Live! The Real Deal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Buddy Guy, the slick bonvivant of the blues guitar, has a tremendous ability to take a live audience and dazzle them with his musical mastery. When Buddy Guy performs, the relationship established between the guitar giant (who has inspired such guitarists as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Mark Knopfier, to name a few) and his audience is one of mutual gratitude. Guy gives them the opportunity to bask in the toe-tapping rhythms and jaw-dropping guitar work he provides, and the audience repays him with their warm reception. He asks if he can play a bit longer, and the crowd jubilantly responds to this rhetorical question; he need not ask, for he knows the crowd adores him and his playing.

Silvertone Records has compiled some recent live performances of Guy's recorded at his own Chicago club, Buddy Guy's Legends, as well as at Manhattan's Irving Plaza, and released them as his latest album, "Live! The Real Deal." This live album highlights Guy's talent to play the blues with an uncanny expressive speed; the man can play so fast, yet he pushes out notes with such great emotion. This is exemplified on such fiery tracks as "I've Got My Eyes on You" (which he penned with the poet laureate of the blues, Willie Dixon) and "Let Me Love You Baby," where Guy showcases his looping brand of fast-paced blues.

But Guy isn't only a liquid-fingered showman, he also shows his proficiency with his own brand of slow, eloquent, and equally powerful blues on this album in "Sweet Black Angel (Black Angel Blues)." Here, he slips into a more subdued air, beginning with a soft and resolved guitar intro. Guy gradually progresses into an aggressive guitar solo during this song, which is a splendid example of the duality of Guy's moods within a single song. The amazing dichotomy of this performer is that he can not only belt out chords and notes with a scattered and rough passion, but he can instantly shift to a soft and intense mode of playing. Guy's soulful voice is also captured here, as he jumps between his ordinary pitch and his emotional falsetto. These facets of Buddy Guy's arsenal are all wildly pleasing, and "Live! The Real Deal" captures the unrefined explosiveness of his guitar work.

Guy's cooperation with his audience is highly noticeable on this album. Amid the gratitude that Buddy Guy shows for his crowd before and after each song, he also talks to them during his performance. Having reached the emotional apex of "Damn Right I've Got the Blues," Guy speaks to the crowd. He replies to his crowd's enthusiasm with an affectionate comment: "I feel kinda' good right now. I wish we could do this every night. I feel so good."

Guy's performances are greatly accentuated through the backing of G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band (along with blues piano legend Johnnie Johnson). This very able group of musicians show their collective talents by steadily backing Guy, never missing a beat. Individually, these players are equally impressive. Johnson provides a great piano solo on "I've Got News For You," the centerpiece of the album; a real gem that spotlights the backing musicians in a portion of the song bookended by two of Guy's thunderous guitar solos. Supple-fingered organ player Leon Pendarvis follows Johnson with an amazing flash of swirling and sporadic organ playing, while G.E. Smith cuts loose on the slide guitar.

With the combination of his rough and soft guitar playing, his expressive voice, a wonderful backing band, and his active, friendly stage presence, "Live! The Real Deal" bottles the unbridled energy of Buddy Guy. On stage, in the studio, or playing through your speakers, the music of Buddy Guy is truly satisfying



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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