This is the first Cold Shot that features a whole album. We (that’s all my personalities combined) are pretty psyched about that.
See, Buddy Guy’s a favorite of the Cold Shot space: the man not only inspired two-thirds of Jimi Hendrix’s act, making him the grandfather of all those 1970s and ’80s guitar heroes from Page to Clapton to whoever it was that played guitar in Cinderella, but the guy still has not lost his edge at the ripe old age of 72.
B.B. King, God love ‘im, has lost a step. I would still fork over $60 to see B.B., don’t get me wrong — he’s still a strong and beautiful American icon who always comes with a full horn section in tow. But Buddy Guy is still laser sharp, white hot with the guitar and the vocals. While the production on his new album, Skin Deep (due July 22 on Silvertone), might be slicker and more digital-clean than his phenomenal 1970s Junior Wells collaborations, Drinkin’ TNT & Smokin’ Dynamite and Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues, and though the horns are somewhat dialed back in places, it otherwise sounds like the same dude on guitar.
He doesn’t look the same these days — there are no familiar greasy Buddy Guy curls that we’ve learned to love over the decades:
But the screaming electric guitar, powered by beautiful electric fuzz-wah distortion and feedback that put the “urban” in Chicago blues, are present in full force on the new record. And, for the lightweight blues fans who need a little nudge to jump in, there’s a freakin’ red-carpet guest list that includes Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks.(Aside: We’re not allowed to upload MP3s — poop on those record company powers-that-be — but you can listen to the new tuneage at Guy’s MySpace.)
As far as the songs go, my personal faves are “I Found Happiness,” which closes the record, a funky little rocker that deals with the same topic as Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” except with a lot more credibility (“She’s just like a fitness machine, and we work out every day,” and he’s got the doctor’s reports later in the song to prove it), and “Who’s Gonna Fill Those Shoes,” which mourns the deaths of the dinosaurs of blues, most of whom were in their prime when Guy first came up in the ’50s and that acolyte named Hendrix was aping his act.
Great stuff. We got all emotional when Bo Diddley passed on some weeks ago. Go out and get Skin Deep — it’s a chance to celebrate a playa’s legacy while he’s still among us. Amen.