Buddy Guy - Liverpool
19th July 2006
Buddy Guy In Liverpool for the first time in his life - July 2006. Click to
(appearing on the bill with
) July 12 2006 at Summer Pops,
Liverpool - Review by John Gregory.
THERE was a man, late taking his seat at the impressive indoor Summer Pops
The show had started some time ago but he sat down, looking relaxed, as if
nothing had happened. He had a polka-dot Fender Stratocaster round his neck and
his name was Buddy Guy.
Buddy Guy takes a stroll around the Liverpool Big Top Arena - July 2006. Click
He stood up - sang to an audience member for a while - then carried his tour
round the venue with everyone in awe of him, firing up his Strat along the way.
People took pictures, others followed him like disciples and some gave him a
standing ovation when he moved near them.
This is what I had been reading about for years and hoping that I would one day
see for myself.
I suppose everyone has stories they repeat over and over again, much to the
annoyance of family and friends who have heard them dozens of times.The one I
tell most is the time I met Buddy at his blues club,
, in Chicago in May
2002 and had my picture taken with him (click
to see the photograph and read John's thoughts)
. It may not mean much to anyone else,
and to be honest even I know it's not much of a story, but it matters to me.
Buddy wasn't playing at
that night, so I had to bide my time to see him
When I did it happened to be his first ever gig in Liverpool and he reminded
the audience of the fact, asking why he had never been invited before.
The audience certainly wanted him to stay - one man shouted out to him that he
could stay at his house, while another offered to bring the beer.
The Chicago blues was represented in his show by
and a lively
Got My Mojo Working,
the latter started with the
melody played in a fiery manner by Guy before his impassioned vocals came in.
Click to enlarge
During the gig there were snippets of other classic blues:
Rock Me Baby
and others. Guy's awesome voice was also put to use on Otis Redding's
I've Got Dreams to Remember from his latest album
Bring 'Em In.
His playing seemed very restrained and slow to me for a while, this did not
seem like the man who rips the place apart with a stinging guitar attack on
First Time I Met The Blues
for a history of Chess Records.)
But he drove that guitar like a sports car. It could be gentle and slow for the
trip but it accelerated in speed and volume within a split second when
required to race along.
Guy seemed genuinely pleased to perform, though he was disappointed by the
venue 'curfew' and recalled how in Chicago he used to play as long as he wanted.
In terms of music he avoided the majority of his most famous songs, despite
having one of the best repertoires in blues.
Instead we had a cover of
and towards the end of the show he played in
the style of
John Lee Hooker
(a fantastic couple of verses of Boom Boom which I
involuntary found myself clapping along to and stamping my feet),
- with a slow intro of
Cream's Strange Brew
, with a
distorted opening of Voodoo Child. It seemed as if he tried to fit in as much
he could for us towards the end.
He blasted the opening bars of
Damn Right I'e Got The Blues
but the first verse
was as much as we got. The time had run out and it would soon be time for the
next man on the bill, Jeff Beck.
Click to enlarge
Guy's still a wonderful showman - he played the guitar with his teeth, a towel
and a drumstick. It's crowd pleasing stuff and there could not have been more
of a contrast with the man to follow him on the stage.
Backed by a wonderful four-piece band, Guy often sipped from a mug during
instrumental breaks, a slightly amusing sight.
But it was his walk round the audience I will never forget. I stood just
feet away from him with a smile no doubt as big as his and even salvaged a
plectrum he had thrown from the stage later on.
At the interval - Beck was due on stage soon - I watched a man who bought the
Damn Right I've Got The Blues
album, Guy's great 'comeback'. His other releases
for Silvertone were also on display which span a range of rock, soul, blues and
acoustic tracks, filled with wonderful guitar. If it was that bloke's first
Guy record I wonder if he will end up buying the Guy back catalogue and
discover the majesty of the stuff he recorded for Chess and the classic
and The Blues
album for Vanguard as well?
If so what a journey he was about to be taken on, from Liverpool back to the
Chicago blues via the other genres that Guy has the ability to slip in to. It's
a journey I take on record and CD on a regular basis and Guy is my favourite
All photographs by John Gregory © 2006
Buddy Guy's Club "Legends"
John Gregory's other Buddy
Guy piece + photo
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