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Buddy Guy Profile

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Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy photo by Brad Hitz

Photo courtesy Silvertone Records

Buddy Guy Profile:

Born: July 30, 1936 in Lettsworth LA

When a musician with the stature of Eric Clapton calls you his favorite blues guitarist, you've probably got some chops. But Buddy Guy has also won 23 W.C. Handy Awards, five Grammys, and been inducted into both the Blues and Rock & Roll Hall of Fames. A flamboyant showman, incendiary guitarist and powerful vocalist, Guy is the performer of choice for rockers like Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Guy's career started in the early-1950s, playing with bands on the Baton Rouge, Louisiana blues scene, overcoming a bad case of stage fright to become an onstage presence. The guitarist immigrated to Chicago in 1957 and quickly fell in with some of the best players on the scene, able to hold his own with performers like Muddy Waters and Otis Rush.

The Chess Years

Guy would record a pair of singles in 1958 for a Cobra label subsidiary before signing with Chess Records. Guy's early guitar style was influenced by B.B. King and Guitar Slim, but he would soon expand his sound with original flourishes that fused traditional blues with an electric, rock-oriented sound.

Chess released a number of well-received singles, but the label wouldn't let Guy play in his style on records. His primary value to the label was as a session musician, Guy adding his scorching six-string licks to records by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon.

Leaving Chess after 7 years, Guys signed to Vanguard for a series of genre-busting albums, but it was his 1970s albums with harp player Junior Wells that solidified his reputation as a musician and showman.

The Silvertone Years

Guy recorded sporadically throughout the 1980s before signing with Silvertone Records and releasing 1991's Damn Right I've Got The Blues.. The album won a Grammy and ensured a certain amount of artistic freedom. Guy has released a new album every couple of years since, and has toured constantly.

In 1989, Guy opened Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, the blues club quickly becoming one of the city's most popular nightspots. Due to popular demand, Guy moved the club into a larger space in 2010, releasing a live album from the old location, Live At Legends, in December 2012. Also in December 2012, Guy received Kennedy Center Honors alongside British blues-rock band Led Zeppelin, who were influenced by Guy.

Recommended Albums: Rhino's The Very Best of Buddy Guy includes 18 songs from Guy's early albums for various labels, but the guitarist's albums for Silvertone, such as the back-to-the-roots, acoustic Sweet Tea, display his talents across numerous styles of blues.

Buddy Guy Select Discography
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