Throughout Guy’s vivid character sketches, anecdotes, and descriptions of his work in the studio and in clubs, Guy reveals the realities of the music business and how he tried to make a living driving trucks and doing manual labor on the side. Thinking owing his own venue would be the ticket, he bought the Checkerboard Club which became legendary when the Rolling Stones played there. But the South Side of Chicago was no place to locate a thriving blues club when the audiences had become almost entirely white.
Along the way, Guy enjoyed notable career highlights. In 1972, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play The Blues became quickly acknowledged as a classic album in electric blues. While not drawing huge audiences on his own, he became a father figure for the likes of Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Not until 1991 did he produce his “break-through” CD, Damn Right, I've Got the Blues for Silvertone Records. A few years before, he established his “Buddy Guy’s Legends” club at 700 S. Wabash Ave. Guy opens and closes his book inviting the reader to visit “Legends” where he says you can usually find him sitting at the bar waiting to talk with fans.
The heart of When I Left Home: My Story are the years leading up to his move to Chicago and then up to his leaving Chess in 1968. From that point forward, Guy is more observer than participant in the stories he tells. He keeps his private life private and clearly thinks the reader wants to get insights into all the people he knew more so than his own later achievements. For example, he expresses pride in Damn Right, I've Got the Blues but says nothing about his subsequent award winning releases for Silvertone. The past two decades, for the most part, are covered in but a few pages.