Live at Legends captures the raging bluesman during a blistering set at his club in early 2010, playing pretty much exactly what you'd expect: "Damn Right I Got the Blues," "Best Damn Fool," and medleys of "I Just Want to Make Love to You/Chicken Heads," "Boom Boom/Strange Brew," and "Voodoo Chile/Sunshine of Your Love." That said, this isn't a complaint. While it's true that Guy and his crack band have his show down cold -- this same basic set has been around for at least a decade with some additions and substitutions made while on tour playing larger venues -- they throw down each and every time. Given that this is his club, the senses of immediacy and a certain closeness are present here whereas they're missing on other live recordings. While Legends isn't exactly an intimate venue, it's a lot smaller than many of the places Guy plays every year. The sound is great, it keeps the raw edges and Guy tears the guitar to pieces throughout. What's interesting is that the live cuts make up only about 34 minutes of this recording and comprise only eight cuts. The other three are all new studio recordings cut in Nashville a couple of months after this gig, with help from some stellar studio aces including famed guitarist David Grissom (Joe Ely/John Mellencamp), Reese Wynans on B-3, his own pianist Marty Sammon, and bassists Michael Rhodes or Tommy Macdonald with drummer Tom Hambridge. "Polka Dot Love" is a slow Guy blues played in overdrive, with excellent interplay between him and Grissom. "Coming for You" (penned by Delbert McClinton) adds the Memphis Horns to the mix, in what amounts to a freewheeling, blues, rock, and funk jam. The closer is a soulful reading of Muddy Waters' "Country Boy," in which Guy looks deeply into the original version for inspiration. Why this set is assembled like this is a puzzler, but Guy's motivations have puzzled fans and critics since the very beginning. For the faithful, this amounts to a necessary "new" Buddy Guy recording.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
feat: The Memphis Horns