The one-time wide-eyed protégé of Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, who said not too long ago that he still thought of himself as ‘the kid’ by comparison, is now in his mid- seventies and one of the few remaining seniors of the blues community.
In fact, Buddy Guy is pretty much the Chairman Of The Blues Board these days, with BB King – eleven years his senior – as Chairman Emeritus. Which is why his refusal to grow old gracefully is so delightful.
On Living Proof’s curtain-raiser, 74 Years Young, he kicks off singing his lyrical assertion of perpetual friskiness over acoustic guitar and a gently chugging beat, before repeating the trick he pulled a few years back on Done Got Old: lulling the listener into a sense of false security before unleashing a strafing electric barrage which would, for ferocity and fluency, be hard to match by players at least a third his age.
This album, a repeat collaboration with drummer- songwriter-producer Tom Hambridge, reaches its peak of poignancy in Stay Round A Little Longer, a duet with BB King in which both men – combined age around 160 – praise the Lord for their continued presence (as do we all).
Elsewhere, Key Don’t Fit rewrites Jimi’s Red House; Carlos Santana drops by to drop a guest solo; the title track Chicagoes like an em-effer, and the old guy shows everyone a good time.