The one-time wide-eyed protégé of Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, who said not too long ago that he still thought of himself as ‘the kid’ by comparison, is now in his mid- seventies and one of the few remaining seniors of the blues community.
Septuagenarian blues stormer.
In fact, Buddy Guy is pretty much the Chairman Of The Blues Board these days, with BB King – eleven years his senior – as Chairman Emeritus. Which is why his refusal to grow old gracefully is so delightful.
On Living Proof’s curtain-raiser, 74 Years Young, he kicks off singing his lyrical assertion of perpetual friskiness over acoustic guitar and a gently chugging beat, before repeating the trick he pulled a few years back on Done Got Old: lulling the listener into a sense of false security before unleashing a strafing electric barrage which would, for ferocity and fluency, be hard to match by players at least a third his age.
This album, a repeat collaboration with drummer- songwriter-producer Tom Hambridge, reaches its peak of poignancy in Stay Round A Little Longer, a duet with BB King in which both men – combined age around 160 – praise the Lord for their continued presence (as do we all).
Elsewhere, Key Don’t Fit rewrites Jimi’s Red House; Carlos Santana drops by to drop a guest solo; the title track Chicagoes like an em-effer, and the old guy shows everyone a good time.