Born 30th July 1936
George ‘Buddy’ Guy was born in Lettsworth, Louisiana, he learned to play the blues on very basic home made guitar copying what he heard on radio, juke boxes and juke joints in and around Baton Rouge. At this stage music was very much a part-time pursuit, however he was sitting in on sessions with some of the regions top performers, including Slim Harpo and Lightnin’ Slim.
In 1957 Guy left Louisiana and headed for Chicago where after a few months of struggling, through a competition with west side guitarists, Guy was bebefriended by Otis Rush and Muddy Waters and was hired for live work by the owner of the club where the competition was held. Through Muddy Waters he was introduced to the Chicago blues world and he was soon recording for the Cobra label’s subsidiary Artistic. While at Artistic Buddy was taken under the wing of Willie Dixon and the singles he produced along with those of Magic Sam and Otis Rush introduced the public to the new sound that was to be known as West Side Chicago blues.
In 1960 Guy was signed up by Chess following the demise of Cobra, here he demonstrated his huge versatility and talent, playing country blues as backing guitarist for Muddy Waters on his 1963 ‘Folk Singer’ album, to playing jazzy blues instrumentals in the style of Wes Montgomery. Guy around this time formed a long time partnership with blues harpist Junior Wells after contributing to Well’s early recordings ‘Hoodoo man Blues’ and ‘It’s My Life Baby’ under the pseudonym of Friendly Chap. He and Wells provided an appealing double act on the expanding European festival circuit. Guy readily picked up on the music around him incorporating some of the styles used by Jimi Hendrix an artist deeply influenced by Guy, this kept him at the leading edge of blues music during the 70s and 80s and has retained a loyal following on the international circuit. By the 90’s the ever resourceful Guy owned his own Chicago blues club, ‘Buddy Guy’s Legends’.
His career was given a boost when in 1990 he was invited by Eric Clapton to join his Albert Hall blues special. He took advantage of this renewed interest in his music and produced what is regarded as two of his best recordings, ‘Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues’ and “Feels Like Rain’ on Silvertone. Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 14th March 2005 by Eric Clapton and B.B. King. Clapton recalled seeing Buddy Guy at the Marquee Club in London and being impressed by Guy’s ability, his looks and star power, also remembering Guy playing the guitar with his teeth and over his head, two tricks to be adopted by Jimi Hendrix. Buddy Guy’s acceptance speech was simple and concise “if you don’t have the blues, just keep living”