Born To Play The Guitar
If you’re a fan of Buddy Guy, you will find a lot to
enjoy with his new release, Born to Play Guitar (Silvertone/RCA
Records). No album has ever been more appropriately
titled as Guy and longtime collaborator Tom Hambridge have joined forces again to offer up 14
sizzling tracks that showcase the man and his
Stratocaster, along with a host of guest stars that
includes ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Van Morrison, Kim
Wilson, and Joss Stone.
Wisely, Hambridge plays to Guy’s strengths on these
tunes, but throws in enough twists and turns to keep
your attention. There’s plenty of string bending
going on with tracks like the title tune, “Back Up
Mama,” “Turn Me Wild,” and “Whiskey, Bear & Wine,”
but there are also a few curves thrown in. Guy’s
duet with the young British R&B vocalist Joss Stone
(“(Baby) You’ve Got What It Takes”) is marvelous.
Their voices complement each other well and the lush
strings are a change of pace for a Buddy Guy
Elsewhere, there’s a stirring tribute to B.B. King,
“Flesh and Bone,” that pairs Guy with Van Morrison,
and harmonica master Kim Wilson teams with Guy on
two tracks (the classic “Too Late” and “Kiss Me
Quick). These tunes will remind longtime fans of
those fabled Buddy Guy/Junior Wells collaborations.
ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons joins Guy for the
scorching Texas-styled rocker “Wear You Out,” and
Guy pays tribute to his mentor on the acoustic “Come
Back Muddy,” backed by Reese Wyans’ piano and Doyle
Bramhall II’s 12-string.
Hambridge wrote or co-wrote
13 of the 14
tracks on Born to Play Guitar and obviously his
lyrics speak to Guy, who sings them as if their his
own words. Guy did actually co-write a few of these
with Hambridge (“Whiskey, Beer & Wine,” “Turn Me
Wild,” “Crying Out of One Eye,” “Crazy World,” and
“Thick Like Mississippi Mud”), but it’s clear that
this is a collaboration that’s build to last.
Through it all, Guy performs with an intensity that
belies his 79 years, both vocally and on guitar.
Born to Play Guitar is one of Guy’s best in recent
years and it’s strictly Buddy Guy doing what he does
best and loves the most…..playing classic blues
guitar in his own inimitable style. No album was
more appropriately named than this one.