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Rhythm n Blues - Buddy Guy
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Release Info

Artist: Buddy Guy

Album: Rhythm & Blues
Release Date: USA 07/26/2013. Rest of the World 08/02/2013
Label: RCA Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

Formats: Physical, Vinyl and Digital.

Rhythm & Blues Track Listing:

RHYTHM – Disc 1
01 Best In Town
02 Justifyin’
03 I Go By Feel
04 Messin’ With The Kid (featuring Kid Rock)
05 What’s Up With That Woman
06 One Day Away (featuring Keith Urban)
07 Well I Done Got Over It
08 What You Gonna Do About Me (featuring Beth Hart)
09 The Devil’s Daughter
10 Whiskey Ghost
11 Rhythm – Inner Groove

BLUES – Disc 2

01 Meet Me In Chicago
02 Too Damn Bad
03 Evil Twin (featuring Steven Tyler, Joe Perry & Brad Whitford)
04 I Could Die Happy
05 Never Gonna Change
06 All That Makes Me Happy Is The Blues
07 My Mama Loved Me
08 Blues Don’t Care (featuring Gary Clark Jr.)
09 I Came Up Hard
10 Poison Ivy

Biography

"When I was 21,” says Buddy Guy, "some of my older friends, who are no longer with us, they’d say, 'You’re still a baby.' And then they said the same thing when I was 31, then 41, and I thought, ‘Man, when do I get old?’ I've been hearing that ever since I first went to Chicago—'You’re still wet behind the ears.' So when do I get dry?"

With his new album, Living Proof, Guy takes a hard look back at a remarkable life. At age 74, he’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues. He has received 5 Grammy Awards, 23 W.C. Handy Blues Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone ranked him in the top 30 of its "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

Yet as the album's opening track declares, today Buddy Guy is "74 Years Young," still searching for new sounds and fresh ideas. The start of each new decade always seems to inspire him (see 1981’s Stone Crazy, 1991’s Damn Right, I Got the Blues, and 2001’s Sweet Tea), and on Living Proof, such songs as "Thank Me Someday" and "Everybody's Got to Go" are strikingly personal meditations on his past, his legacy, and his mortality.

"The life I’ve lived is what we’re singing about," he says. "These songs are exactly what I came up through in my life, what I’ve experienced." He credits producer/drummer Tom Hambridge (who co-wrote all the songs on Living Proof, and has previously worked with such artists as Johnny Winter, Delbert McClinton, and Susan Tedeschi) with helping to capture and preserve his innermost thoughts. "He would come in with a pad and a pencil," says the guitarist, "and while we were having conversations, he was writing down things I said and making songs out of them."

Still stinging from the restrictions that the legendary Chess Records put on him during his youth ("they said I was just playing noise, and wouldn't let me get loose like I wanted to"), Guy also says that his music continues to benefit from the support of his record company and the team around him. “These guys said, ‘It’s your guitar, your studio, you just go be Buddy Guy’—and I’ve been trying to be that for 50 years,” he says. “I had the freedom of playing with only me to say, ‘Let me try that again.’”

Though Buddy Guy will forever be associated with Chicago, his story actually begins in Louisiana. One of five children, he was born in 1936 to a sharecropper’s family and raised on a plantation near the small town of Lettsworth, located some 140 miles northwest of New Orleans. Buddy was just seven years old when he fashioned his first makeshift “guitar”—a two-string contraption attached to a piece of wood and secured with his mother’s hairpins.

On “Thank Me Someday,” he recounts his early efforts with the instrument, and his ability to keep his faith when his family chased him out of the house for making a racket. “I would go out in the yard, on the levee, to practice,” he says. “We didn’t have electric lights or running water—you could hear that guitar a mile away in the country, so I’d have to go a long way away so they didn’t say ‘Get out of here with that noise!’”

In 1957, he took his guitar to Chicago, where he would permanently alter the direction of the instrument. His incendiary style—still in evidence all over Living Proof—left its mark on guitarists from Jimmy Page to John Mayer. “He was for me what Elvis was probably like for other people,” said Eric Clapton at Guy’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005. “My course was set, and he was my pilot.”

Though the name Buddy Guy will always be associated with the blues, this set of songs illustrates the true range of his playing. Songs like “Much Too Soon” and the blistering instrumental “Skanky” come directly out of the roadhouse rhythm & blues tradition. To Guy, though, such genre distinctions are meaningless afterthoughts.

“Before the ‘60s, we were always just R&B players,” he says. “Then they branded us—there was Chicago blues, Memphis, Motown, and so we were considered blues players. But in Chicago, if you wanted to keep your gig, you had to be able to play all the top tunes on the jukebox, whether that was Lloyd Price or Fats Domino or Ray Charles. Now if you play a Little Richard song, the audience looks at you like you’re crazy, but we always had to do that for a black audience back then.”

Perhaps the most significant landmark on Living Proof is that, for the first time, the incomparable B.B. King stopped by to play and sing on a Buddy Guy album. The two giants reel off the introspective “Stay Around a Little Longer” like the old friends they are—but Guy still doesn’t take his relationship with the King of the Blues for granted.

“B.B. created this style of guitar we all play,” he says. “I grew up listening to people like him, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, and I still take 95% of my playing from him. So to have someone like that in the room with you makes chillbumps come up on your skin.”

The only other guest on the mostly stripped-down Living Proof is Carlos Santana, who joins Guy on the slinky “Where the Blues Begins.” Noting that he and Junior Wells covered Santana’s “Vera Cruz” more than three decades ago, Guy says, “When I’m playing with someone that good, I just have to close my eyes and say, ‘Here I come!’”

Asked what exactly it is that he considers himself Living Proof of, Buddy Guy answers modestly—he doesn’t mention his talent or his influence, but focuses instead on his perseverance. “Do you know how many guys I started out with who just threw up both hands and quit?” he says. “My first wife said to me, ‘It’s me or the guitar,’ and I picked up my guitar and left. We still laugh about that. But I’m still picking away at it, I don’t know nothing else.

“The other day, I heard B.B. King say, ‘I can’t slow down, because I still think there’s somebody out there who doesn’t know who I am yet.’ But, you know, blues players don’t stop, they just drop. It’s like my mother used to say about religion—I’m too far gone to turn around!”

Reviews

Thursday August 1, 2013. By Rhetta Akamatsu for http://blogcritics.org


Buddy Guy is the very essence of the blues. In a career that has been going strong for decades, he has proven to be so reliably excellent that really any blues lover should only need to hear his name to know they’re going to get an excellent recording. Although he just turned 77 on July 30, 2013, Guy’s voice is just as strong and evocative as ever and his guitar playing remains as masterful as always, while the energy of his performances still rock the house.  

On Rhythm & Blues fans get a two-disc collection featuring two styles of blues and some very special guests.

The“Rhythm” disc features blues with a soul groove. On it, Kid Rock adds his voice to  Junior Wells’ classic “Messin’ with the Kid.” Guy played guitar on the original recording in 1960 and performed the song with Wells on Junior Wells and Buddy Guy Play the Blues in 1972.It’s a great number and the grit of Kid Rock’s vocal combines with Guy’s voice to bring some new excitement to it.

Keith Urban then joins Guy for a touching song, “One Day Away,” about telling your people you love them because time is fleeting and you never know what is going to be one day away. This one is a bit too solemn for this reviewer’s taste, but it a good song lyrically and very well done by Urban and Guy.

Beth Hart’s voice is a perfect match for Guy’s on the duet “What You Gonna Do About Me,” a highlight of the album. If you enjoy male-female combinations in the blues, this one will be very satisfying for you. Aside from the special guests, Guy proves he can mesmerize with just himself and his band. The disc opens with the biographical “Best in Town” and the listener is hooked from the first line, “When I first heard Muddy Waters…”

Two other songs on this first disc are worthy of singling out. “Whiskey Ghost” makes metaphoric use of the supernatural to express the lingering longing for alcohol in a recovering addict. Guy’s sincerity really sells this song.In contrast to that solemn theme is the rollicking version of Guitar Slim’s “Well I Done Got Over It.”

The “Blues” disc takes us straight to Chicago with another biographical number, the upbeat tribute to that city that has played such a part in Guy’s life and music, “Meet Me in Chicago.” There are a couple of great guest appearances on the CD here too. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Brad Whitfield add to the sheer fun of “Evil Twin,” which is another highlight of the whole set. Another great bluesman, Guy Clark Jr., joins Guy for the riveting “Blues Don’t Care.”

Of the other numbers, “I Could Die Happy” is a sly, flirty song about a woman, with great guitar playing emphasizing the words of the lyrics. Most of the rest of the songs on this disc have a very personal feel that really make the listener feel a bond with the singer, which is one of the things blues does best. “Never Gonna Change,” “All That Makes Me Happy is the Blues,” “My Mama Loved Me,” and “I Come Up Hard,” all are heartfelt and reflect Guy’s life and attitude sincerely.

Unlike many two-disc sets, there are no weak songs here.The quality of song choice, singing,playing and production is consistent throughout all 21 songs.

As long as Buddy Guy is still around and continuing to influence new musicians, the blues is in good hands. His legacy will help insure that the genre lives on even after he’s gone. In the meantime, every blues lover should add Rhythm & Blues to their collection as soon as possible.

July 29th, 2013. Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

A great open secret of the last act of Buddy Guy's career is that nearly every album he's made in the new millennium is a concept album of sorts, ranging from the gnarled modern Delta blues of Sweet Tea and the acoustic Blues Singer to the pseudo-autobiography of 2010's Living Proof. Rhythm & Blues trumps them all in size and concept: it's a double-disc set divided into one disc of "Rhythm" (aka soul) and one disc of "Blues" (aka blues of the Chicago variety). Several stars come out to help Guy along, top-lined by three-fifths of Aerosmith on "Evil Twin" and Kid Rock on, naturally, "Messin' with the Kid." The former arrives on "Blues" and the latter on "Rhythm," which suggests how fluid the lines are between the two discs. But it's also generally true that the "Rhythm" disc is big, bold, and brassy in a way Buddy rarely is; often, it's much closer to the late, great Bobby "Blue" Bland, albeit a hyper-charged, over-scaled version of soul-blues. Guy has rarely attempted this kind of horn-driven, soulful blues and it's fun to hear him tackle such sounds as he wrestles the rhythms while spitting out gonzo, gnarly guitar runs. Better still, he finds a place to settle down within the slinky grooves of "I Go By Feel" and the Keith Urban duet "One Day Away," which are not only the two greatest surprises in tone, but also the two songs that sink their hooks in deep. That's not always the case here, at least for the originals, particularly on the "Blues" disc which either trades in pastiche ("Meet Me in Chicago," "All That Makes Me Happy Is the Blues") or function as simple showcases for Guy's guitar. If this package can sometimes feel a little too pat, put the blame on producer Tom Hambridge, who also helmed Skin Deep and Living Proof and now has a track record of pushing Guy just enough to form a narrative but not enough to break him out of the box. Buddy himself remains a bit of a live wire, his voice sounding younger than Steven Tyler's and his guitar continuing to be a muscled monster that steamrollers everything surrounding it. That continued potency is reason enough to give Rhythm & Blues a spin.

June 14th, 2013. By Damian Feneli for http://www.guitarworld.com

Blues legend Buddy Guy has announced he'll release a new studio album, Rhythm & Blues, through RCA Records on July 30 — which happens to be the guitarist's 77th birthday.

Best of all, Rhythm & Blues will be an all-too-rare-in-2013 double album.

Guy's special guests this time around include Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Gary Clark Jr, Beth Hart and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford.

The album, the followup to 2010's Living Proof, will be available for pre-order June 25.







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