Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy at WVU

Review: Frank Harrington      Photos: Steve Kalinsky


Frank Harrington was happier than a puppy with two peckers when he saw that legendary bluesman Buddy Guy would be bringing his roadshow to the campus of West Virginia University. Unfortunately, WVU students did not get the memo that Buddy Guy is the last of the traditionalist bluesmen and decided to sit this one out.  Who cares? So long as Mr. Guy gets his guarantee and I can have a granny-slapping good time with my non-threatening fellow blues fans. Well, I felt slightly threatened by the older man wearing a grossly over-worn Roy Buchannan t-shirt who thought I was eyeing his woman.


Last time Mr. Guy played in the general area was two summers ago at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival where his razor-edge guitar playing and a couple f-bombs were a bit much for the God-fearing folk at Hartwood Acres.  The few that complained acted as if Richard Pryor was polluting their children’s ears. Feeling the audience was downhearted and mistreated, Mr. Guy issued a heartfelt apology the following week. That was the last Pittsburgh Blues Festival. At least it went out with a f-ing bang.


Taking the stage shortly after 7:30 at the beautiful Morgantown Lyell B. Clay Theatre. Mr. Guy kicked off the party with “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues.”   Following with “Hoochie Coochie Man” featuring an extended solo by Buddy’s second tour guitarist Ric Jaz gave Mr. Guy a breather and he just stood back and listened to his amazing band featuring keyboardist Marty Sammons. Sammons and Guy had many great answer-call moments while bassist Orlando Wright and drummer Tim Austin kept this blues train on track.


Other chestnuts included the local favorite “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” also a tiny sampling of his catalog included: “All Around the World,” “Feels Like Rain ,” “Boom Boom” and the fan favorite “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In),” which included Mr. Guy taking a stroll through the audience for vocal participation, truly the Diana Ross “Reach Out and Touch” moment.


The last 40 minutes was comprised of bites of other peoples material “Stormy Monday Blues,” “Strange Brew,” “Voodoo Chile” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”  “Sunshine of Your Love” featured some guitar gymnastics not seen in these parts. Beating his guitar with a hand towel, drumstick, teeth and even his behind made sounds that Brian Wilson could not create.


Was there cussing? Hell, yes. Nothing over the top. Just a few random words peppered into his banter. Words that one would normally yell when getting a Lego in the kneecap or when the Mountaineer fans don’t meet the point spread.  What was the cussing all about? Mostly Mr. Guy’s disappointment that radio no longer plays the blues or asking someone in the theater who is yelling to “shut the f up.”

Approaching 81, we may not be sure why Mr. Guy is still blue but it sure is an adventure figuring out why. Buddy Guy will be playing the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, PA on Sunday May 14th.  A few tickets remain. www.thepalacetheatre.org


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