Roy Buchanan
"When his guitar plays the blues"

 
 
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    .:: Rat's Roy Buchanan Web Site ::.

    For many people, the name "Roy Buchanan" won't ring any bell, that was my case before I discovered him in 1999, more than 10 years after his death. But when you hear his music for the first time, you can only realize that he was one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

    Buchanan played in the big leagues just like Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, Jimmy Page ... His music is not only enjoyable, most of the time it's addictive. I can't believe all this high quality music that I found on Roy Buchanan's albums. It's with a '53 Fender Telecaster that "the Messiah came again". He made his guitar cry like no one else. He was playing in a wonderful blues style with some hard rock and country touches sometimes to create this unique Roy Buchanan sound.

    His playing was extremely emotional and his music goes right from his heart and soul to your heart. Most of the time, Roy's music is not very fast, it's slow, with a lot of feeling and subtlety, the kind of music to give you chills down your spine. But Roy Buchanan can also play extremely fast too! Sometimes his riffs are very rock n'roll and his solos just go crazy! His bluesy Telecaster or his crying Les Paul sometimes becomes an incredible musical machine gun on fire, something that even Hendrix would not believe. For example his solo in "Hey Joe" (a song also covered by Hendrix) is just insane. Same thing at the end of "My baby said she's gonna leave me" a totally crazy solo pops out of nowhere!

    But Buchanan's first goal was not to try to be the fastest guitar hero to impress people with his skills (even if he had the talent to play that game). What he cared about was to make the best songs and the best music and that is why i like him so much. I don't really know another guitarist who sounds like Roy Buchanan. I did hear some similarities with Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and especially Slash (Slash of Guns N' Roses does have a bluesy sound and his solos and his live blues jams sound a lot like Buchanan sometimes) but Roy is definitely Unique.

    Tracks like "Five String Blues", "Roy's Bluz", "Ramon's Blues", "After Hours", "Don't Turn me away", "when a guitar plays the blues", "John's Blue", "The Messiah Will Come Again"... [and more and more!] are so incredible and they are enough to convince me that Roy Buchanan was one of the very best guitarist ever. A sure thing is that he's my favorite (tied with Slash and Stevie Ray Vaughan).

    Roy Buchanan's discography is not small! He released many albums, some of them are even now out of print (unfortunately). His first albums were probably the finest ones. "Roy Buchanan", "Second Album", "That's What I Am Here For" and the live album "Live Stock" all released in the first half of the 70's are pure masterpieces. Personally the first album i heard was his first: "Roy Buchanan"; Featuring one of his most famous songs: The Messiah Will Come again, but also some killer instrumental blues (John's Blue, Pete's Blues...), some excellent covers and some tracks with a more country sound.

    That first album was enough to make a Roy fan out of me but the 3 next albums he did were, in my opinion, even better, the word "perfect" is maybe more appropriate here. The three first tracks of his second album are a dream come true for any blues fan! A stairway to heaven! The first step of that stairway, the track 1 called "filthy teddy", is a really amazing instrumental tune, then there is "after hours", also instrumental, Roy's playing is simply magic on it and it's not only better than the first track, it's 2 times longer! But when you listen to the 3rd track of the album, you hit the jackpot! "Five String Blues" has to be one of the best songs I've ever heard. Listen to it by yourself, i can't describe it! Enough to make you cry though. and all the other songs are also wonderful! Another of my favorites is "treat her right"; a great mix of blues and hard rock.

    The third album is "That's What I Am Here For". Here again, it's a true masterpiece. This albums is featuring a cover of "hey joe" but also many tunes that Roy wrote, some of the most exiting guitar playing can be heard in "Roy's Bluz" and "don't turn me away". Roy had a great voice i think, i like how he sang "Roy's Bluz". Someone told me after hearing him that he sounds a bit like Jim Morrison, and i have to admit that he does sometimes!

    "Live Stock" was Roy's 4th album and it is, of course, recorded live. None of the songs appear on the 3 first album though, except maybe "Roy's bluz" but that live version is not really the same song, the lyrics and song structure are different. They're similar songs with the same title but not the same thing. "Roy's Bluz" is in fact one of the highlights of the live album. The intro is slow and not very loud, then he suddenly start playing those very high notes and you're in heaven again! So many times during that solo you're wondering: How is that possible?? And how about this amazing guitar work on the last track: "I'm Evil"!?!?

    In the middle of the 70's, Roy signed with Atlantic Records and released a few albums with them too. They made this kind of compilation CD of his best tunes with Atlantic called "guitar on fire". That is what I have, I am not sure if the Atlantic albums are available on CD's and I for sure don't have the LP's. Roy Was still a master of blues guitar but i have the impression that his stuff with Atlantic was not as powerful as the previous albums that were, as I said before, perfect.

    Those albums are still featuring some masterpieces like the great "Ramon's Blues" and "Green Onions" (both tracks featuring excellent solos by Steve Cropper). As always, Roy Buchanan's songs were always excellent; for example: Good God Have Mercy, Turn To Stone, Fly...Night Bird, Supernova, etc.

    During the first half of the 80's, Roy Buchanan's career was not very active. But in 1985 he did a come back with the blues label Alligator Records. In 1985 he released the album "when a guitar plays the blues". On the cover we can see an older Roy Buchanan with gray hair and beard but when the music start playing, it's definitely the same passionate guitarist and this album is surprising by it's very high quality. Two albums followed: "Hot Wires" and "Dancing on the Edges".

    Unfortunately, just like many great guitar heros, Roy's life ended too early in 1988, they found his body in a cell of a police station a few hours after he has been arrested. A suicide probably, some people believe the cops killed him though... I don't know enough about the case to make the call... At least his music is still here and it will live forever.


    Click here to see the list of my Roy Buchanan Bootlegs.

    E-Mail me if you have some comments, some pictures to send, if you are interested to trade Roy Buchanan concert recordings, etc...

    This is Slash, another great guitarist, click on him to see my Guns N' Roses page.

    This is Tracy Conover, another amazing guitarist, click on her to see my Tracy Conover page.

    email: rats_and_guns_n_roses@yahoo.com

    .:: Last Update ::.

    January 18, 2006


     
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