Living Proof

Buddy Guy

There are sure to be young readers who have not yet heard or even heard of Buddy Guy, a legendary blues guitarist who stole licks from the pioneers of that genre while actively inventing a distinctive sound all his own. On “74 Years Young,” the first track on this, his latest offering, ol’ Buddy celebrates his age with a defiant vocal and his usual chainsaw guitar riffs, providing “living proof” that he’s as good as he ever was, or maybe better. I last saw him 20 years ago at a club in Northhampton, Mass., a place he turned inside out, wandering through the audience and into the street, playing down-and-dirty guitar licks while trailing a very long cord that connected his instrument to the amps back inside. For younger readers inclined to now check him out, this CD is a good place to start. You can hear him here making sweet exchanges with B.B. King on “Stay Around a Little Longer,” or swapping solos with Carlos Santana on “Where the Blues Begins.” Those samples of his mastery should encourage most anyone to check out his lengthy discography and hear the great stuff he did with Jr. Wells over 40 years ago, or with Stevie Ray Vaughan more than two decades ago. The “living proof” of how good he is ain’t hard to find.