Rhythm & Blues (2013)
Like a good old whiskey or a bottle of well-preserved wine – Buddy Guy, the great master of blues, has gotten even classier with age. 77-year-old musician is back in town with his latest two-disc release “Rhythm & Blues”, a record filled with killer-guitar chops and slick production. Old challenges face-to-face against new solutions, accompanied with sharp musical performances from Guy and fellow artists. Oh yeah, the number of collaborations on this thing is outstanding. To name a few - Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Kid Rock, Bradley Whit ford and Gary Clark Jr. helped this record to find its place among the best blues rock albums of the last decade.
As you might guess, the record splits itself in two sides: one is called “Rhythm” and the other one - “Blues”. But no matter which side you’ll choose, there is no room for compromise – Buddy ’s style is inevitably unchangeable. It is blues-rock in its flesh with soulful vocal performances that deal with the themes of love, pride, fearlessness beneath death, and of course – friendly-smile blues preaching. And preacher finds himself very close to the audience because he fully believes in what he’s proposing. It feels kind of welcoming and warm to be a part of – but in the end that’s why Buddy Guys music speaks to you on so many levels.
A long-time fellow musician Tom Hambridge, who co-wrote many of tracks throughout the years with Buddy, produced the record. He also played drums on this thing - heavy grooves and bouncy rhythmic chops are his fault. Strong bass lines are present – thanks to Tommy MacDonald. But the main reason why this LP really stands out from other conception attempts Guy had in this century is the number of unusual arrangements. He artful horn-driven parts of the record seem like a very rare occasion in Chicago Blues master’s music. It’s refreshing to hear how blues-rock meets soul in Guy’s music. And of course, string section in “I Go By Feel” gives the track that epic extra space, which makes you throw away any doubts relatively same old rant: how legends and pioneers of such classics as blues rock can offer something new to us listeners? They can. They do.
After all, feels like Buddy Guy and his crew have had a lot of fun making this double-disc magic. Let’s hope we’ll catch their live event because truly good music reveals itself in concert, right?