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Chicago Blues

Buddy Guy Is “Born To Play Guitar”

August 19
16:17 2015

buddy guy born to play guitar cvr

As “Come Back Muddy” closes out Born To Play Guitar, Buddy Guy says, “I’m keeping your promise, that I would keep on playing. I miss you Mud.” Guy has always said he plays the blues to keep it from dying. Each time Guy accepts one of his numerous awards, he never fails to give credit to the masters that have come before him, some of whom mentored him, and became his friends. He is quick to point out that without them and their contributions, the blues wouldn’t have grown and moved onward. In his mind, without these masters, Guy and his generation, and those who came after them, would not have had the wealth and legacy of blues to build upon.

At this point in his career, Buddy Guy could issue any material he wanted to, and most likely, it would be embraced by fans, and critics too. Buddy Guy doesn’t know how to not give his best effort every time he shows up, as a person, and a musician. If he wasn’t always trying harder, he would be lost.

So it is with Born To Play Guitar, the newly issued album on Silvertone/RCA Records. The fourteen tracks have a running time of one hour, and what a luxurious, an intriguing hour it is! Listening to Guy play, one would never imagine that he is self taught, his licks and fills as potent and emotive as ever. Time has been generous to him, and he makes the most of it here.

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, Born To Play Guitar is produced by friend and longtime collaborator Tom Hambridge, who does a praiseworthy job performing this crucial task that is so often taken for granted. The sound quality throughout is excellent, and the vibe is everything from Checkerboard Lounge tight swingin’ on “Too Late” to the easy front porch strains of “Muddy Come Back.”

There are more than enough standout tracks here to satisfy fans, and Guy’s fingers walk the fret board with a knowing, affectionate touch. We especially enjoyed the loud, in your face thunder of “Wear You Out,” highlighted by great tone and simple leads, with Billy Gibbons’ and Guy sharing vocals. “Too Late,” with Kim Wilson on harp, is rollicking good fun. The backing guitars on “Whiskey, Beer & Wine” are so thick you can slice them with a knife, imbuing the song with a pleasant heavy feel, and the tone is perfection. “Kiss Me Quick” is a playful, honky tonking celebration with piano reminiscent of Pinetop Perkins. Guy’s lead here hearkens back to his early days, only with a more mellow amp tone.

“Crying Out of One Eye” is an atmospheric masterpiece with horn and organ lines well placed, with just the right amount of notes spoken. Nice pointed fills and leads lift the song up as well. “(Baby) You Got What It Takes” is swinging, and features Guy and Joss Stone obviously enjoying the vocal work with each other. What a well executed track. “Turn Me Wild” pulses even as it showcases wah bursts lovingly brushed over the beat, along with a laid back lead.  The song also includes a great lyric from Guy, who sings “You can’t pick how people remember you; you just hope someday they do.”

The album closes with Guy missing and remembering his dear friend and mentor, Muddy Waters on “Come Back Muddy.” This track has him on an acoustic; his playing nimble, his vocal heartfelt and moving.

Those that have not yet heard and enjoyed Born To Play Guitar are doing themselves a great disservice. This is without question the best album Buddy Guy has issued in a while. Sure, we appreciated Rhythm & Blues, a standout album in it’s own right. In our humble opinion though, Born To Play Guitar is head and shoulders above even that. Pick this up today.

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy’s Legends

About Author

Barry Kerzner

Barry Kerzner

For as long as I can remember I have loved music, especially Blues & Jazz. Now I write and share that love of music with others. To see my photoart, visit

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