Album Mini-review: Buddy Guy — Born to Play Guitar

File Next to: (early) Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix

No one can argue with any amount of credibility that Buddy Guy hasn’t paid his dues. Now 79 years old, the prime exemplar of Chicago electric blues can make any sort of album he cares to make. And it’s worth pointing out that bluesmen have made concession to popular trends before (anyone remember Muddy Waters‘ unfairly maligned 1968 album, ]Electric Mud?). And the idea of an album full of collaborations with “today’s stars” isn’t a new idea, either; just ask the late Ray Charles, Carlos Santana, or any number of other high-profile artists. So there’s nothing exactly groundbreaking about Born to Play Guitar, featuring as it does guest spots from Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Joss Stone and Van Morrison. There’s a guitar-slinging, autobiographical tone to many of the set’s songs, and they rock pretty hard while allowing room for Guy’s swaggering vocals and still-stinging lead guitar work.

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