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Music review: Buddy Guy -- 'Rhythm & Blues'

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Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:00 am

“All that makes me happy is the blues,” wails blues legend Buddy Guy on his latest effort “Rhythm and Blues.”

With a career that spans nearly 50 years and more than 50 albums released, it’s instantly obvious that Guy is elated to still be performing the music he genuinely loves. The Louisiana native, who later adopted the Windy City as his hometown, celebrates his 77th birthday with the release of the new album. Rhythm & Blues” is a double-disc extravaganza featuring star-studded collaborations with Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Gary Clark Jr., Beth Hart and Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith. The first disc features rhythm and the second disc offers blues.

The follow-up to his 2010 Grammy winning “Living Proof,” features Guy’s electrifying guitar licks and passionate vocals as the blues icon demonstrates that he’s still on top of his game.

The Muscle Shoals Horns bring a smooth Memphis soul to the opener “Best in Town,” while “Justifyin’” sizzles behind Guy’s mesmerizing guitar work making it easy to understand why he is listed as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone. Rock brings plenty of gritty swagger to Junior Wells’ classic “Messin’ with the Kid” and Hart simply shines during a smoldering duet with Guy on “What You Gonna Do About Me.”

Urban, one of country music’s best guitarists, joins Guy on “One Day Away,” the album’s most touching and sentimental arrangement. The boys from Aerosmith get in on the action by adding some rock influence to “Evil Twin.” Tyler, Perry and Whitford certainly aren’t strangers to the blues as witnessed by Aerosmith’s underrated 2004 blues-flavored “Honkin’ on Bobo.” Texas guitarist Clark Jr. brings his mix of blues and soul to the potent “Blues Don’t Care,” matching Guy lick by lick. Guy, a six-time Grammy winner, continues to do what he does best.

“Rhythm & Blues” is an intensely brilliant work of musical emotion by a man who knows more than a thing or two about the blues.

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