Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Blues Master Spreads Word; Buddy Guy Brings His Original Sound to Bluesfest

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Blues Master Spreads Word; Buddy Guy Brings His Original Sound to Bluesfest

Article excerpt

Trevor Hockins

ONE dance, an open mic and a Ray Charles song playing on a jukebox may have given birth to modern music.

Buddy Guy knows.

The father of rock'n'roll blues, a legend among legends, was there.

He laughs and flashes one of his big, warm smiles.

"We had been playing in a little club one night and I forgot to turn the guitar off when I was tying it up - I was young, what can I say," he says.

"They were still dancin' an' all and this guy spun his girl and her dress hit my guitar strings. The sound was just right, perfect ... in tune with the jukebox - it was Ray Charles' Tell Me What I Say, I think.

"They kept hummin'. I was like, a[approximately]Oh my God, I should be able to play that'."

So he did.

The sounds he found, though at first shunned in his homeland, gave birth to what became known as "the '60s British Blues explosion".

Buddy's acolytes include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, as well as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The king of Chicago blues is sitting in his bedroom, in the metropolis's 'burbs.

A Stratocaster guitar is on its stand in the corner and the TV is on but turned down.

The room is bare. It is a waiting room for Buddy, who is preparing for his next tour.

"I love touring," the father of 10 says.

"I feel close to the people who come to see me play - they're like family."

He is still close to his family, though his wife Jennifer died in 2002.

"Eight of the kids still live in Chicago and, ya know, I'll see them often - when they need money."

In the meantime, Buddy is busy. He is an habitual channel surfer, on the hunt for new sounds.

"I don't read or write music, so I listen," the 77-year-old says.

"Might hear a bit of an ad, a cut-away or just a few notes and it's enough. I'll grab the guitar and start workin' it. …

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