This city's continuing lack of a permanent blues museum remains a criminal blunder. (St. Louis? Really?) But in the meantime, we more than make do with the living historic exhibit that is guitarist Buddy Guy. An active embodiment of rock and roll's connection with its blues roots, Guy not only remains justly celebrated (last month's Kennedy Center Honors) but active and creative -- releasing a new live album, at the beginning of which he promises, in a firm whisper, "I'm not through yet."
"Live at Legends" runs through 11 tracks and countless quotes, thoughts and hot licks, a concise survey of rockin' blues old and new. "Here's the way Buddy guy sounds," he announces at the beginning of "Damn Right I Got the Blues," firing up the kind of hard left-hand lean that makes the next few medleys -- "Boom Boom," "Strange Brew," "Voodoo Child," "Sunshine of Your Love" -- pedagological rather than posing.
The live set -- eight tracks captured at the South Loop club in 2010 -- contains few surprises, just ace performances by a crack band (guitarist David Grissom is a rock-hard foil) that knows this show backwards, forwards, inside out and through your head. The final three cuts ("Polka Dot Love," "Coming for You," "Country Boy") are not live at all; they're three studio tracks tacked on to the end here ... for some reason. Fine recordings, but why Guy would cut short a live album when it was going so well is a bit of a mystery.
Guy's annual residency at Legends, 700 S. Wabash, begins this week. The Friday and Saturday shows are sold out, but Thursdays and Sundays remain ($55). Tickets at buddyguy.com, or call (800) 514-ETIX.
Here's the schedule, with opening acts:
Jan. 3 - Buddy Guy w/ Mike Wheeler
Jan. 4 - Buddy Guy w/ Lil Ed and The Blues Imperials
Jan. 5 - Buddy Guy w/ John Primer
Jan. 6 - Buddy Guy w/ Samantha Fish
Jan. 10 - Buddy Guy w/ Bryan Lee
Jan. 11 - Buddy Guy w/ Deitra Farr
Jan. 12 - Buddy Guy w/ Nellie "Tiger" Travis
Jan. 13 - Buddy Guy w/ Carlos Johnson
Jan. 17 - Buddy Guy w/ Corey Dennison
Jan. 18 - Buddy Guy w/ Scott Holt
Jan. 19 - Buddy Guy w/ Billy Branch and The Sons of Blues
Jan. 20 - Buddy Guy w/ Jimmy Burns
Jan. 24 - Buddy Guy w/ Jimmy Johnson
Jan. 25 - Buddy Guy w/ Quinn Sullivan
Jan. 26 - Buddy Guy w/ NuBlu Band
Jan. 27 - Buddy Guy w/ Eric Davis