SKF NOTE: Neil Ralph was arguably my best friend at Harborfields High School. An accomplished musician, we certainly traveled many musical miles together. We certainly spent time listening to and playing Chicago blues tunes.
Fast forward to 1980 when Buddy’s Stone Crazy! arrived at my Modern Drummer desk. Great album, and the opening track, I Smell a Rat, is a pure killer.
Neil introduced me to Buddy Guy’s records. I remember especially Buddy’s A Man and the Blues album, and This is Buddy Guy – both on Vanguard records.
I spotted Buddy Guy’s book, When I Left Home: My Story, for sale at the Turner Public Library. It’s an interesting read, filling in some gaps in my blues history knowledge. And the book has a generous sample of words of wisdom from Buddy Guy.
At the same time, being with the greats also broke my heart. It broke that dream I had back in Baton Rouge that the greats were living in mansions and driving gold Cadillacs. Of all the greats, only Muddy [Waters] had a house. His was at 4339 South Lake Park, a place I’d get to know real well. The others, living in little rooms, could barely scratch up a living.