Chicago Blues for Easter weekend? Isn’t that a bit…y’know, unholy?
Maybe. But it’s also very human. And you have to do something Saturday night, once the eggs are done. Right?
Chicago blues guitarist Buddy Guy is 76 and still going strong, booking dates and festivals for lucky summer music seekers. When he made this record, he was in his mid-50s and at the top of his form. Word is he hasn’t lost so much as a quarter-step. He certainly knows his way around a fretboard, and his vocals are full of feeling and flex.
Damn Right came out while I was living in Chicago. In those pre-fatherhood days when my wife would travel to Europe every so often on business, I would bounce from blues club to blues cave on Halsted Street, usually ending up sitting on a doorstep at 2:30 a.m. eating food-truck chow mein from a takeout box and talking music with a total stranger. This album didn’t just hit home; it was home.
The songs provide a chalkboard menu of blues grit and elegance, sometimes from phrase to phrase. “Where Is the Next One Coming From” is an unapologetic look at the ravages of alcoholism over a forceful blues shuffle. Guy’s penchant for expressive singing makes “There Is Something On Your Mind” an aching love-in-trouble song. On the other end of the tempo spectrum is the hoppy blues waltz “Early in the Morning,” and Guy’s smokin’ take on “Mustang Sally” is pure air-guitar fun. Jeff Beck kicks in on that track; the album also includes tasty guest riffs from additional guitar heroes and Guy fan-friends Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.
Unholy? Holy smokes…♦
© 2013 Adam Barr except album art and linked music