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Souljam (600848)

Try To Quit You Baby, When My Left Eye Jumps, I Got A Strange Feeling, Let Me Love You Baby, Stone Crazy, I Got My Eyes On You, The Treasure Untold, You Sure Can’t Do, Sit And Cry, Broken-Hearted Blues, This Is The End and more…

The early recordings of Buddy Guy for Artistic, USA and most notably Chess, that first established his reputation as just about the most explosive and exhilarating Chicago blues guitarist of his generation, have been poorly represented on CD over recent years. As and where these sides have been readily available, they have tended to be either shoddily compiled or been lacking in any quality control sifting. While the best of Buddy’s early sides still stand as just about as impressive as late 1950s and early 1960s blues ever got, he also recorded more inferior and novelty material than was perhaps good for his reputation.

The compilers of this CD should therefore be congratulated in striking a suitable balance between presenting the various facets of Buddy’s recordings of the period, while putting the emphasis on his manifest strengths. Within the 25 tracks on offer here, there are loads of undeniably taut, intense and passionate blues singing and  playing set alongside some rather enjoyable, but admittedly slight, near-pop instrumentals and novelty sides. As a consequence, an hour or so spent listening to this CD is liable to leave you both emotionally spent but happy. Buddy’s performances on Stone Crazy, Sit And Cry, You Sure Can’t Do, This Is The End and the title track of this compilation are just a few examples of blues performances guaranteed to put your emotions through the wringer, while bouncy little instrumentals such as Skippin’ and the frippery of Slop Around are, at the very least, superbly well played and not without their charms.

This set also includes a number of sides that have not often been compiled previously, including Good Times and Too Many Crooks where Buddy throws in some distinctive guitar behind singer Jesse Fortune.

And if this weren’t enough, the 16 page booklet includes a nice short introduction to Buddy’s life and career alongside some rarely seen photos and discographical details relating to these sessions.

Buddy Guy practically took the blues guitar stylings of his heroes B.B. King and Guitar Slim and made them ready made for the generation of blues guitar heroes that came forth in the 1960s and after. The music included on this CD  pretty much encapsulate the best of his early period and is thoroughly recommended.

Review Date: April 2015

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