Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Dec. 8, 2006
Can't Quit the Blues (Silvertone / Legacy / Sony BMG)
Why has it taken a half-century for Buddy Guy to get the box-set treatment? Whatever the answer, the 3-CD/1-DVD Can't Quit the Blues corrects the oversight for the most part. Guy's legendary rep stems from three prime facts: the master bluesman has played professionally since the late 1950s; his wailing, stinging guitar has influenced generations of strummers; and he's performed with Wolf, Junior Wells, and Muddy Waters. Critique that Guy ain't so original is misplaced: he's the secretary-general of the blues, deftly interpreting songs, while being a consummate entertainer. Plus, he can play the shit out the guitar ask Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana, both of whom cameo here. This compilation spans 1957's "The Way You Been Treating Me" demo to last year's rendering of Keb' Mo's "The Price You Gotta Pay" with Keith Richards. In short, the 47 songs aptly represent the Stratocaster Master, although rarities and oldies are slim, with only a handful of unreleased tracks. And there's got to be more live gems that need unvaulting. If it weren't for the DVD, which features six of Guy's appearances at the famed Montreux festival starting in 1974, that might be more of an issue. A real treat is DVD doc My Time After Awhile, where Guy recounts the trek from his roots in sharecropping Louisiana to owning the successful Legends club in Chicago. Add a 40-page booklet with rare photographs and Can't Quit the Blues is a worthy overview for any earnest blues fan.