October 25, 1994
Original year of release
Total playing time
Ray "Killer" Allison
Guitar, Electric guitar, Slide guitar
Rolling Stone (Paul Evans)
Arguably the greatest bluesman alive, Buddy Guy proves unstoppable.
Recording half of "Slippin' In" with his own Chicago band
and Chuck Berry's piano ace Johnnie Johnson, he then turns loose with
Stevie Ray Vaughan's former backup band, Double Trouble. Guitartists
form Clapton to Van Halen have marveled at Guy's Strat work (check the
full-bore workout, "7-11"); if anything, his singing ("Please
Don't Drive Me Away," "Cities Need Help") is even more
eloquent, fiery and fully human.
CMJ New Music Report (Jim Caligiuri)
For Slippin' In, Buddy Guy teams up with legendary producer Eddie
Kramer for the no-holds-barred blues breaker you'd expect from that
electrifying combination. Six of the album's 11 tracks were recorded
with Reese Wynans, Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton of Double Trouble
fame, pushing Guy to even greater heights. Several of his guitar solos
will leave all blues lovers screaming for more, while his vocals have
never sounded more urgent. From the set opener, a burning take of Bobby
"Blue" Bland's "I Smell Trouble," to the slippery
funk of Jimmy Reed's "Shame, Shame, Shame" to the frenzied,
party style of "Someone Else Is Steppin' In (Slippin' Out, Slippin'
In)" to the spiritual vibe on Charles Brown's "Trouble Blues,"
Guy and friends set a blistering pace. While Slippin' In breaks no new
ground, it shows once again why Buddy Guy is considered a living blues
Emap Consumer Magazines Limited (Sid Griffin)
Now firmly in the autumn of his career, Buddy Guy is finally enjoying
the fruits of his labours with two consecutive Grammys and Billboard's
prestigious Century Award to display in his den. Throw in last year's
successful autobiography, a packed touring schedule and you could honestly
say Buddy Guy's on a roll. Slippin' In continues this battleplan but
the strategy is wearing thin. Produced by Eddie Kramer and featuring
members of Stevie Ray Vaughan's old group Double Trouble as well as
ex-Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson, Sittin' In is simply more of
the same but with Buddy Guy understandably sounding tired, drained even.
Worse still is Don't Tell Me About The Blues falling into horrific show-off
blues-rock riffing and the realisation that Buddy Guy only truly comes
alive on a cover of Jimmy Reed's Shame, Shame, Shame.
All-Music Guide (Bill Dahl)
Now this is more like it: no sign of any superfluous duets, and
far fewer hoary standards to contend with (only the Z.Z. Hill title
track, in fact). Lots of high - energy guitar fireworks and vocal intensity
from the perpetually eager - to - please blues superstar, as he drives
through well - chosen numbers first rendered by Bobby Bland, Jimmy Reed,
Charles Brown, and Fenton Robinson and Guy's own impassioned "Cities
Need Help" and "Little Dab - A - Doo."
Blues Access (Bryan Powell)
Buddy Guy's guitar style has traveled in a curious circle. He's
always been (and remains) a marvelous vocalist, capable of frenetic
intensity and subtle nuance. It's there in the beginning, on his '50s
Chess and Cobra tracks: dig out "This Is the End" for a real
But Buddy Guy's contemporary guitar work, as demonstrated on Slippin'
In, has been influenced profoundly by a couple of his own protégés,
Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Just listen to the wah-wah driven
solo on "Please Don't Drive Me Away," or the Jimi-meets-Willie-Dixon
assault on Lowell Fulson's "Love Her With a Feeling." He's
The Stevie Ray connection is further enhanced on this release by support
on numerous cuts from bassist Tommy Shannon, drummer Chris Layton and
keyboardist Reese Wynans -- the surviving members of Vaughan's band,
Double Trouble. The rhythm section is rock-solid, as ever, and Wynans
is an especially effective foil for Guy's aggressive approach.
Purists may cringe. But this is not to denigrate Guy's efforts, only
to define them. The deeply blues-flavored influence of Vaughan, Hendrix
and Eric Clapton on the American consciousness has given Guy an opportunity
to reach a larger audience, and he apparently has chosen to meet them
halfway. It seems logical from a business standpoint, and Guy does not
appear wracked with concerns of artistic compromise.
What results is a blues artist who has assimilated the aesthetic values
of contemporary (i.e. rock'n'roll) audiences; one track, "Man of
Many Words," would sound completely at home on a Black Crowes album.
This can be offensive to blues lovers, but Guy gives them plenty, too,
on the gentle reading of Charles Brown's "Trouble Blues,"
on "7-11" (with Johnnie Johnson on piano) and on Jimmy Reed's
"Shame Shame Shame."
That sums up Guy's approach on Slippin' In. How well you like what he
does probably goes a long way to defining your tastes and preferences
as a blues listener and fan. My opinion? Go for it, Buddy: And next
time you're on Letterman, don't forget to wave.
Vibe (Nov.'94) -
...Guy doesn't just play the blues, he preaches its gospel through
the stinging sounds of his Stratocaster...
Entertainment Weekly (11/18/94) -
...Eric Clapton, listen up: Here's a way to play the blues in the
'90s without shellacking the music with a thin coat of irony. Guy's
go-for-the-throat versions of songs/...showcase his slashing guitar and
Down Beat (12/94)
Buddy Guy advances his reputation as one of the best--if not THE
best--blues guitarists alive. With no two solos remotely similar, Guy
flexes his muscle and torches this set, whether he's offering smoldering
leads on the slow tunes or scorching licks on mid- and uptempo numbers...
San Diego Tribune (Michael Kinsman)
There are times in his live performances that blues-guitar icon
will coast, giving less than his finest effort. He is so talented, however,
that a three-quarters-speed Buddy Guy is still better than just about
His lethargy oozes onto this album. Unlike his two previous excellent
albums on Silvertone ("Damn Right I've Got the Blues" and
"Feels Like Rain"), this work doesn't display the focus and
passion that make his music among the finest in modern blues. Though
he performs tightly wound versions of Charles Brown's "Trouble
Blues" and Lowell Fulson's "Love Her With a Feeling,"
there are too many sloppy moments on this record. He sleepwalks through
Jimmy Reed's "Shame, Shame, Shame" and his concert standby
"Someone Else Is Steppin' In." At one point, he gets downright
embarrassing when he shouts a Fred
Flintstone-ish "yabba dabba doo" in the song "Little-Dab-A-Doo."
There still is much to be admired in this work. Guy, bolstered by former
Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson and backup musicians for the late
guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, can play blues as fierce and penetrating
as anyone today. Too bad he doesn't do that throughout this recording.
Amazon (Ted Drozdowski)
The best of Buddy Guy's solo albums since his 1991 reemergence finds
him mixing songs/ from his concert repertoire ("Someone Else Is Steppin'
In") with blues chestnuts ("I Smell Trouble") and his own new originals,
like the gritty plea for urban spiritual renewal "Cities Need Help."
His performance is raw and natural, a nasty throwback to his late-'60s
roadhouse days. Guy takes unbridled pleasure in hard playing and vocal
shouting that straddles the soul-blues border. The absence of shallow
attempts at pop-radio play and the lack of guest appearances by rock
stars or emerging bluesmen like Jonny Lang, which plague most of Guy's
recent CDs, is refreshing. This is simply Buddy, on his own strong terms.
Blues Revue (Andrew M. Robble)
Buddy Guy just keeps cranking out fine albums. Slippin' In is destined
to become his third straight Grammy winner. It is also the best recording
he has made since the '60s. Guy returns to his roots to deliver a thoroughly
focused blues recording. It's all here, the amazingly tasteful guitar
riffs that can cry out with authentic emotions of joy and change immediately
to sorrow with just one note. There is the ever stinging, punctuated,
fluid guitar licks that have become the Guy trademark, and the intensely
soulful gospel-influenced vocals invoking the image of Guy's bulging
neck veins and bright loving smile alternating to the music. I have
said this on more than one occasion, but when Buddy Guy wants to play-he's
the best. On Slippin' In-Buddy plays-man, does he play! Former Jimi
Hendrix and Led Zeppelin producer, Eddie Kramer, manipulates the controls
for this recording. Slippin' In is a two part recording; a live section
recorded with Buddy's band, and a studio session recorded with the ample
aid and fire of Stevie Ray Vaughan's former rhythm section, Double Trouble
(Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, and Reese Wyans). Kramer captures Buddy
the way he deserves to be produced-down-home, gritty, deep, with a constant
sprinkling of heartfelt blues that only a very few have ever been able
to create. This is the factor (or fine line) that will always separate
the great blues artists from the very good blues artist-and Buddy Guy
exudes greatness, a bonafide master of his craft. Guy's fans will have
heard most of this material performed in his live shows over the last
few years, but it sounds fresh here. The band really rips it up and
has the crowd absorbing every accent and nuance singing along to the
title track. Charles Brown's "Trouble Blues" is exquisite as Guy delicately
caresses the strings giving the music plenty of room to breathe and
making every note count. Jimmy Reed's "Shame, Shame, Shame" gets an
old fashion stratospheric work out. Guy's originals, "Dab-A-Doo" is
a slow blues, "Man Of Many Words" pushes into high gear with some fine
slide work by David Grissom supporting Guy's fiery guitar work, and
"Cities Need Help" is Guy's bluesy plea for help. The remainder of the
recording consists of covers by Lowell Fulson, Bobby Bland, Charles
Brown, and Fenton Robinson. Chuck Berry's main man, Johnnie Johnson,
mans the 88s throughout, and Guy's band of Scott Holt (guitar), Greg
Rzab (bass), and the consummate drumming of Ray "Killer" Allison, both
inject new life and provide the perfect vehicle for Guy to spin off.
Slippin' In is required listening for all blues fans who want to experience
the artistic magic of one of the truly great bluemen of all time. This
is the Buddy Guy recording the blues populous has been waiting for.
Andrew M. Robble Stone Crazy! Amazon.com essential recording Cut during
a period when Buddy Guy was rarely recorded, this blustery and breathtaking
live set is full of idiosyncratic solos that dart after virtually any
musical urge that strikes him. Such unpredictable improvisational impulses
are more familiar to jazz than blues, but along with his whisper-to-scream
singing, that's what makes Guy commanding onstage. His fevered take
on the standard "Outskirts of Town" is outright incendiary. This album
was originally released on Isabel, a French label named--at the singer-guitarist's
insistence--after his late mother, who never had a chance to see her
"Slippin' In" won a 1996 Grammy Award for Best
Contemporary Blues Album.