On Buddy Guy's second Silvertone release, he continues the practice of guest appearances begun on Damn Right, I've Got the Blues. In this case, the notables include Paul Rodgers, Travis Tritt, and John Mayall. The finest combination comes when Bonnie Raitt joins Guy on John Hiatt's "Feels Like Rain." Raitt's gritty vocals and sweet slide guitar add a pleasing nuance to the bittersweet track, and it is ultimately the high point of the record. Certain critics and blues purists have derided Guy's search for mainstream success as evidenced by his penchant for guest appearances and non-traditional blues forms, but Guy sounds fantastic in these unconventional situations (witness his burning version of the Moody Blues' "I Go Crazy").
Here's everything that fleet-fingered Buddy Guy waxed for Chess from 1960 to 1966, including numerous unissued-at-the-time masters, offering the most in-depth peek at his formative years imaginable. Stone Chicago blues classics ("Ten Years Ago," "My Time After Awhile," "Let Me Love You Baby," "Stone Crazy"), rockin' oddities ("American Bandstand," "$100 Bill," "Slop Around"), even a cut that features guitarist Lacy Gibson's vocal rather than Guy's ("My Love Is Real") – some 47 sizzling songs in all.
To call this collection of tunes from blues legend Buddy Guy definitive is not a stretch by any means, as it is a cohesive, thoughtful, chronological collection that accurately represents all of his changes and phases through six decades. Overall, it is a mellow compilation that showcases many of Guy's laid-back songs, several with longtime partner Junior Wells. It's sprinkled with the many all-star bluesmen he has collaborated with over the years, and is tastefully programmed to offer what is essentially cream of the crop blues from one of its enduring legends. Your hear music issued on singles, LPs and CDs recorded from 1958 through 2004 via various recordings done for the Artistic, Chess, Delmark, Vanguard, Blue Thumb, Atco, Evidence, Alligator, JSP, Blind Pig, and Silvertone labels. It really is a comprehensive overview of Guy's best known songs, and gives fans or neophytes an accurate big picture of why Buddy Guy remains one of the most influential artists in American popular music.
A classic recording by one of Chicago blues' finest living legends, Left My Blues in San Francisco consists of 11 smoking tracks, featuring Buddy Guy's matchless guitar work and equally distinctive vocals. This recording is for people who like their blues straight up; like whiskey, it burns all the way through. Included are some of Guy's classic original songs, such as "She Suits Me to a Tee" and "I Suffer with the Blues," as well as excellent performances of "Buddy's Groove," "Keep It to Yourself," and "Goin' Home." All of this material can also be found on the Complete Chess Studio Recordings collection, but if you're new to Buddy Guy, Left My Blues in San Francisco is an excellent place to start.
Encountering this material in a fresh setting, stripped of the familiar configurations of the original albums, we can reassess this important music in contemporary terms. Right off the bat, As Good As It Gets receives a demerit for omitting "Mary Had a Little Lamb," easily Guy's best known … waxing. Otherwise, the CD provides a reasonable overview of the mercurial guitarist's output. Best of all, the set uncovers three previously unreleased items from the '67 sessions. Buddy Guy is one of the most celebrated blues guitarists of his generation (arguably the most celebrated), possessing a sound and style that embodied the traditions of classic Chicago blues while also embracing the fire and flash of rock & roll.
Buddy Guy revitalized his career when he signed with Silvertone Records in the early '90s. His first album for the label, Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, was a smash success, earning critical acclaim, awards, and sales hand over fist. Prior to that record, he was a legend only among blues fans; afterward, he was a star. Although it was a bit too rock-oriented and slick for purists, Damn Right was a terrific album, setting the pace not only for Guy but for modern electric blues in the '90s. As the decade wore on, Guy continued to make albums for Silvertone, some of them a little complacent, others quite excellent…