Summary

Buddy Guy revitalized his career when he signed with Silvertone Records in the early '90s. His first album for the label, Damn Right, I've Got the Blues, was a smash success, earning critical acclaim, awards, and sales hand over fist. Prior to that record, he was a legend only among blues fans; afterward, he was a star. Although it was a bit too rock-oriented and slick for purists, Damn Right was a terrific album, setting the pace not only for Guy but for modern electric blues in the '90s. As the decade wore on, Guy continued to make albums for Silvertone, some of them a little complacent, others quite excellent. Buddy's Baddest: The Best of Buddy Guy attempts to summarize those years in 14 songs, including three previously unreleased cuts. Not surprisingly, the compilers favor the Guy of Damn Right, featuring four songs from the record and three from its soundalike sequel, Feels Like Rain. Only two tracks from Slippin' In, his hardest blues record for the label, made the cut, while the fine live album Live! The Real Deal and the misguided Heavy Love are represented by a track apiece. In other words, a lot of good stuff remains on the original albums, which is doubly unfortunate since the three unreleased cuts are all throwaways. By relying so heavily on two records, Buddy's Baddest doesn't wind up being an accurate portrait of Guy's Silvertone recordings. That doesn't mean it's a bad listen, since the first ten songs are all very good and quite entertaining. However, anyone who has Damn Right but wants to dig deeper into Guy's Silvertone albums may prefer to pick up Feels Like Rain, which offers more of the same crossover Chicago blues, or Slippin' In, which is the real deal. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine