Buddy Guy – Blues Singer (2003)

GeorgeBuddyGuy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the 1960s, Guy played with Muddy Waters as a house guitarist at Chess Records and began a musical partnership with the harmonica player Junior Wells.

Blues Singer is the 12th studio album by Buddy Guy released in 2003 through Silvertone Records. Arriving after the unexpected blast of raw energy that was 2001’s Sweet Tea, 2003’s Blues Singer could idealistically be seen as the acoustic flip side of that high-voltage, raw electric blues. Like Sweet Tea, Blues Singer is supposed to exist deep down within the Delta blues tradition, only finding Buddy Guy armed with an acoustic guitar and the occasional minimal accompaniment; it’s even recorded at the same Mississippi studio that gave its name to the 2001 platter and is helmed by the same producer, Dennis Herring. If only it were that simple! Instead of being an extension or a mirror image of its predecessor, this record is a sleepy comedown from an exhilarating peak. Where Sweet Tea was filled with unpredictable song choices, this plays it safe, hauling out such familiar items as “Hard Time Killing Floor,” “Crawlin’ Kingsnake,” “I Love the Life I Live,” and “Sally Mae.” And while this retains Jimbo Mathus on guitar, when other musicians pop up, it’s not the lively Fat Possum crew, it’s studio pros like Jim Keltner, or guest shots by superstars Eric Clapton and B.B. King. While this does afford listeners the rare opportunity to hear B.B. on acoustic, it gives the affair the audience-pleasing veneer that weighed down his mid-’90s efforts. Plus, when it comes right down to it, Guy simply is off on this record, with lazy, mannered vocals and by the book guitar. Despite a few good acoustic duet sessions with Junior Wells, acoustic blues is not really Guy‘s forte, and the highly disappointing Blues Singer illustrates exactly why. 

The album is all acoustic and dedicated to John Lee Hooker with the line, “In Memory of John Lee Hooker. You are missed.”

Guy was ranked 30th in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

Tracklist

1. “Hard Time Killing Floor”  (Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James) – 2:49
2. “Crawling King Snake”  (John Lee Hooker/Bernard Bosman) – 5:17
3. “Lucy Mae Blues”  (Frankie Lee Sims) – 3:34
4. “Can’t See Baby”  (Jack Nelson Owens) – 4:05
5. “I Love the Life I Live”  (Willie Dixon) – 2:47
6. “Louise McGhee”  (Son House) – 5:24
7. “Moanin’ and Groanin'”  (Johnny Shines) – 3:30
8. “Black Cat Blues”  (John Lee Hooker) – 4:30
9. “Bad Life Blues”  (Andrew Hogg/Joe Josen) – 3:45
10. “Sally Mae”  (John Lee Hooker) – 4:25
11. “Anna Lee”   (Robert “Nighthawk” McCullom) – 4:15
12. “Lonesome Home Blues”   (Willie Borum) – 5:00

Musicians

Production

Notes
Released: 2003
Recorded: Sweet Tea Recording Studio, Oxford, Mississippi
Genre: Blues
Length: 49:21

Label – Silvertone Records