Buddy Guy – I Got My Eyes on You

George “Buddy” Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has established himself as a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound, and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation. Guy is known, too, for his showmanship on stage, playing his guitar with […]

George “Buddy” Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has established himself as a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound, and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation. Guy is known, too, for his showmanship on stage, playing his guitar with drumsticks, or strolling into the audience while playing solos. He was ranked thirtieth in Rolling Stonemagazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time“. His song “Stone Crazy” was ranked seventy-eighth in list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time also of Rolling Stone.

Biography

Born and raised in Lettsworth, Louisiana, Guy began learning guitar on a two string diddley bow he made. Later he was given a Harmony acoustic guitar, which, decades later in Guy’s lengthy career was donated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the early ’50s he began performing with bands in Baton Rouge. Soon after moving to Chicago in 1957, Guy fell under the influence of Muddy Waters. In 1958, a competition with West Side guitarists Magic Samand Otis Rush gave Guy a record contract. Soon afterwards he recorded for Cobra Records. He recorded sessions with Junior Wells for Delmark Recordsunder the pseudonym Friendly Chap in 1965 and 1966.

Guy’s early career was supposedly held back by both conservative business choices made by his record company (Chess Records) and “the scorn, diminishments and petty subterfuge from a few jealous rivals”[citation needed]. Chess, Guy’s record label from 1959 to 1968, refused to record Buddy Guy’s novel style that was similar to his live shows. Leonard Chess (Chess founder and 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee) denounced Guy’s playing as “noise”. In the early 1960s, Chess tried recording Guy as a solo artist with R&B ballads, jazz instrumentals, soul and novelty dance tunes, but none were released as singles. Guy’s only Chess album, “Left My Blues in San Francisco”, was finally issued in 1967. Most of the songs belong stylistically to the era’s soul boom, with orchestrations by Gene Barge and Charlie Stepney. Chess used Guy mainly as a session guitarist to back Muddy WatersHowlin’ WolfLittle WalterSonny Boy WilliamsonKoko Taylor and others.

Buddy Guy appeared onstage at the March 1969 Supershow at Staines, England that also included Eric ClaptonLed ZeppelinJack BruceStephen StillsBuddy MilesGlen CampbellRoland KirkJon Hiseman, and The Misunderstood. But by the late 1960s, Guy’s star was in decline.

Guy’s career finally took off during the blues revival period of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was sparked by Clapton’s request that Guy be part of the ’24 Nights’ all-star blues guitar lineup at London‘s Royal Albert Hall and Guy’s subsequent signing with Silvertone Records.

Music

While Buddy Guy’s music is often labeled Chicago blues, his style is unique and separate. His music can vary from the most traditional, deepest blues to a creative, unpredictable and radical gumbo of the blues, avant rock, soul and free jazz that morphs at each night’s performance.

As New York Times music critic Jon Pareles noted in 2004:

Mr. Guy, 68, mingles anarchy, virtuosity, deep blues and hammy shtick in ways that keep all eyes on him… [Guy] loves extremes: sudden drops from loud to soft, or a sweet, sustained guitar solo followed by a jolt of speed, or a high, imploring vocal cut off with a rasp…Whether he’s singing with gentle menace or bending new curves into a blue note, he is a master of tension and release, and his every wayward impulse was riveting.

In a revealing interview taped on April 14, 2000 for WRUW-FM Cleveland (a college station), Guy said “The purpose of me trying to play the kind of rocky stuff is to get airplay…I find myself kind of searching, hoping I’ll hit the right notes, say the right things, maybe they’ll put me on one of these big stations, what they call ‘classic’…if you get Eric Clapton to play a Muddy Waters song, they call it classic, and they will put it on that station, but you’ll never hear Muddy Waters.”

Discography

Album Year Label Notes
Hoodoo Man Blues 1965 Delmark w/ Junior Wells band
Chicago/The Blues/Today! vol. 1 1966 Vanguard w/ Junior Wells band
It’s my Life, Baby! 1966 Vanguard w/ Junior Wells band
I Left My Blues in San Francisco 1967 Chess
Berlin festival – Guitar Workshop 1967 MPS Long Play released in Argentina by Microphone Argentina S.A. (1974)
A Man and the Blues 1968 Vanguard
Coming At You 1968 Vanguard
Blues Today 1968 Vanguard
This Is Buddy Guy (live) 1968 Vanguard
Hot And Cool 1969 Vanguard
First Time I Met the Blues-Python 1969
Buddy and the Juniors 1970 MCA w/ Junior Mance & Junior Wells
Buddy & Junior Mance & Junior Wells 1971 Harvest (UK) UK release of Buddy and the Juniors
South Side Blues Jam 1970 Delmark w/ Junior Wells and Otis Spann
In The Beginning 1971 Red Lightnin’
Play The Blues 1972 Rhino w/ Junior Wells
Hold That Plane! 1972 Vanguard
I Was Walking Through the Woods 1974 Chess rec. 1960–64
Got to Use Your Head 1979 Blues Ball
The Dollar Done Fell 1980 JSP
Buddy+Phil 1981 JSP (1024) also P-Vine CD 23886 (2007)
Stone Crazy! 1981 Alligator
Alone & Acoustic 1981 Alligator w/ Junior Wells, released only in France
Drinkin’ TNT ‘n’ Smokin’ Dynamite (live) 1982 Blind Pig rec. 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival
DJ Play My Blues 1982 JSP
Buddy Guy 1983 Chess
The Original Blues Brothers (live) 1983 Blue Moon
Ten Blue Fingers 1985 JSP Records
Atlantic Blues: Chicago 1986 Atlantic
Chess Masters 1987 Charly
Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago-1979 1988 JSP Records
Breaking Out 1988 JSP Records
I Ain’t Got No Money 1989 Flyright
Alone & Acoustic 1991 Alligator reissue, rec. 1981 w/ Junior Wells
Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues 1991 Silvertone/BMG won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album
Buddy’s Baddest: The Best of Buddy Guy 1991 Silvertone
My Time After Awhile 1992 Vanguard
The Very Best of Buddy Guy 1992 Rhino/WEA
The Complete Chess Studio Recordings 1992 Chess 2 CD, 1960–67
Live at Montreaux 1992 Evidence w/ Junior Wells
Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix 1993 Reprise performed “Red House
Feels Like Rain 1993 Silvertone won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album
Slippin’ In 1994 Silvertone won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album
Live: The Real Deal 1996 Silvertone
Buddy’s Blues 1997 Chess “Chess Masters”
Buddy’s Blues 1978-1982: The Best of the JSP Recordings 1998 JSP Records
As Good As It Gets 1998 Vanguard
Heavy Love 1998 Silvertone
Last Time Around – Live at Legends 1998 Jive w/Junior Wells
This Is Buddy Guy 1998 VMD
Blues Master 1998 Vanguard
Buddy’s Baddest: The Best of Buddy Guy 1999 Silvertone
The Complete Vanguard Recordings 2000 Vanguard
Every Day I Have the Blues 2000 Purple Pyramid w/ Junior Wells
20th Century Masters: The Millennium: The Best of Buddy Guy 2001 MCA
Sweet Tea 2001 Jive nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album
Double Dynamite 2001 AIM Recording Co. Import
Blues Singer 2003 Silvertone won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album
Chicago Blues Festival 1964 (live) 2003 Stardust
Jammin’ Blues Electric & Acoustic 2003 Sony a compilation of tracks from Live: The Real Deal and Last Time Around – Live At Legends
Live At the Mystery Club 2003 Quicksilver the same recording as Every Day I Have The Blues
A Night of the Blues 2005 w/ Junior Wells – Master Classics – the same recording as Every Day I Have The Blues
Bring ‘Em In 2005 Jive
Can’t Quit The Blues:Box Set 2006 Silvertone/Legacy Recordings
Live: The Real Deal 2006 Sony with G. E. Smith & the Saturday Night Live Band
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino 2007 Vanguard with Joss Stone and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, performing “Every Night About This Time”.
Skin Deep 2008 Jive
The Definitive Buddy Guy 2009 Shout! Factory his first single-disc career-spanning CD
Living Proof 2010 Jive won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album


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