Album: Living Proof (Silvertone Records, 2010) by Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy once said: “Every time I see someone play... there is something I need to learn from it”. It is true. The result is that he still is getting better even though his career has spanned more than half a century. Normally people stop evolving creatively after 40 or 50 years of age. Buddy Guy is one of the rare exceptions. Of course this is mainly due to his immense talent but it can also be explained by the fact that he is such a nice person which results in an open attitude towards others as well as himself. Even though he is an icon and an inspiration for guitarists today, as much as people like B.B. King, Guitar Slim and Muddy Waters were examples to him, he never has gotten big headed about it. Only music counts for him and he considers any player a colleague and a possible inspiration rather than a rival. His open mindedness has kept him developing as an artist over all these the years. Just listen to his breakthrough album “A Man and the Blues” from 1968 first and then stick “Sweet Tea" from 2001 in your CD player. Amazing that this is the same man playing.
His latest album “Living Proof” is another masterpiece and yet again proof of his open attitude. This time his own life and his aging has been a source of inspiration. He does not try to hide his age. It just inspires him. The first song on the CD is “74 Years Young”. It starts off delicately and slowly builds in intensity. As soon as he lets the first guitar solo rip you immediately know that the preceding words “when it comes to lovin’ I ain’t never done, I’m 74 years young” are true. This is not a weak old man playing. Buddy Guy might be getting old, he still is as powerful as ever.
On the next song “Thank Me Someday” Buddy Guy sings about the mixed feelings of his family when he was learning to play the guitar back in Louisiana. Doing something different than others can make you feel alone at times but fortunately Buddy Guy never got distracted and kept on practicing. The song will give you goosebumps.
Another highlight is the duet with B.B. King, “Stay Around a Little Longer”. A couple of old blues guys being grateful for the time they’ve got left on earth digs deep into one’s soul.
There is plenty of other great stuff on this album like the title song, the gospel tinged ballad “Everybody’s Got to Go”, as well as the slow blues songs “Key Don’t Fit”, “Guess What” and “Let the Door Knob Hit Ya”. Believe me: Buddy Guy is far from done.
Frederick von Schtupp
Rating: 9 out of 10