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Buddy Guy
THE BEST OF BUDDY GUY: THE MILLENNIUM COLLECTION
(MCA/CHESS)

Actually, Guys very best lies somewhere in the grooves of his Vanguard albums (especially his manifesto A Man and the Blues) and his more recent CDs for Silvertone, including Sweet Tea, his 2001 love note to the late Mississippi bluesman Junior Kimbrough. But these are the songs that first brought him notice. After a few singles for the Cobra label, Guy switched to Chess and cut the razor-edge "First Time I Met the Blues," the pleading "Let Me Love You Baby" and "Leave My Girl Alone" (both covered by Stevie Ray Vaughan), "When My Left Eye Jumps," and "My Time After Awhile." They all find him striving to reach the apex of his talent: pushing his testifying voice as if he were a higher-toned Otis Redding, snapping out improvised needlepoint note patterns with unremitting intensity. The crackling energy in these tracks proves that even 35 to 40 years ago there were few musicians as raw and alive as Guy is when hes fully engaged by his material. A later acoustic track for Atlantic with his running partner Junior Wells closes this 11-cut disc, though Wells jives too much to let it reach the level of intensity the rest of this material achieves.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: December 27, 2001 - January 3, 2002

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