Buddy Guy has shared the latest single from his forthcoming album, The Blues Don’t Lie, and it finds the legend of Chicago blues guitar breaking the seal on his signature Dunlop Cry Baby for a funky track that brings all of his tricks to the party.
I Let My Guitar Do The Talking is Buddy Guy in Fright night mode. For a start, there’s that counterintuitive title. Sure, Guy makes the electric guitar talk, he makes it sing, but it is one of his gifts in life to tell a story. His shows have a stand-up comedy quality; they can be interactive, like an informal conversation with the audience that is sustained whether he has a guitar in hand or the microphone. Everyone is welcome.
Speaking to MusicRadar in 2015, he shared his philosophy to performance, and the showmanship he learned from watching players such as Fred McDowell, Son House, and Lightnin’ Slim.
“If you’d see me play, I wanted you to say, ‘He’s playing his guitar like he don’t care whether tomorrow comes.’ Because if people come see you, I think you should give them every damn thing you’ve got,” he said.
That’s what he did. His story is, quite literally, the stuff of blues legend. Getting the train out of Louisiana and arriving into Chicago, a fish out of water, initially too scared to share the stage with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter.
He bided his time. When he did play, he took the opportunity to really put on a show. He’d go mobile; he’d jump off the bar. People took to calling him the Little Wild Man from Louisiana.
Now some folks are calling him the last great bluesman, and that means every release counts. Guy announced The Blues Don’t Lie last month, debuting Gunsmoke Blues, a socio-conscious and downbeat meditation on gun violence in America, featuring Jason Isbell.
He followed that with We Go Back. Featuring the hallowed voice of RnB/gospel singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, it again feels like another state-of-the-nation song, a look back on having good times during the bad times – “Fightin’ to get our share / Times were bad, but what a time we had” – and Staples’ voice is a rich and warm interlocutor for the piquant tones of Guy’s Fender Stratocaster.
On I Let My Guitar Do The Talking, it's just Buddy Guy, but he does make that guitar talk, the wah pedal adding some vowels into his peerless electric blues licks.
The Blues Don’t Lie is available to pre-order, out 30 September via RCA Records.