The legendary pioneer of the Chicago blues scene has just turned 79, but he is still one of the most exhilarating guitarists in the world, and still in powerful voice. Born in Louisiana, he moved north to be influenced by Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, and developed a passionate, driving guitar style that made him a hero for blues-rockers from Eric Clapton to Jimmy Page. It’s no surprise that the guests here include ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, who joins him on the stomping Wear You Out, and Van Morrison, who sings on the poignant Flesh & Bone, a tribute to the late BB King.
Fresh material from senior bluesman, featuring Joss Stone and Van Morrison. With the recent death of BB King, Buddy Guy is among the last of the old bluesmen standing. Born in 1936, he first learned how to pluck on a two-string diddly bow. Moving from Baton Rouge to Chicago he came under the spell of Muddy Waters, to whom he pays simple, heartfelt, acoustic tribute here on Come Back, Muddy.
Guitarist Buddy Guy — one of the last working giants from the electric blues' greatest generation — traces his life in mission and missing, from the crackling title cut to the B.B. King memorial "Flesh and Blood," sung with Van Morrison, and "Come Back Muddy," a message to Guy's late boss, Muddy Waters. Guy co-wrote just four songs here, but he sings and solos with reliable ferocity; two tracks with harpist Kim Wilson evoke his classic partnership with Junior Wells.
Once again working with producer/songwriter Tom Hambridge -- the bluesman's main collaborator since 2008's Skin Deep -- Buddy Guy serves up a straight-ahead platter with Born to Play Guitar, his 28th studio album. Many of Guy's latter-day records loosely follow a theme, but Born to Play Guitar is pretty direct: just a collection of songs designed to showcase Buddy's oversized Stratocaster. Which isn't to say there's either a lack of variety or pro forma songwriting here.