NORMAN — Album name: Rhythm & Blues (2013, Silvertone Records/RCA Records)
Musician: Buddy Guy
Why you should listen: With a discography that counts one record for every year in a half-century long career you might think Buddy Guy would be coasting at age 76. You would be wrong. The six-time Grammy winner has released not just a new album, it’s a double platter set with a total of 22 tracks.
Before even cracking the CD package open you can tell Guy is still ripping it from the dynamite black and white polka dot suit he’s wearing for the cover art. He has been recognized as a National Medal of the Arts recipient and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Back in the day he inspired young men just starting out such as British upstarts the Rolling Stones. Decades later the Stones were still honoring him with a guest appearance in their Martin Scorsese movie “Shine a Light” performing Muddy Waters tune “Champagne and Reefer.”
“Rhythm & Blues” has a reflective quality in its songs that comes from looking back fondly at a career of music well-played and life well-lived. Several of the tracks feature collaborations with other artists including surprises such as Kiwi country singer Keith Urban. It’s a sage nod to the symbiotic relationship between the blues and country. They sing heart-felt duet “One Day Away” about not wasting a single precious moment in life and especially the perils of taking loved ones for granted.
“Meet Me in Chicago” is fitting homage to the city that Guy left Louisiana for after hearing Muddy Water’s siren song. To this day Guy operates one of the Windy City’s few remaining blues clubs. Buddy Guy’s Legends hosts the boss for an annual performance residency every January.
The most important song on this album is “My Mama Loved Me.” Guy gives credit to his mother for making him what he is today. “I’m so glad she raised me up right,” Guy howls in advance of a blistering guitar solo that would make any mama proud.