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Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Fat Blues Tuesday. It’s hard to think of a better way to spend Mardi Gras in San Diego than with the fearsomely stinging blues of reigning Chicago king Buddy Guy. While what passes for “blues” today frequently sounds more like morose pop arranged with poor lyrics, cheesy production and trite solos, Guy’s music captures the original grit of late greats like Muddy Waters, his idol and mentor. Guy’s skill was honed in his halcyon apprentice days, when dogged musicianship – combined with patience and respect for the bandleader – made the blues more about feeling than style.

Sadly, Guy’s recorded output is sketchy. “Sweet Tea” (2001) was a flawed masterwork of raw, spacious recording, with Guy taking long, blazing solos over thundering bass groves – in theory, the best kind of blues album. But it’s live where Guy really shines, jamming with his working band on his own songs and classic blues standards that, in his genuinely capable hands, seem fresh again. Classic electric blues on Mardi Gras – it’s not in New Orleans, but especially this year, who cares?

Buddy Guy. 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28 at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave. $37-$40. www.hob.com.

More tips to titillate your time:

– Poetic, penetrating troubadour Lucinda Williams (called America’s Best Songwriter by Time magazine) at the Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. Sunday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. $25 adv/$27 day of show. www.bellyuptavern.com.

– Mold-busting stand-up comedian Mort Sahl, who’s bragged that he’s offended just about everyone since being one of the first to take aim at U.S. presidents back in the still-reverent early 60’s, at Acoustic Music San Diego, 4650 Mansfield in Normal Heights. Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. $30. (619) 303-8176.

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