Now, as you look over that list of artists, you'd be hard-pressed to think of any bad releases from any of them. Everything I picked up in the stores or via mail order was something new and incredible that made me want to hear more music just like it. How cool is it to strike gold every time you go digging???!!!
Buddy Guy had recorded on a fairly regular basis for Chess Records over the years (1960 - 67), producing classic tracks like "First Time I Met The Blues," "Leave My Girl Alone," "Let Me Love You," "Ten Years Ago," and "My Time After A While." His vocals were nearly as potent as his no-holds-barred guitar. He also recorded with many of the other Chess musicians as well as with his friend and musical partner Wells on his essential recording for Delmark, Hoodoo Man Blues.
"This was my favorite lineup: Wayne Bennett on guitar, Fred Below on drums and Jack Myers on bass. This was unrehearsed. We just went in and started playing the blues. That's how good these guys were. They could feel what should be played to make the sound right. Otis Spann was on piano. He wasn't just saying, "I can outplay you." He was answering me, expressing the feeling I had when I finished the verse. Any other piano player on 'One Room Country Shack' would have run me crazy. He's like just sitting there saying, 'Go ahead and say what you gotta say. Then, I'll show you how it feels with my fingers.'.......Otis Spann was the best pianist I ever heard. When he was ready to play on the low keys, he'd take the whole stool, pick it up and go sit down there. He'd make you feel so good."
That's not to say that there weren't some good up-tempo tunes as well. One of the best was "Mary Had a Little Lamb," probably most familiar to modern blues fans as a mainstay in Stevie Ray Vaughan's repetoire, dating back to his debut release, Texas Flood. Guy's playful version sizzles with intensity, despite the lighthearted lyrical content, and on this track, we hear some of his best, most unrestrained guitar work on the disc.
Best of all is Guy's interpretation of the timeless "Sweet Little Angel." Though this one was long associated with B.B. King, Buddy Guy OWNED this song after recording this version....no doubt about it. Spann shines on piano here, as well. As good as this song has been done by other artists, dating back to Robert Nighthawk's "Sweet Black Angel," this has to be the definitive version.
Over forty years after its release, this album remains one of Buddy Guy's best recordings. Though his subsequent recordings have usually had more fireworks, none of them possessed the subtlety and beauty of this release. You can't truly say you've heard Buddy Guy unless you've heard A Man and the Blues.