Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review" "Buddy Guy, When I Left Home, My Story" with David Ritz

When blues guitarists talk about the blues, especially the Chicago blues, Buddy Guy's name will always be mentioned.  If you're even a casual fan of the blues, this book is a must read for you.  Buddy Guy tells his story just like he plays the blues, with honesty that incorporates deep personal insights from his early life in Louisiana right up to his present life in Chicago.

This book is more than an autobiography of one of the greatest blues guitarists of all times.  The book also details the story of a black blues musician starting out playing in Louisiana, moving on to Chicago and dedicating his life to playing the blues. 

The story is upbeat although there is a sadness the reader will experience when Buddy takes us through his early years of picking cotton with his family. Guy and his entire family lived and worked on a farm.  The family that owned the farm got half of everything Guy and his family produced. The Guy family got to live on the farm and keep half. 

The work was long, hard and six days a week.  But Buddy's words show no bitterness. He talks about working in the fields all day at age 9 with his family, "Depending where you coming from, you could feel sorry for that little boy, thinking he's being misused. You could feel he was too young to work like that. You could decide that the world of sharecropping was cruel and unfair.  And you wouldn't be entirely wrong.  Except that if that boy was me and you were able to get inside my little head, you'd find that I was happy being out there with my daddy, doing the work that the big people did. I wanted to be grown and help my family anyway I could." Buddy Guy had it tough for much of his life and yet he never complained, he always did whatever kind of work he could find and then played his guitar all night where ever he could get a gig. 

Buddy Guy is a remarkable talent who even at age 75 is still performing and delighting blues fans all over the world including in his own Legends Jazz Club in Chicago.  I was able to find two great Buddy Guy live performances on YouTube and have attached them below.  Please enjoy these two classic performances.  

The coauthor of this book is David Ritz who always does a wonderful job of capturing not only the works of great musicians but also their spirit.  David also co-wrote "Hound Dog", the Leiber and Stoller autobiography that was reviewed on this blog on 4/16/12. Keep writing David, you are producing outstanding word pictures of the musicians we love.

The Music Man Awards This Book "4 Quarter Notes"

                4 Quarter Notes= Excellent, Must Read
3 Quarter Notes= Good Read
                2 Quarter Notes= Somewhat Interesting
                         1 Quarter Note= Save Your Time and Money

Buddy Guy Live at the Jazz Lugano Festival in 2008
Medley of "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man"/"Love Her With a Feling"

                                                                                 Buddy Guy Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 

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