Messrs Beck and Clapton are certainly very good at what they do, but like that most talented-yet-overrated of psychedelic blues-rockers Jimi Hendrix, they ripped off a lot of what they did from a gallery of illustrious predecessors. This magpie mind-set is hard to fault – ripping off your elders seems to be how music progresses, with one generation cherry-picking from the ones that preceded it, fusing this with their own stylistic preferences, and producing something new(ish). The sad part comes when their venerable forbears don’t get a smidgen of the airplay or acclaim – not to mention remuneration – afforded to the whippersnappers who wouldn’t have got anywhere without them.
This is inexcusably the case with Buddy Guy. Guy is probably the missing link between blues and rock and roll. He was plaguing punters with tinnitus when the icons he so influenced were still practising ‘Amazing Grace’ in short trousers, melding the showmanship and volume of rock with bluesy emotional maelstrom. In his heyday, he’d play the guitar with his teeth, behind his back, throw it up in the air and catch it in the same chord, and then, with the proto-rock god exuberance out of the way, play the earthiest, angriest, most electrifying blues you’d find anywhere. As evinced by this recording from ’82, he still had that passion into middle age. And, actually, in his mid 70s, as evinced by this live performance from last year.