I Wanna’ Be Like Guitar Slim

About ten years ago I saw Buddy Guy being interviewed about the influences in his life. He recalled having once seen Eddie “Guitar Slim” perform and when Slim was introduced he heard the guitar fire up but its player was nowhere to be seen. Then a man came through the front door of the auditorium with Slim on his shoulders, wailing on his guitar. He was dressed in a bright red suit with his hair dyed to match and wearing a white shirt and white shoes. He was hooked into the sound system by an amp cord that was several hundred feet long.

Guy was so impressed by Jones’s stage antics he said to himself, “I want to play and sound like B.B. King but I want to look and behave on stage like Guitar Slim.”

This winter I saw a DVD of Buddy Guy in concert someplace in Canada and indeed, he came onstage with an assistant whose job it was to manage over 350′ of amp cord so Guy could make his way directly into the audience and do his thing. Over the years I listened to other fans of Buddy Guy and some of them have witnessed, in person, his doing this.

I spent some time trying to find video of Guitar Slim but none seems to exist. He died at age 32 in 1959, a result of hard living and alcohol. Jones was a gifted song writer with his most famous number being The Things I Used to Do which went on to become a recognized blues classic and required of every bar room cover band.

Here’s a video of Buddy Guy doing The Things I Used to Do.

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