For over 30 years Buddy Guy has set the standard for performing the blues. Buddy's 40-year career, which began on the 1950s Baton Rouge scene, combines high-energy guitar histrionics and boundless onstage energy.
Like B.B. King, Guy helped to inspire guitarists like Clapton and Hendrix. Writers have often touched on the fact that the blues live within Guy, lending to his distinctive tortured vocal style. Guy has won several Grammys for albums like Damn Right I've Got the Blues, Feels Like Rain and Slippin In.
Buddy Guy, along with Otis Rush and Magic Sam, have helped move the blues guitar into its postmodern era. With a style some believe built similar to B.B. King, Guy was both a popular session player and a successful solo artist.
Jimi Hendrix is said to have admitted to being profoundly influenced by Guy, while Eric Clapton has called him the greatest blues guitarist ever. In fact, few blues musicians today can match Guy's ability to make a guitar solo -- the ultimate blues statement.
Guy signed with Chess Records in 1960 and became an in-demand session guitarist there, backing such noted artists as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), and Koko Taylor.
In 1962 his own record, Stone Crazy, went to number 12 on the R&B charts. Guy left Chess in 1967 and moved to the Vanguard label, where he cut such albums as A Man and the Blues, This Is Buddy Guy, and Hold That Plane! He also formed a professional relationship with harp player Junior Wells.
The duo proved especially popular with white blues fans of the late '60s and early '70s. Buddy can mimic Howlin' Wolf and Guitar Slim in one set and in the next, settle into a study of soul-blues that was far removed from the onstage frenzy for which he was known.
Guy continued to play blues clubs in the U.S. and at blues fests in Europe, with little attention from the rock crowd that had adopted him in the late '60s. That changed in 1989 when Guy opened his now-famous blues club, Legends, in Chicago.
The club has become a stop-off point for visiting bluesmen and blues-influenced rockers. In 1991 Eric Clapton invited Guy to perform with him at the Royal Albert Hall in London. His stunning performances with Clapton led to a recording contract with the Silvertone label and the release of Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, an acclaimed comeback album that included cameo appearances by Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Mark Knopfler.
A follow-up album, Feels Like Rain, came out in 1993. Guy continues to perform and record. He is the brother of blues guitarist Phil Guy.
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