At 65, Buddy Guy is still taking to the stage and setting an impossibly high standard for blues guitarists of every vintage, the majority of his devotees young enough to be his grandchildren. In the early '50s, Guy began his blues career with stints in Baton Rouge, playing with established bands that ultimately gave him the confidence to relocate to Chicago in 1957. There he established his identity as a raucous blues rocker with a penchant for drink and little regard for the low end of the volume knob. In the '60s, Guy cemented his reputation with amazing albums for Chess and Vanguard, leading to his early '70s work with Junior Wells. This was a period that found him being championed by Eric Clapton, who produced some of Guy's sessions at the time. After a 25-year career, Guy found himself less in demand; unwilling to yield to record label politics, he didn't record for much of the '80s. When he finally returned, it was with the pure electric abandon of 1991's Grammy-winning Damn Right, I've Got the Blues. Although he's been criticized for having an uneven recording and performing career since his return a decade ago, Guy is one of the few blues purveyors to actually take chances with the form. His latest album, the swampy, techno-blues triumph Sweet Tea, is a prime example of Guy using his own legend to completely reconstruct the blues into something fresh and unique. And even if it makes him a star of Clapton/Hendrix-like magnitude, he'll surely find something completely different to interest him by his next foray into the studio.
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