Remembering Phil Guy

For the second time since his death in August 2008, friends of blues musician (and true blues brother to the legendary Buddy) Phil Guy are asking musicians and fans to help in remembering the performer later this month.

Although the Second International Phil Guy Day is officially set for what would be Phil’s 70th birthday on April 28, organizers Dario Lombardo (an Italian bluesman who’s worked across Europe with Phil for 20 years) and Phil’s manager Lisa Mallen (who spent a few years on Pittsburgh’s North Side before moving to Chicago) are asking musicians to mention Phil, dedicate a song in his memory, or perhaps even include one or two of Phil’s songs in their performances between April 21 and May 1. Participating musicians can have their shows noted on the International Phil Guy Day sites on Facebook and MySpace, which already include Janiva Magness, fellow Chicago bluesman and Muddy Waters band alumnus John Primer, Sugar Blue, and Dave Specter among the performers who will help to remember Phil as part of shows taking place around the world, from Philadelphia to Athens, Greece, and from San Antonio to Chicago to Torino, Italy.

Like older brother Buddy, Phil began his career playing with Raful Neal, where he spent a decade before moving on to become a member of Buddy’s band, playing on such classics as Stone Crazy!Hold That PlaneThis is Buddy Guy!Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Play the BluesBreaking Out, and DJ Play My Blues. In addition to Buddy and Raful, Phil accompanied many other blues greats through the years, including Son Seals, Albert Collins, Koko Taylor, Memphis Slim, Slim Harpo, and Big Mama Thornton. While the brothers Guy did put out one album (Buddy and Philip Guy, P-Vine Records, 2007) in both their names, Phil has recorded some pretty good, often funky, stuff with his own bands, including It’s a Real Mutha’Another GuyTina NuSay What You Mean, a Chicago’s Hottest Guitars CD with Lurrie Bell, and Phil’s last, 2006’s He’s My Blues Brother featuring Buddy on the title track.

I can’t think of a better way we can help in remembering Phil than breaking out a few of his albums (or ordering one or two from his web site if you don’t already have them) and giving them a spin before heading out to catch some live blues, which – with enough luck and word-of-mouth – will include plenty of reminders of this late, great showman in the coming weeks.

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