EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 1, 2013

Keepin' the blues alive

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


Guy’s tenure with Chess ended in 1967, when he moved to Vanguard Records. He went through the 1980s without a record deal, before he was signed by Silvertone Records and released the 1991 Grammy-winning comeback CD, “Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues.”

He has recorded regularly ever since. And Guy has delivered one of his better albums with “Rhythm & Blues.” Even with 22 songs, there isn’t much filler, as Guy shows his command of several forms of blues. There are hard-hitting rockers like “Never Gonna Change,” “Justifyin’” and “What’s Up With That Woman”; tunes with a little funk and Memphis soul (“Best In Town” and “All that Makes Me Happy Is The Blues”); a little (mostly) acoustic country blues (“I Could Die Happy”); and even some horn-filled jump blues – a style Guy has not often recorded – on songs like, “Well I Done Got Over It” and “Poison Ivy.”

Guy may be enjoying some of his greatest popularity now, but he sees the future of blues being less certain than it perhaps has ever been.

One of the big challenges facing the genre is the lack of radio play for blues acts.

“The radio stations have almost completely quit playing blues, man,” Guy said. “It’s not like it was in the ‘50s. There weren’t as many guitar players. If you played two or three good licks, somebody knew about you and we had all of the AM stations and the disc jockey could play what he wanted. You could take him a demo of something and he would play it. Well, you don’t get that now on blues.”

Blues artists also don’t have the extensive network of blues clubs that once existed.

“In the early days we had the little blues clubs all over the country and in Europe, where you could go and hopefully be seen and make a little name for yourself,” Guy said. “In the last 20 years, 30 years, all of those small blues clubs have disappeared.”

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