations, moving blues forward without losing its roots.
He has worked with musicians across generations, from Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Howlin’ Wolf to Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Rolling Stones. Clapton has proclaimed Guy “by far without a doubt the best guitar player alive…He really changed the course of rock and roll blues.” Guy regards himself as a “caretaker of the blues.”
Early influences included T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Slim and Lightnin’ Hopkins, musicians with unique style and showmanship. Having learned from the likes of Waters, Otis Rush, Guitar Slim and Magic Sam, he explains, “I just take what they taught me and keep adding to it.” Buddy’s high-energy stage presence owed a debt to Guitar Slim (a.k.a. Eddie Jones). He wrote in his autobiography, “I wanted to play like B.B. King but act like Guitar Slim.” Along his journey, he developed his own style, of raw, blistering vocals and high-voltage guitar playing a “Strat” (Fender Stratocaster) with fierce staccato attack, tense single-note solos, feedback, distortion and some extreme string-bending.
Buddy opened a blues club in Chicago in 1989 called Legends which became the favourite hangout for blues musicians and fans alike. He can often be found there when he is not on the road touring.
Blues musicians don’t retire. They drop.
They say the blues is sad, but when B.B. sings ‘I got a sweet little angel, I love the way she spreads her wings,’ that don’t sound too sad to me!
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