"I'm 74 years young," Buddy Guy announces over dusty acoustic guitar in Living Proof's opener. He sounds like an ancient Mississippi bluesman — that is, until the screaming, Chicago-style electric lead kicks in, obliterating the sepia-tone ambience. Guy's latest is a musical memoir in which he finds gratitude in "Stay Around a Little Longer" (a soulful duet with fellow aging blues vet B.B.
Living Proof was designed partially as an aural autobiography from the legendary Buddy Guy, opening up with the stark summation “74 Years Young,” then running through songs that often address some aspect of a working musician's life. It’s not a concept that’s followed through completely -- it’s thrown off track somewhat by duets with B.B. King and Carlos Santana, with the latter’s soft groove sticking out tonally as well -- but it’s enough of a narrative to give the record a definitive shape that some latter-day Guy albums are lacking.
The Chicago legend has released what is surely the blues album of the year. Robin Denselow 2010 The legendary pioneer of the Chicago blues turned 74 in July this year, and he’s determined to show that he’s still in fine voice, and – more even importantly – that he’s still one of the most exhilarating and inventive guitarists in the world. "I’m 74 years young, there’s nothing I haven’t done / I’ve drunk wine with kings and The Rolling Stones," he notes cheerfully on the opening track, as he switches from a solid, slinky acoustic guitar riff to a sudden, furious and attacking solo that provides an instant reminder of why he is so special.