Album review: Buddy Guy, Slippin’ In (1994)



By Steve Newton

I always felt that Buddy Guy’s two Grammy award–winning ’90s releases—Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues and Feels Like Rain—were fine examples of the legendary guitarist’s crossover blues, but when I wanted to hear him at his raw, sweaty, string-strangling best I found myself going back to his fierce 1981 Alligator release, Stone Crazy.

That’s not a requirement anymore, though, because the man largely responsible for inspiring the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton found real magic in his fingertips on Slippin’ In, resulting in some of the most riveting guitar work in his 34-year recording career.

Guy recorded half of Slippin’ In in Chicago with his band, and the other half down Austin, Texas way with Vaughan’s former Double Trouble lineup. Maybe it was the idea of playing with close friend Vaughan’s old band that inspired Guy to play his guts out; maybe having Chuck Berry piano genius Johnnie Johnson on board drove him to it. Perhaps it was the production and engineering skills of Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) that made the difference in capturing Guy’s guitar at full fever.

Whatever the reason, you can’t help but be moved by Guy’s impassioned instrumental outbursts on trusty gems by Charles Brown (“Please Don’t Drive Me Away”), Jimmy Reed (“Shame, Shame, Shame”), and especially Lowell Fulson (“Love Her with a Feeling”). The guy sings his ass off too, so you don’t have to be a guitar nut to dig this 50-minute platter of prime blues cuts.

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