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When I Left Home

My Story

Buddy Guy

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


According to Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and the late Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy is the greatest blues guitarist of all time. An enormous influence on these musicians as well as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, he is the living embodiment of Chicago blues.
Guy’s epic story stands at the absolute nexus of modern blues. He came to Chicago from rural Louisiana in the fifties—the very moment when urban blues were electrifying our culture. He was a regular session player at Chess Records. Willie Dixon was his mentor. He was a sideman in the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. He and Junior Wells formed a band of their own. In the sixties, he became a recording star in his own right.

When I Left Home tells Guy’s picaresque story in his own unique voice, that of a storyteller who remembers everything, including blues masters in their prime and the exploding, evolving culture of music that happened all around him.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 16, 2012 – On September 25, 1957, Buddy Guy climbed on a train in Hammond, La., with a few clothes in his suitcase, a reel-to-reel tape of a song he had cut, and his Les Paul Gibson guitar, and headed North. 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. In Chicago, Guy discovers the harsh realities of urban living, but it’s not long before his guitar slinging earns him respect and a place to play on a regular basis, as Muddy Waters and B.B. King recognize Guy’s transcendent talent. He shares stories of meeting Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and he recalls that some of the first white fans to come to Chicago’s South Side were musicians like Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield, who along with Eric Clapton, John Mayall, and the Stones often invited Guy and other black blues musicians to open for them, pointing out to the audiences that these guys were the real musicians. Guy’s memoir is a joyous celebration of the blues, one of our greatest musical treasures.

Customer Reviews

Excellent reading


Buddy Guy: When I Left Home

I really enjoyed this book. Buddy gave good insights into his influences and the Blues people he has met. He was at a transition between the old school and new school Chicago Blues scene. But the reason I did not give it 5 stars is that I felt there could have been more grit to his story. No disrespect intended, but I think there are many autobiographies where the subject's life life could have been dealt with deeper. Still, a very good read.

Good Stories

While not a comprehensive autobiography of Buddy's life, its a good story with some funny stories of Buddy and his legendary friends as personal highlights. I would have liked it to be longer with more in depth stories about his life, as well as antecdotes from it. All around it is a good book from a man squarely at the juicy center of the blues.

When I Left Home
View In iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Music
  • Published: May 08, 2012
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings