Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy
Live at Legends

RCA (B00A4TKDKY)

By Georgetown Fats
February 2013

While other greats within blues have allowed their names to become franchises, there is only one Legends. You can spend a night in any of a number of BB King franchise clubs, and there is a very good chance you’re not going to see BB King live and in person. If you manage to make the pilgrimage to Legends while in Chicago, the gentleman at the corner of the bar who looks like Buddy Guy sipping an X.O. Courvoisier isn’t just a plant. The gentleman at the corner of the bar sipping an X.O. Courvoisier IS Buddy Guy.

Tracks 1 through 8 were recorded live in January of 2010 at Legends during Buddy’s residency at the original location of Legends; tracks 9 through 11 are actually non-live tracks taken from the Living Proof sessions. It is hard to not become immediately skeptical of tracks 9 through 11 because it is difficult to believe that with as much as Buddy has played his namesake club, that a full live disk couldn’t have been fleshed out.

While an incredibly overdone cover, it is hard not to enjoy Guy’s rendition of the Willie Dixon-penned classic hit “I’m a Man.” Given the importance of Muddy Waters to Buddy Guy’s career, it is apropos that Live at Legends would include a tune most often associated with Muddy Waters. Seeing as this cover was recorded live in Chicago, from a great who also happens to be one of the last remaining links to the Chess Records days, to say Buddy and his band absolutely own “I am a Man” is obvious.

When Buddy and the band get to laying down “Skin Deep” for the live audience, not a jambalaya-filled fork or a large martini glass can be heard. While it is possible the live audience could have been mixed out of the recording, the probable explanation is that the live crowd realized that they were witnessing a great laying down the blues in the same club he also laid plenty of blood, sweat and tears over the years.

Unfortunately, the three tracks tacked onto this fantastic recorded live experiment just seem tacked on as fluff for the live release. As part of the Living Proof recordings, the quality of these songs belong on an extended or original version of Living Proof. As part of Live at Legends, these additional tracks are just a way to kickstart sales of Living Proof. It’s too bad, too, because when a living legend hits the stage at his own club, the live recording should be enough.

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