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Buddy Guy - Liverpool
19th July 2006

Buddy Guy In Liverpool for the first time in his life - July 2006. Click to enlarge

Buddy Guy (appearing on the bill with Jeff Beck ) 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 marquee arena.
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 to enlarge
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, Legends , in Chicago in May 2002 and had my picture taken with him (click here 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 Legends that night, so I had to bide my time to see him perform.

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 Muddy Waters' staples Hoochie Coochie Man 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 , Hideaway 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 on Chess Records . (Click here 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 Fever 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), Eric Clapton - with a slow intro of Cream's Strange Brew - and Jimi Hendrix , with a distorted opening of Voodoo Child. It seemed as if he tried to fit in as much as 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 Buddy 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 A Man 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 pilot.

All photographs by John Gregory © 2006

  • More on Buddy Guy's Club "Legends"     here
  • More on Jeff Beck here
  • Read John Gregory's other Buddy          Guy piece + photo here

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  •     MORE 2006 NEWS:

    • Stevie Ray Vaughan mentor, "CJ" Antone RIP... Here
      29th June 2006
    • Blues Foundation (WC Handy) Award Winners 2006... Here
      28th May 2006
    • Festival Saturday - Evening: "A great night..." Here
      21st May 2006
    • Festival Saturday - Afternoon: "A great success..." Here
      21st May 2006
    • Festival Friday - "woow, what a night"... Here
      20h May 2006
    • Festival Fringe Gigs List Grows Again... Here
      20h May 2006
    • Morris & Qirko At Centenary Centre Sunday 21st May... Here
      19h May 2006
      19h May 2006
    • Last Minute Ticket Returns - 10 available. Be quick... Here
      18h May 2006
    • Don Audio Valve Amps For Fest Here
      18h May 2006
    • Festival Radio - Latest... Here
      17th May 2006
    • Festival Fringe Grows... Here
      15th May 2006
    • Official Festival Photographer Appointed... Here
      11th May 2006
    • Festival Saturday Sold Out... Here
      9th May 2006
    • Festival Saturday Sold Out... Here
      9th May 2006
    • Valuable Guitars Stolen... Here
      27th April 2006
    • Festival Radio... Here
      26th April 2006
    • R.B. Morris for Peel... Here
      24th April 2006
    • Festival "Fringe" Develops... Here
      22nd April 2006
    • Walter Ego To Strip Down... Here
      22nd April 2006
    • Blues Fest Movie On DVD... Here
      18th April 2006
    • International Songwriting Competition Results... Here
      17th April 2006
    • Ha! Man Gig Cancelled... Here
      13th April 2006
    • BB King with Gary Moore. Review, Pictures and more... Here
      4th April 2006
    • Tickets selling like hot cakes... Here
      31st March 2006
    • Smokestack Review Updated... Here
      31st March 2006
      30th March 2006
    • Smokestack Release New CD... Here
      23rd March 2006
    • Walter Ego and Wicked Grin at The Office... Here
      18th March 2006
    • Festival Licence Granted... Here
      18th March 2006
    • Papa George in finals... Here
      16th March 2006
    • Concert for Chris Milligan... Here
      8th March 2006
    • LLAMA in Devon... Here
      3rd March 2006
    • Stone Creation to play 2006 Festival... Here
      1st March 2006
    • Juliet Turner - Tickets... Here
      18th February 2006
    • Guitar heroes in bath... Here
      18th February 2006
    • Manx Radio Honoured... Here
      17th February 2006
    • Amy Wadge... Here
      16th February 2006
    • W.C.Handy Awards Changes and Nominations... Here
      15th February 2006
    • Zoot Money Trio in Town... Here
      14th February 2006
    • Juliet Turner for Centenary Centre... Here
      13th February 2006
    • Back Door Slam Update... Here
      13th February 2006
    • 2006 Blues Grammy Winners... Here
      12th February 2006
    • John Hammond Interview... Here
      10th February 2006
    • John Hammond Discussion... Here
      6th February 2006
    • Blues Legend For Fest 2006... Here
      4th February 2006
    • Centenary Centre Gigs... Here
      24th January 2006
    • Wilson Pickett 1941-2006 RIP... Here
      20th January 2006
    • John Adams To Quit Touring... Here
      20th January 2006
    • Robert Johnson & Cream Honoured... Here
      10th January 2006

    • For the 2005 News Archive click here

    • For the 2004 News Archive click here

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