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When I Left Home Paperback – 18 Apr 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (18 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306821796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306821790
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Kirkus, 2/15/12 "Tasty as a Buddy Guy guitar lick." Library Journal, 3/1/12 "Guy is a vibrant and hilarious storyteller. With a natural ease and honesty, he captures the spirit of the age, the culture of violence in the clubs, and the personalities of his colleagues...Highly recommended for any fan of Guy and those interested in the history of blues music." Publishers Weekly, 4/16/12 "As mesmerizing a storyteller as a guitarist, Guy, writing with Ritz, regales readers with tales of growing up picking cotton in rural Alabama, of seeing his first guitar and standing transfixed in front of Lightning Slim for several hours just memorizing the movements of Slim's hands, of his father's friend buying his first guitar for him, and of his endless efforts to play the blues as he had heard and seen Slim and others play.Guy's memoir is a joyous celebration of the blues, one of our greatest musical treasures." Chicago Magazine, May 2012 "[A] must-read autobiography.What makes the breezy and revealing book special is its ability to bring history-Guy's own, as well as that of Chicago blues-to life." Internet Review of Books, 4/6/12 "In When I Left Home: My Story we finally get inside Buddy Guy, guitar muse to Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and the Rolling Stones (to name but a few).Buddy's narrative is cousin to his music. It's down home. It's not clean and prissy.This biography gives the reader unabridged stories of many of the great blues artists of his day and before, and raw images of the Chicago blues scene as it was from the 1950s to the 1980s.A valuable and rare insight into the music and the musician." Record Collector, May 2012 "Gives the whole picture, from sharecropping family to big city hustling; guitar-playing to womanizing and back again.[Guy] gives a real flavour of the age and circumstances he grew up on." Boston Globe, 5/11/12 "A lively, sharply etched account of Guy's unlikely ascent from sharecropper roots in Louisiana to the blues hotbed of Chicago and beyond." Memphis Commercial Appeal, 5/4/12 "The music fans [Guy] has affected so profoundly over his 50-plus year career will at last know how he feels." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/11/12 "Buddy makes his life come alive.Told in his own style and language, the book reads more like a blues song than an actual book, each verse telling a different story. And what stories they are.Buddy's book is as colourful as the blues.If you're looking for a reasonably unvarnished account of the blues life, Buddy has it here.The book is funny, sad, tragic, lusty, honest, loving and insightful. Just like the blues. Just like Buddy Guy. If you love the blues and all that it means, you should love this book." Houston Press, 5/8/12 "In this memoir, the story of [Guy's] life is also the tale of the music itself of the past 50-plus years.There's a treasure trove of stories here." BluesPowR blog, 5/10/12 "When I Left Home covers an amazing amount of ground in its close to 300 pages.Relayed in a simple, conversational manner, the book does a terrific job of documenting the life of one of blues music's biggest living stars, making it a must-read for any fan of the blues.When I Left Home isn't, as the title indicates, just Buddy's story; in many respects, this is a story of the blues."

About the Author

Buddy Guy was born in 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana. He is considered among the best blues guitarists alive today. He lives in Chicago. David Ritz is the coauthor of many bestselling autobiographies of musicians, including Ray Charles, Etta James, Scott Weiland, Grandmaster Flash, and more. He is the author of Divided Soul, the definitive biography of Marvin Gaye, and lives in Los Angeles.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By BruceH on 3 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buddy Guy, along with B B King is probably the last connection with the Blues greats of the post war era. When I left Home is written with honesty and in way one would imagine Guy telling you the stories over coffee. It is not a sex and drugs story that many musicians bios have turned into but a captivating story of the life of poor sharecroppers and a burning desire to play the Blues, a journey to Chicago, the stories of the Blues greats who played there and eventually the success this great Bluesman deserved. A must read for Blues fans but also a very enjoyable story of the man and his music.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By N. H. Foster on 25 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buddy Guy is one of the greatest Blues artists of the genre and one of the true legends of modern music. When I Left Home also proves he is one amazing human being, a God given talent combined with a God given humility that restores one's faith in human nature and the cult of personality.
This is by some distance the finest music book I have ever read, it is so far above the formula sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll stories that populate the majority of biographies and autobiographies about musicians. This is the extraordinary journey of a young man from cotton fields through to standing toe to toe and trading licks with all the true blues legends. Guy paid his dues and then some, his dedication to his art is nothing short of remarkable and told in such an honest way as to truly move you.
When I Left Home for me has all the ingredients of a best selling novel; really well written, great but true characterisation, unique plot lines, pathos, humour, emotion, truth and hugely thought provoking. It is also like a 'Who's Who' of the Blues from the early legends through to Beck, Clapton, Mayall, The Stones and the chemistry between these dudes just pours from the pages.
A huge thanks to Mr Buddy Guy for his music and now his lifestory and what a story!
Love music, love The Blues!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Guitar Player UK on 23 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No hesitation in recommending this book to both Buddy Guy and blues fans alike.

When I Left Home: My StoryAs a Buddy Guy fan, I was keen to read his bio; so, there's the bias. Never mind that: if you're interested in how Chicago blues developed, this is as good as it gets; the story, from the ground. Buddy talks about the gunslinger guitar players, and how BB King and Muddy Waters encouraged younger players like himself. All kind of first-hand recollections, told in the vernacular; it's infectious and very 'readable'.

I won't spoil the read for you; suffice to say that Buddy covers off his (brief) relationship with Hendrix, playing on the '69 Canadian Festival Express with Joplin, Grateful Dead, The Band, etc. But the best parts of this story (for this reader) are his relationships with the blues legends - Guitar Slim, John Lee, BB - you name it - and of course Muddy.

Highly recommended, as a first-hand record of how Chicago blues players operated, from the fifties on, plus an insight to the (all-too-often modest) blues guitar player, Buddy Guy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Webster on 9 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Buddy Guy is one of the most influential guitarists to come out of the blues. Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and many other guitarists were influenced by him. As well has having a very successful solo career, he has known and played with a number of the great blues legends: like Muddy Walters, Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker, plus many others. Despite now entering his mid to late seventies, he still plays the guitar with an energy, depth and enthusiasm of someone half his age. By opting for David Ritz, Buddy Guy really did pick the right man to collaborate with him on this biography. They obviously were very much at ease with each other. For anyone who is interested in `the blues' this biography has a great feel to it. Reading this biography is like sitting at a bar with him while he tells you stories in his own relaxed and casual way. They are stories of being raised by a loving family of sharecroppers in the Southern States of America in the 1940's and lots of interesting stories of his time playing with the great blues legends and his musical partnership with Junior Wells. In my humble opinion, I think this book is a must for anyone interested the Chicago blues scene in the late 1950's to early 1960's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pete clack TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You can't talk about the blues or Chgicago without mentioning this simply amazing and wonderful man. He is along with B.B.King the last of the blues greats,and thankfully still playoing both at the top of their game.Buddy has alwways been Eric Clapton's biggest inspiration.He has been the inspiration and encourager of so many playing today. Live he's the life and soul of the party,always full of fun and great string pulling licks that could strip the wallpaper off the wall.
This dear friends is his story and what a story it is, written in a style that's like having him sat in a chair beside you and telling you it.It's a warm and enjoyable read,from the morning shopping for hos cooking that day,of visiting his Chicago club Legends run these days by his daughters.How he, when not touring sits by the bar and just enjoys the atmosphere.His amazing career, the people he's played with, the sessions,the travelling,it just ooozes life and appreciation of the life he has.There are not many books about music as infectious as this one because he clearly is a man who cares,who enjoys life to the full and even through the tough times has bounced back.Now well into his seventies still tours the world,makes great records, and plays the guitar that leaves the rest tired and trying to think of ideas to stay on board with him.The storey in his own words by a wonderful artist, and a man who's given so much to the blues,no in music altogether.Utterly unmissable book, you'll read again and again.
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