Chicago Blues: Five minutes with … Buddy Guy

Sept. 4, 2008

It might have been fitting that Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy would be singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch at last night’s game versus Houston. Indeed, languishing through their first four-game losing streak of the year, it was a night for one of Buddy’s biggest songs….

You damn right I got the blues, from my head down to my shoes.

I can’t win, ’cause I don’t have a thing to lose.

I took solace in my impending Vine Line interview with one of the pillars of the music industry. I’ve been a fan of the blues for almost 20 years, tiptoeing my way into the genre ever since a high school history teacher introduced me to a Muddy Waters cassette (does that make me sound incredibly old?). I was entranced by Waters’ song, “Mannish Boy” that was featured in the film “Risky Business.” Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

Buddy blog photo.JPGBuddy had gone to the bald look a couple years back, dropping his trademark Jehri curls, overalls and work boots. It worked for him–but he was 72, of course. Perhaps it was about time.

But there was nothing 72 about the way he spoke and his wit. During his television interview with Len and Bob, he said, “I still sleep with a guitar. It’s the best; it won’t say nothin’ to you until you touch it!”

Buddy went over to the Lowery organ and greeted Gary Pressy with a big hello. The two musicians talked shop for a while then Buddy warmed up with a soft melodic version–in B flat–of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

His live rendition was in key as well, with an entire stadium of Chicagoans singing along with him. He said later in the interview: “we just played a venue in England last month that fit 100,000 people. But I’ve also played in places with a capacity of 38-40 people. I like those because that means I packed the house!”

He stressed entertainers can’t make everyone happy every night, but if you make someone happy with your performance, it’s worth it. I was hoping the players on the field felt the same way–you won’t win every game, that’s just a given. Doesn’t mean you have to accept losing, but among 162 games, it will happen eventually.

Unfortunately, it looked like we weren’t going to win this game, with Houston up 3-0 on the verge of a sweep. The Brewers lost, too, so I was not that worried with the team still five games up. But ironically, it was the blues singer who lifted our spirits tonight.

–Mike Huang

(“Five Minutes with…Buddy Guy” will be featured in the October issue of Vine Line.)

2 Comments

Buddy, what can we say but thank-you. You are my ambassador of the blues. If the cubs had your heart and your passion for what you do we would win the series EVERY year. Thanks again in advance for a little Taste this year. God bless, cubscout59

Buddy, what can we say but thank-you. You are my ambassador of the blues. If the cubs had your heart and your passion for what you do we would win the series EVERY year. Thanks again in advance for a little Taste this year. God bless, cubscout59

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