George Thorogood & Buddy Guy
Quinn Sullivan (Special Guest w/ Buddy Guy Band)
731 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD, 21202
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
Thorogood has been essaying the Chess repertoire since his 1977 debut album, which included songs by Elmore James and Bo Diddley that originated on the label. He has cut 18 Chess covers over the years; three appeared on his last studio release, 2009's The Dirty Dozen. On 2120 South Michigan Avenue, he offers a full-length homage to the label that bred his style with interpretations of 10 Chess classics.
Thorogood and his band the Destroyers have held that gig for more than 30 years. And he's not about to let go now. "It's like a championship fight," he says. "You've got two guys in the ring--one guy who's the contender and wants to get the title and you've got the guy who's got the title and it took him 15 years to get the title and he's held onto it for five years. Who's going to be the tougher opponent? It's going to be the guy with the title who worked hard to get it. You're going to have to kill him to get it away from him. And that's all that I'm doing up there. I'm trying to hold my gig. I just want to make sure that at the end of the night the promoter comes up and says, 'I want to hire you again.'"
The Destroyers fought their way to the top. They came out of Delaware in the '70s as a jarringly high-energy bunch (also featuring drummer Jeff Simon and bassist Billy Blough) whose raucous, slide guitar-stoked, blues-rock takes on tunes by Chuck Berry, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and others helped land them a contract with Cambridge's Rounder Records.
They had moved to Boston and cut their teeth in the city's blues circuit before their second album for Rounder, Move It On Over, struck big with the title track, an amped-up cover of a Hank Williams tune. They added a saxophonist (Hank Carter) and further fame came in the '80s through a signing to EMI Records, which released a series of gold records by the band.
Buddy Guy is the Shakespeare of blues guitar, channeling its basic elements into a unique language with universal appeal. He's the Houdini of blues guitar, doing things that ought to be impossible and making them look easy. He's a showman. He's a shaman. He's the man without whom both blues and rock would sound radically different. He put Chicago blues on the map, and then proceeded to conquer the rest of the world.
As one of the finest blues guitarists alive, and with a storied career spanning more than 50 years, Buddy Guy has nothing left to prove. Yet he still plays like he does. Guy is the guitar hero's guitar hero, inspiring pretty much every great six-string-slinger of the '60s, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton. Once again, Buddy Guy will leave your singed-but-satisfied ears little doubt about why guitarists consider him the crucial link between blues and rock.