There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Damn right Buddy Guy’s got the blues from his head down to his shoes. Maybe it’s because the Chicago guitar legend got roped into recording a live album backed by SNL reject G.E. Smith and Co. The best blues recordings come from the crucible of onstage competition, from guitarists who can transform playing the blues into a full-contact sport, who can get in each other’s face and consequently be forced to produce something that can get your mojo way off the ground. Smith sounded OK between commercials, but he isn’t quite up to the task. Getting the chance to play lead on “I’ve Got News for You,” Smith sounds well nigh ridiculous following Guy’s blustering solo. But the record is comfortable with what it is: a showcase for Guy’s formidable talents. Guy is most comfortable playing the laid-back blues that dominate this record, especially his anthem, “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues.” He starts off smoldering and simmering, letting piano man Johnnie Johnson’s keys weave in and out of his guitar lines, and BOOM!—suddenly, he’s going the speed of sound, faking left, going right, filling every chorus with a flood of notes like a great river overflowing the delta. Nobody plays the blues like Buddy Guy, and G.E. Smith isn’t gonna ruin his party.—Eric Friedman