The Same Thing That Can Make You Laugh (Can Make You Cry), Truth, My Happiness, It’s About The Dollar Bill, A Day In A Life With The Blues, Cookin’ In Style, See Saw, Hey Now, I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues, There Must Be A Better World Somewhere, King Thing, Bad Case Of Love, Something’s Wrong, If The Washing Don’t Get You (The Rinsing Will), One Hundred Ways
Championed by Buddy Guy, produced by Dick Shurman and having noted blues and soul biographer David Ritz as a song-writing collaborator, Guy King has certainly come a long way from dreaming of a life as a fully functioning blues musician while growing up back home in Israel .
With this consistently thrilling album, King has indeed taken a giant leap towards realising his dreams, delivering fifteen enjoyably varied tracks and leading from the front with his scintillating guitar and impressively soulful vocals throughout. It helps of course that he has the support of a more than capable collection of musicians, with the horn section particularly deserving of a commendation, stepping up as they do to complement and enhance the variety of fretwork skills and styles that King brings forth.
This album only needs to be heard once to appreciate why and how his guitar skills would be of interest to Buddy Guy. Not that Guy King is in any way a Buddy Guy copyist, for while Buddy has over the years incorporated rock elements into his blues guitar stylings, this album largely eschews rock influences in favour of other leanings, most notably jazz and soul. A sublime example of this is on the self-written instrumental King Thing, which brings to mind the blues-jazz cross-over guitar that Robert Jr Lockwood used to deliver to stunning effect some years ago (indeed for Delmark - see Steady Rollin’ Man - DD630).
Elsewhere, Guy also introduces a winning contemporary funk edge to frame his blues playing, such as on the cover of Johnny Guitar Watson’s It’s About The Dollar Bill, while on versions of Percy Mayfield’s Something’s Wrong and Doc Pomus/Dr John’s There Must Be A Better World Somewhere, the playing is suitably and tastefully under-stated to serve the sentiments of the lyrics.
Make no mistake though. Despite the incorporation of an eclectic range of musical styles, this is very much an CD for lovers of the contemporary blues guitar album and a hugely enjoyable one at that. Hopefully, the first of many and a name to look out for into the future.
Review Date: April 2016