9 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even though it was released on the British rock label Silvertone, Buddy Guy’s 2001 album Sweet Tea is in fact a tribute to the Oxford, Mississippi-based label Fat Possum. Best known for recording and promoting a host of unknown and highly idiosyncratic old blues guitarists from backwoods Mississippi, Fat Possum’s mission was to undermine the traditional blues scene, which by the '90s had become codified and highly gentrified. In a way, the Fat Possum artists posed a challenge to name brand players like Guy, but “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me” and “She’s Got the Devil In Her” are powerful examples of Guy’s ability to embrace the feral aesthetic of Fat Possum without mimicking its artists. The guitarist does a manful job of interpreting Junior Kimbrough’s hypnotic groove with “Stay All Night” and “Tramp,” but he also pays tribute to T-Model Ford’s thrashing runs with the violent “Look What All You Got.” It’s hard to believe a smooth operator like Guy could handle the idiosyncrasies of Robert Cage, CeDell Davis and R.L. Burnside, but the proof is in Sweet Tea.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even though it was released on the British rock label Silvertone, Buddy Guy’s 2001 album Sweet Tea is in fact a tribute to the Oxford, Mississippi-based label Fat Possum. Best known for recording and promoting a host of unknown and highly idiosyncratic old blues guitarists from backwoods Mississippi, Fat Possum’s mission was to undermine the traditional blues scene, which by the '90s had become codified and highly gentrified. In a way, the Fat Possum artists posed a challenge to name brand players like Guy, but “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me” and “She’s Got the Devil In Her” are powerful examples of Guy’s ability to embrace the feral aesthetic of Fat Possum without mimicking its artists. The guitarist does a manful job of interpreting Junior Kimbrough’s hypnotic groove with “Stay All Night” and “Tramp,” but he also pays tribute to T-Model Ford’s thrashing runs with the violent “Look What All You Got.” It’s hard to believe a smooth operator like Guy could handle the idiosyncrasies of Robert Cage, CeDell Davis and R.L. Burnside, but the proof is in Sweet Tea.

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