The Blues' most electrifying guitarist, Guy has remained a vital and current musician, moving blues forward without losing sight of its roots. He’s renowned for his raw, blistering vocals and high-voltage guitar playing. Guy regards himself as a “caretaker of the blues.” Having learned from the likes of Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Guitar Slim and Magic Sam, he explains, “I just take what they taught me and keep adding to it.”
George “Buddy” Guy was born in 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana. His earliest influences included T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Slim and Lightnin’ Hopkins - blues musicians who were all uniquely expressive stylists and showmen. Guy’s high-energy showmanship also owed a debt to Guitar Slim, of “The Things That I Used to Do” fame. Along the way, he developed his own style, typified by a fierce, staccato attack and tense, single-note solos.
He spent a year and a half playing with John “Big Poppa” Tilley’s band in Baton Rouge. After sending a tape to Chess Records, Guy headed to Chicago in 1958 to seek his fortune. He drew attention on the club circuit for his fiery fretwork and showmanship. With assistance from his friend and fellow bluesman, Magic Sam, Guy got signed to Cobra Records (releasing a few singles on its Artistic subsidiary). A year later Cobra folded and Guy - along with label mates Willie Dixon and Otis Rush - moved to Chess, where he played recorded from 1960 to 1967.