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August 1, 2013

Keepin' the blues alive

Buddy Guy making stops in Lowell, Gilford, NH, this month

Buddy Guy’s new release, “Rhythm & Blues,” is a rarity in an era where EPs and singles are becoming popular formats to release new music. It’s a double album, 22 all-new tracks deep.

Guy and his producer Tom Hambridge didn’t go into the project expecting to make any more than a single album.

“What really happened was every time we came up with a song and we were both excited about it (we’d say), ‘let’s do it,” Guy said in a late-July phone interview. “And every time we finished that, there was another one. Well, let’s do it. All of a sudden I said, they put 12 cuts on a CD or something like that, and we had 16, and (then) another one popped up. ‘Let’s do it.’ All of a sudden we had, I figured, 22.”

Guy and Hambridge believed in all of the tracks, but they weren’t so sure the idea of a double album would fly with Guy’s label, RCA Records.

“I was going to meet the top guy from RCA, and he said ‘Hey man,’ and I’m thinking he’s going to say ‘I’m going to give you a pink slip,’” said Guy, who one can only assume wasn’t ever in danger of being dropped by the label.

In fact, Guy in all seriousness, said he thought RCA would accept just a single album and have him hold some of the 22 tracks for a future album.

Instead, RCA bought off on the double album.

“I’m like saying, ‘Oh, thank God,’” Guy said. “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. If we can get a little airplay, hopefully I can sell…more CDs and keep the blues alive a little longer.”

Introducing the blues to more fans and breathing life into the genre was a topic that Guy brought up several times during the interview. It’s a mission he has been trying to fulfill for more than two decades now.

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