Buddy Guy greeted me at Wal-Mart?!?
I’ve got some great news for Buddy Guy fans from the most unlikely of places. About two weeks ago, in a half-hearted scan through the budget CD bins at the West Side Wal-Mart, I spied a gem lurking next to the inevitable greatest hits compilations from Van Halen, Styx, and the Doobie Brothers. Here was Buddy Guy’s 1991 Silvertone release, “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” in an Expanded Edition format. Back when it was released, a good friend of mine came over with the vinyl and we played that album non-stop for weeks. It was clear, aside from some seriously fine guest moments with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and more, that this caught the Buddy Guy that we’d come to love from seeing him at his blues club on Chicago’s Southside and throughout the city. The first thing this album captured, of course, is the definitive way how he tortures his Strat. He can coax more emotion and range out of a single note bent and shaded through the quarter-tones like no other person before or since. But then, there’s his VOICE. I remember seeing Buddy on a triple bill headlined by B.B. King and Etta James, and while he was the first opener, it was his voice that night that totally bowled me over that night. I’d certainly heard him rip through tunes many times by that point, but maybe it was the special lineup that night, because he truly turned on the vocal charm. He moaned, whispered, groaned, and crackled one moment, then soared sweetly the next, all to pour everything he had into the emotion of the song. What a night that was! And what an album this is because it truly captures Buddy’s total essence. Here’s the even better news if you’re still inclined to buy a physical disc: the price was only $5.00. So the next time you go to grab a gallon of milk, a frozen pizza, and some Post-It’s, swing through the music section and scoop through the bargain bin. You just may come out of there Buddy Guy’s “comeback album” at a price that won’t make you sing the blues.
Director of Purdue Convocations