This isn’t the venerable bluesman’s first venture into the autobiography game – and, at 75, he’s lived a life worth recording, unlike many artists who rush into print these days. But with Marvin Gaye biographer David Ritz at his shoulder, this is the version that gives the whole picture, from sharecropping family to big city hustling; guitar-playing to womanising and back again. Because if the blues is about anything, it’s about basic everyday life, and Guy, with Ritz’s help, gives a real flavour of the age and circumstances he grew up in.
Sometimes the text can seem a little contrived – did he really say “Les Paul Gibson”, or did Ritz think it would sound “down-home”? But, having interviewed Buddy in the last year, this writer can attest that the tone is very much as the man himself tells it. Some of the most fascinating moments come with his first-hand accounts of working with long-dead blues legends such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and the like. Thankfully, Buddy is still very much alive and playing; long may that remain so.