Personnel: Buddy Guy (vocals, guitar); Lacy Gibson (guitar); Junior Wells (harmonica); Jarrett Gibson, Bob Neely (tenor saxophone); Donald Hankins (baritone saxophone); Otis Spann, Lafayette Leake, Leonard Caston (piano); Jack Myers (bass); Fred Below, Al Duncan, Maurice White (drums).
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
A successor to the Chicago blues throne first inhabited by Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy started recording for Chicago-based Chess Records in the early 1960s. I WAS WALKING THROUGH THE WOODS gathers some of Guy's finest early sides for the label, and finds him backed by such local superstars as Otis Spann (piano), Junior Wells (harmonica), and Fred Below (drums). Guy is adept at both rollicking up-tempo numbers ("Watch Yourself") and slow-burn blues ("I Got a Strange Feeling"), but his stinging leads blaze forth regardless of the meter. Throughout the album, Guy's guitar is appropriately high in the mix, so there's no missing his fluid, fiery fretwork.
These early Chess recordings earned Guy acclaim for his passionate vocals and his unique guitar style, which blended the smooth grace of B.B. King with the edgier attack of rural Delta players. "First Time I Met the Blues," a stomping story-song with lyrics that turn the blues into a fearsome stalking monster, epitomizes Guy's wicked guitar-and-vocal interplay, while the wiry phrases on "Ten Years Ago" show another side of his vocabulary. A strong, well-selected sampler, this is a great snapshot of a blues master's early days.