(photo by Chris Davis)
The last few months have been pretty tough for me. I’ve gone through some personal setbacks and things that I didn’t imagine I would face, including the loss of a 19-year old dog. I know that might not seem like much to some folks, but my dogs are a part of our family, so we still grieve for sweet Emmylou. The other challenges haven’t been as bad as they could’ve been and certainly aren’t as hard as what some folks are facing, but nevertheless, it’s been a challenge to stay positive.
Which brings me to one Buddy Guy. We finally got to see him a few weeks ago in Norman, OK, and it was everything I thought it would be. I’ve been waiting around to see the next time he would be in town, as I fear I don’t have too many more chances. The last few times, I’ve had gigs or been busy otherwise and not been able to attend.
There’s something about the blues that speaks down deep in your soul. It makes you feel good, even though you’re feeling bad at the time. That’s exactly what happened to me the night I got to see Buddy Guy. While there’s some music forms that have been gentrified, and I suppose some of that has happened to the blues, we are blessed to still have a maestro among us in Buddy Guy.
Mr. Guy hit the stage promptly at 8 o’clock PM and at 83 years of age, he rocked it for the next 90 minutes. He moved better than I do, not that I’ve got moves like Jagger, but he kept going and playing. His first song was the title of this blog, “Damn right, I’ve got the blues,” and he made me and the rest of the crowd smile and feel good just by his playing and his attitude. Again, that’s what the blues do to you…they make you forget your troubles, even though they’re all about trouble.
The set kept on going and kept on rocking. Buddy played forwards, behind his back, and played with the guitar sitting on top of a speaker. He came out in the crowd and played at the back of the auditorium and danced with the crowd. He showed what being a true showman is all about.
In between songs, Buddy spoke about Muddy Waters and B.B. King and how they all helped him make it from the farm he grew up on in Louisiana. He shared how he never knew what running water was until he turned 17. He denied the title when he asked the crowed to name, “Who is the best guitarist of all time?” (He said hands down it was B.B.). Note: I got to see Mr. King play once, and while it was at the end of his career, I do believe that Buddy is right. But, all in all, the King of the Blues held court, and we were all willing subjects.
He kept playing, and I kept on smiling, dancing, and just plain feeling great. For that amount of time, I forgot all my troubles, and the music helped transform me to another place and another state of mind. If Buddy Guy comes to your town, get a ticket and go see him. You’ll feel better and be glad you did. So, you ask me if I’ve got the blues? I’ll tell you, “Damn right, I’ve got the blues!”