Legendary Blues Artist Buddy Guy, at 83 Years Young Still Going Strong!

by George Radney

Proof  was in the amazing, outstanding concert and history lesson  he gave during a recent performance in Rochester, NY at the Kodak Center.  

The blues legend   talked about how his music,  along with many other Black artists had been   “stolen by White people.”  He mentioned for example,  Big Ma Ruth as the person who wrote and sang “You Ain’t Nothing But A   Hound Dog  well before Elvis Pressley made it a hit.  

At one point he even had the house lights turned up to see the majority White audience in attendance to make sure he was talking to the right people and getting his point across that in order to get air play a White performer had to play it and take over rights to a “colored person’s song.”   Buddy went on to state that ”The English invasion” woke up Americans to blues artists.  Rolling Stones named their band after a Muddy Waters song and most artists, including the Beatles  performed with Blues Legends like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, and Buddy Guy.  

During his Rochester performance, Buddy went back to playing his guitar on classic blues hits like “Just Nineteen” and “Feels like Rain”-  both songs with an  extended guitar solo. He  fused in an outstanding version of a Muddy Waters classic “I just wanna make Love to you”  and another blues treasure ‘Whose Makin’  Love to your old Lady.” 

Buddy also explained the guitar riff that he taught Jimi Hendrix in the summer of 1968 and “The next thing he knew I heard a song on the radio featuring the guitar riff I had just taught in back in the summer!” Buddy performed a rousing version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

 Buddy Guy is currently on tour promoting his latest CD   “The Blues is Alive and Well.”  He performed several songs from the new CD and my favorites were “Cognac” a hard core blues tune surrounding his love for the brown liquor and a straight ahead blues song called “Old Fashioned” that  brought the near capacity crowd to its feet with the hard driving guitar and organ mixture.  

Buddy, a true showman,  at  83 years old did not sit down at all during his hour and a half show! Buddy did one encore to a very appreciative audience including songs “The Blues is alive and well, ” and ‘”Guilty as Charged.” He’s truly amazing and if you are blessed enough to see him in concert go and witness this  American treasure firsthand!

Rochester based Columnist George Radney