Buddy Guy

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About Buddy Guy

Keith Richards called him the godfather. Eric Clapton likened his impact to Elvis’. And Hendrix reportedly said that heaven was lying at his feet while listening to him play. But Buddy Guy tends to weigh himself a little more modestly: “Music makes people happy,” he said. “And that’s why I go on doing it.” The Louisiana-born guitarist got his footing as a session man with Chicago’s Chess Records. In the years to follow, he synthesized the traditions of Delta blues with a fierce, theatrically modern style, embracing volume and distortion before they were vernacular, sometimes playing with his teeth and feet and using an extra-long cable to wander through the crowd and onto the street, soloing the whole way. As beloved as he is as a player, Guy also serves as an ambassadorial figure, bridging the gap between his generation of collaborators—which includes B.B. King and Junior Wells—and later ones, working first with British blues acolytes like Jeff Beck and The Rolling Stones, then with artists like John Mayer. A sharp wit, Guy sums up his trajectory: “When I went to Chicago, I'll put it like this: I was looking for a dime and I found a quarter.”

Lettsworth, LA, United States
July 30, 1936
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