Buddy Guy Still Kicking Ass At Age 81

Now that B.B. King is gone, Buddy Guy is the last living link to the Blues masters who inspired a generation of Rock pioneers in the 1960s. In the 1950s Buddy Guy was the young prodigy among the established Blues giants like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and being 20 years younger than them he brought a more youthful ferocity to the blues with his slashing guitar sounds and his dynamic stage presence.

In the mid-Sixties he blew the minds of guys like Clapton, Page and Beck by playing his incredible scorching solos one-handed, behind his head and wandering through the crowd, long before Hendrix came onto the scene. After Clapton saw Guy perform in 1965 he decided that was what he wanted to do, be the slick frontman of a Blues trio, “a white Buddy Guy”.

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Well as we all know, it didn’t quite turn out that way. The young disciples took the Blues and turned them into something bigger, bolder and multi-colored, the new incarnation of popular music that became known as Rock. And even though the Blues eventually got left behind again, Buddy Guy always believed that he never would have made a lifetime living playing the Blues if it weren’t for those young British lads who championed his music in the 1960s.

People joke that maybe Buddy Guy pulled a Robert Johnson and struck a deal with the devil at the crossroads, and in his case it was an exchange for eternal youth. He is 81 years old and on June 15 is releasing his 11th album this century. The album is called The Blues Is Alive And Well and it features guest appearances from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and James Bay.

But it’s not about the guests. On the two tracks released so far it is amazing to hear how Guy’s voice and guitar playing have held their bite after all these years. This is one remarkable octogenarian who still kicks ass.

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