Guy - Bring 'Em In (Zomba
by Mr. K. Jan 2006
you talk about bona fide Blues legends and I mean the real original
gangsters (we sure ain’t talkin’ ‘bout Jeff Healey
here ladies’n’gents!), sadly they’re referred
to all too often in the past tense these days.
year we lost RL Burnside, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and damn, even
Fats Domino had a near miss down in New Orleans! So popping this
cd into player brought a very warm glow to my heart (I promise it
wasn't just the single malt I was cradling at the time!)…
69 years young and a recent inductee into the Rock'N'Roll Hall Of
Fame, this album displays all the skills of a man still right at
the tippity-top of his game. Opener 'Now You're Gone' is a lazy
late night opener sung in a rich falsetto (not unlike the Rev. Al
Green) and punctuated with Buddy's beautifully wailing
lead guitar lines, which seem to sing a song all of their own. Next
up 'Ninety Nine and One Half' is more strident and mid-tempo, again
that goddamn guitar is singing right from the get-go and Buddy's
back to singing in a more 'natural' raucous voice. When he hits
that solo in the middle you'll never wanna pick up a guitar again
brothers 'n' sistas. Yeah, the boy's that dang fly.
A lot of the songs seem to focus on the 'woman done me wrong' vibe,
unusual for Blues songs eh? The knowledge of Buddy's recent divorce
puts songs like the sloping 'Somebody’s Sleeping In My Bed'
into real perspective. But here’s where things get a little
tricky. A Blues legend can't release an album these days without
the record company shoe-horning as many contemporary 'guest stars'
as they can onto it. They did it with Hooker and
they did it with BB, now poor Buddy's gotta go
through a wrist-slashing salsa run through of Screamin'
Jay's 'I Put A Spell On You' aided and abetted by one Carlos
Santana. You kinda expect it to fly head long into 'Black
Magic Woman' at every turn but thankfully it doesn't! It's actually
cool to hear Buddy singing it because I've always thought he sounded
like a more sedate Screamin’ Jay!
Sadly it doesn't end there... They wheel Tracy Chapman
out for a mildly limp version of 'Ain't No Sunshine', saved only
by the beautifully clean guitar lines. Ken Boothe
reggaefied it in the 70's and did it best (yeah, even better than
Bill Withers baby!), let's just leave it there
shall we? Oh but it gets better… renowned U.S. white boy bluesman
(ahem!) John Mayer gets in on the act for a sweet
version of Otis Redding's ‘I’ve Got
Dreams To Remember’… this one just about scrapes under
the wire because it's such a beautiful song, someone as insipid
as even John Mayer couldn’t fuck it up! Let’s just hit
that fantastic button marked *SKIP* shall we for a foul version
of Dylan's ‘Lay Lady Lay’ guest starring
soulboy Anthony Hamilton and slide guru Robert
So onto the home straight and Buddy’s back to doin’
what he do best, layin’ the down home blues on yo’ sorry
white ass! 6 and a half minutes of slinky shuffle called ‘Cheaper
To Keep Her/Blues In The Night’, another ode to his obviously
dear-departed, she-done-took-all-ma-money, wife! Beautiful! My favourite
track on the entire album comes late tho’, track 11, ‘Cut
You Loose’… sample lyric, "The only time you're
good to me baby is when I cash my cheque…" Now call me
Mystic Meg but I have a feeling it's about the
ex-wife again! Shit, by the sounds of it she sounds just like my
ex-girlfriend! Angry vocals mixed with angry and way-too-vicious-for-an-old-age-pensioner
guitar wailing! Someone asks you what the blues sounds like? You
play 'em that. It’s a straight flush baby.
home 'n' dry right? Not quite, one more guest star! Satan preserve
us! A doozee tho’, Keith 'I should be dead right now'
Richards, for a mid-tempo album filler called 'The Price
You Gotta Pay'. Seems the price we listeners have to pay is record
company watering down but hey it’s worth it for those big
fat golden nuggets like the closing track… hmm… jazz…
nice… stone free grooves… ahhhh…’Do Your
Thing’. Yeah Buddy, keep on doin’ yo’ thang.
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