He's Chicago's blues king today, ruling his domain just as his idol and mentor Muddy Waters did before him. Yet there was a time, and not all that long ago, when Buddy Guy couldn't even negotiate a decent record deal. Times sure have changed for the better: Guy's first three albums for Silvertone in the '90s all earned Grammys. Eric Clapton unabashedly calls Guy his favorite blues axeman, and so do a great many adoring fans worldwide.
Guy's reputation among rock guitar gods such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan was unsurpassed, but prior to his Grammy-winning 1991 Silvertone disc Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, he amazingly hadn't issued a domestic album in a decade. That's when the Buddy Guy bandwagon really picked up steam: he began selling out auditoriums and turning up on network television (David Letterman, Jay Leno, etc.). Feels Like Rain, his 1993 encore, was a huge letdown artistically, unless one enjoys the twisted concept of having one of the world's top bluesmen duet with country hat act Travis Tritt and hopelessly overwrought rock singer Paul Rodgers. By comparison, 1994's Slippin' In, produced by Eddie Kramer, was a major step in the right direction, with no hideous duets and a preponderance of genuine blues excursions. Last Time Around: Live at Legends, an acoustic outing with longtime partner Junior Wells, followed in 1998. In 2001, Guy switched gears and went to Mississippi for a recording of the type of modal juke-joint blues favored by Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, and the Fat Possum crew. The result was Sweet Tea: arguably one of his finest albums and yet a complete anomaly in his catalog. Oddly enough, he chose to follow that up with Blues Singer in 2003, another completely acoustic effort that won a Grammy. For 2005's Bring 'Em In, it was back to the same template as his first albums for Silvertone, with polished production and a handful of guest stars. Skin Deep appeared in 2008 and featured guest spots by Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, and Robert Randolph. Snakebite was released in 2009, followed by Living Proof a year later in 2010.