Monday, June 25, 2007

The First Time I Met The Blues

I first heard FIRST TIME I MET THE BLUES on a Chess album called I Was Walking through the Woods. I thought that it sounded so cool. I was just starting to get into the blues and this track had a rough raw quality that I would forever associate with Buddy. Even though his tone on this track, and most all of the early stuff he did for Chess and Cobra, was thinner and had less sustain and distortion, his aggressive playing just sunk the hook deeper in me and made me want to play this music more than ever. Fred Below on drums (or maybe Al Duncan) and Jack Myers on bass, was the quintessential early Buddy Guy sound.
The only time I can remember playing this song on stage with Buddy, was once at Legend’s when David Bowie was in the audience and Buddy got him on stage. Bowie didn’t want to sing and said his voice was almost gone, so he asked Buddy to play an A and he sang the first verse and walked off. We probably jammed the song for a few minutes after that until Bowie asked Buddy to call up his guitar player Adrian Belew. I had only been with Buddy for a short time and only owned 2 guitars. When Belew came up, he took my backup guitar, an ESP strat-type guitar, and rammed it off the mic-stand and said “I can’t play the blues, I’m Adrian Belew!” He then started bending the neck and just generally banging my guitar around like it was a piece of junk. For a guy with no money to replace the guitar that he was molesting, all I could do was stand there and think to myself, “What a complete D**K!” If Adrian Belew reads this, I hope remembers that when he comes on someone else’s stage, they might not be making rock star money to pay for crap if you break it…jackass.
Anyway, this was one of the first songs we did on the session and we just counted it off and went for it. I think this is the first take and we never even thought about taking it again. As with all of the songs on this record, I didn’t try to imitate Buddy’s licks, just the energy and excitement in his music. When I hear Buddy, there a sound of joy and complete abandon to the music that is something I’ll probably strive for forever.

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