radio shows
record labels

Live Shows


LIVE REVIEW -- Buddy Guy & Jimmie Vaughan


Two Big Blues Events In One Night:

Buddy Guy Tribute Concert/ Award Presentation

Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Chicago, IL

July 20, 2008


 by Linda Cain

photos by: Jennifer Wheeler

Damn right we’ve got the blues!  Music fans turned out by the thousands to hear a free tribute concert/award presentation to Chicago’s most famous ambassador of the blues, hometown guitar hero and five-time Grammy winner, Buddy Guy.

Although the musical lineup that was originally announced included only Jimmy Vaughan and the Tilt-A-Whirl Band with Lou Ann Barton, there was much more awaiting the crowd.

For starters, audience members who made it into the seating area of the Pritzker Pavilion were handed circular posters, blank on one side and the other side printed with an ad for the event.  The instructions were to hold up the white side of the circle towards the stage when Buddy received his award, thus forming a sea of polka-dots (which is Buddy’s signature guitar pattern). Buddy grinned and flashed his own dot back at them.

Lois Weisberg, revered head of Chicago’s Cultural Affairs Department, presented the first-ever Great Performers of Illinois award to the honoree. A representative from Fender guitars unveiled a special design, black-and-white polka dotted Stratocaster, with a commemorative plaque on the back, and presented it to the 72-year-old musician.


“This award is shared by the people who taught me, “ Buddy declared, adding “just to name a few, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells and so many more.”  Buddy then took his seat on the right side of the stage as the tribute concert began with a set by the Columbia College Blues Ensemble, directed by blues musician/educator Fernando Jones. The ensemble served as the backup band for the first hour of the show.

The youthful seven-piece band performed “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” as the lanky lead guitarist played his Strat behind his head, Buddy-style, to cheers. For “Nobody Understands Me But My Guitar,” a flashy male singer, Milton Hughes, strutted onstage, dressed like a cross between Bootsy Collins and Prince. The impressive, athletic performer leaped through the air, contorted his body, high kicked and did the splits – all without missing a beat.

Otis Taylor, who said that he and Buddy share the same July 30 birthday, flew in from the West Coast for the tribute. Joined by Chicago’s Carl Weathersby on guitar and Fernando Jones on bass, Taylor sang and played guitar on “Keep on Shining,” an upbeat number that had hands waving in the air.  He only stayed for one number.

Weathersby, dressed in a bright gold outfit that matched his Gibson, burned up the stage with a lengthy instrumental full of hot solos. He even played guitar with his teeth. For his Buddy cover, he then ripped into “You Better Leave My Little Girl Alone,” slightly changing the lyrics and making Buddy break into laughter.

Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, who didn’t wear his Indian headdress but looked sharp in sky blue attire, was joined by a harp player and nine-year-old guitar prodigy Quinn Sullivan, for “She’s 19 Years Old.”  Both Clearwater and Sullivan’s guitars were hard to hear, but the harmonica sounded just fine.

            Singer Artie “Blues Boy” White, dressed to the nines in a yellow suit and shoes, was also impossible to hear. No matter how many times he shush-ed the band, his voice couldn’t rise above the loud music. (The 71-year-old is recovering from a lengthy illness and is slowly regaining his vocal power). Rather than continue singing, White praised Buddy, whom he’s known since 1957, and asked the audience to give him a standing ovation.

White began to coax his old pal to perform, as the crowd rose to its feet again, cheering in anticipation of the moment they’ve been waiting for. Buddy Guy strapped on his signature Strat and combined two partial songs into one: “You’ve Gotta Love Me With A Feeling” in which he changed the lyrics and then “Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues.” The honoree ended the first half of the show, with a furious, slash-and-burn guitar solo, that earned yet another standing ovation.

            The Texans took over at 9:15 p.m. They had a tough act to follow.

Jimmie Vaughan, brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan who was very close to Buddy, was the original lead guitarist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Lou Ann Barton sang with the Thunderbirds and in Triple Threat with Stevie Ray and W.C. Clark in their early days in Austin. All of them were influenced by Buddy Guy and Chicago blues music.

            However, you can take the Texans to Illinois, but you can’t take the Texas out of the Texans. Vaughan and Barton, backed by the very retro sounding Tilt-A-Whirl band (drums, Hammond B-3 organ and rhythm guitar) turned in an hour-long set that was pure Western jukebox, circa late ‘50s to early ‘60s. Barton’s high, nasally twang and her countryish vocal duets with Vaughan harkened back to the days of slowdancin’ in the barroom. Only Vaughan’s passionate guitar solos brought a bit of the blues into the mix of melodic laid-back music he played with Barton.

Songs like “Natural Born Lover,” “Wheel of Fortune,” and “You Got The Power” most likely were unknown to the Chicago audience. “Sugar Coated Love” and “In The Middle of the Night” were the most familiar tunes they sang.

Vaughan’s opening and closing songs, played without his singing partner (who suffers from serious lackluster stage presence), were more along the lines of his Fabulous Thunderbirds days of rowdy roadhouse R&B. And he included a tune, “We Can Roll All Night Long,” by Lonnie Brooks, who was sitting on the side of the stage with sons Wayne and Ronnie, the first family of Chicago blues.

The band finished up at 10:15 p.m. leaving those who remained in the audience to wonder “is that it?” Will Buddy come back for an all-star grand finale?  Emcee Tom Marker, of WXRT’s Bluesbreakers show, came back for closing remarks to let the faithful know that yeah, the fat lady sang, but there’s more to come over at Buddy Guy’s Legends club.

 Click on photo to enlarge





Buddy Guy hosts CD release party at Legends club

with Matt Skoller Band and special guests

July 20, 2008

            The tribute continued at the CD release party for Buddy Guy’s new album, Skin Deep, on the Zomba label, which dropped on July 22 and is available in both compact disc and vinyl LP.  Fans arriving at Legends for the event were greeted by the sight of Buddy signing copies of Skin Deep, along with polka dot posters from the concert, t-shirts and other souvenirs, at the sales counter by the club entrance.

            Although Buddy didn’t perform any of his new songs from the CD, all of them self-penned originals, he did take a more pro-active role in entertaining his fans in the club than he did on the outdoor stage. (Reportedly, his contract with the Ravinia concert venue restricts him from performing locally this summer. He will perform there with Johnny Lang on August 28).

            The talented and versatile Matthew Skoller Band headlined, while many of Buddy’s blues buddie’s were in the house. Bandleader and harp player extraordinaire Skoller, called one of them onstage. “Carl Weathersby and I first met when I was living in France. He really took me under his wing when I moved back to Chicago,” Skoller noted with affection for his mentor and former Sons of the Blues guitarist.


Weathersby, who seemed ecstatic to be playing with Skoller, tore into “Keep Your Hands Off My Woman” as he and the harp man faced each other, trading super hot licks and solos that brought cheers from the fans.

artie-carl-clubThe guitarist called up Artie “Blues Boy” White, who fared much better than he did at the Pritzker Pavilion. This time, he was able to “shush” the band to accommodate his tenuous voice, which alternated between a whisper and a louder baritone. The singer explained that he’d been hospitalized for six weeks and that the doctor told him he’d never sing again. He was out to prove them wrong. The nattily dressed singer, laden with bling fit for a rapper, made it through 2 ½ songs, with help from Skoller, Weathersby and band.

After the special guests left the stage, Skoller began an original song with a political theme, “Handful of People,” on which the harpist got up close to his amp to create some very fine technical effects, which drew excitement from the crowd. It excited Buddy Guy, too, who jumped on stage, without being asked, at about 11:55 p.m. He shushed the band and played his guitar ever so quietly, declaring, “I got the blues and I don’t wanna do nothing by my m*ther-f***ing self!  I’m gonna play somethin’ so funky you can smell it.”

But first he needed a jump start. A waitress appeared on stage with a snifter of cognac, which Buddy chugged, to cheers. He called Jimmie Vaughan up, and the two engaged in a slow, sad blues instrumental. “Aw, shit,” he said, switching gears. “I’m concerned about the future of the blues. What we need is someone who is young and good looking to carry on,” he added, and then called his nine-year-old prodigy to the stage. (Apparently Buddy is his mentor in both music and curse words).

quinn-sullivanQuinn Sullivan got the bulk of Buddy’s attention for the next few songs, and even Jimmie Vaughan stepped up to duet with the pint-sized player. The youngster, who appears on Skin Deep, held his own; his nimble fingers flying across the frets as he answered Buddy’s musical challenges. Hopefully Quinn will be able to handle a full-sized guitar soon; the kid-sized model he used had a tinny sound and was barely audible.

Buddy then turned his attention to his Texas guest for “You’d Better Watch Yourself.” It was a treat to see Jimmie and Buddy, two guitar masters with very different styles, play together in the moment and jam, ably backed by mighty Matt Skoller, guitarist Tony Palmer and a killer rhythm section. Any band that can seamlessly follow where the unpredictable bluesman leads is at the top of its game. After finishing a furious solo, the club owner put down his guitar and turned the rest of the night over to the Skoller band. It was a night that blues musicians and fans alike won’t soon forget.

Click on photos to enlarge


Copyright 2008: Chicago Blues Guide

Blue Chicago Store

DJ Hambone's Top Spins
rambler.jpg lynnejordan.jpgLynne Jordan