“Keep alive the primal flame of Chicago blues”
“The blues is alive and well”
RCA / Silvertone
Text: DAVID PÉREZ.
Buddy Guy continues to deliver on his deathbed promise to BB King: to keep the blues alive. Three years have passed since the outstanding “Born to play guitar” (RCA, 2015), with which he won his seventh Grammy, and now he is giving us a new master class of music that runs through his veins.
Tom Hambridge repeats the production and assumes the reins of much of the composition, in addition to playing the drums on all the tracks, except for the closing ‘Milking muther for ya’, a brief solo Buddy improvisation of the Red Nelson theme . He dons his timeless polka dot Stratocaster and makes clear the spirit of his eighteenth studio album from the title track, ‘The blues is alive and well’, accompanied by a great band in which the winds shine: “Our love dies, but the blues lives and is in good health ”.
Infidelity, love and heartbreak, and those women without whom we could not live and this music would not exist, run through every groove. From ‘Guilty as charged’, where he tells us a fatal reunion and guilt for not having fled in time, while his six strings burn and scratch us in each phrase, to ‘Whiskey for sale’ as the best wound healing, with some choruses that melt even the ice of the glasses and Buddy overflowing lust and vocal energy within the reach of very few.
We feel the cold in the stark version of Sonny Boy Williamson II’s ‘Nine below zero’, which soaks us to the bone and makes his on a slow fire. At 82 years old, he continues to keep alive the original flame of Chicago Blues in every note, with an eternally young voice that transmits charisma, truth and tradition with the same naturalness that he breathes.
Clear the discomfort and clouds of a ‘Bad day’, with the unbridled energy of ‘Ooh daddy’, accompanied by a sparkling piano. And if in ‘You did the crime’ Mick Jagger fires up his harmonica, while Buddy recites that of “you committed the crime and I’m paying the price”, in ‘Cognac’ two gifted students, Jeff Beck, join the party and Keith Richards. The fresh blood is put by James Bay in ‘Blue no more’, a delicious gospel-blues in which James blindly follows the maestro to the gates of heaven.
With “The blues is alive and well”, Buddy Guy replaces the crown and proves once again that the blues will never die. Your friend BB King can rest easy.
Previous album review: “Hot august night III”, by Neil Diamond.