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Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan has long been considered one of the finest, yet criminally overlooked guitarists of the blues rock genre whose lyrical leads and use of harmonics would later influence such guitar greats as Jeff Beck, his one-time student Robbie Robertson, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Although born in Ozark, AR, on September 23, 1939, Buchanan grew up in the small town of Pixley, CA. His father was both a farmer and Pentecostal preacher, which would bring the youngster his first exposure to gospel music when his family would attend racially mixed revival meetings. But it was when Buchanan came across late-night R&B radio shows that he became smitten by the blues, leading to Buchanan picking up the guitar at the age of seven. First learning steel guitar, he switched to electric guitar by the age of 13, finding the instrument that would one day become his trademark: a Fender Telecaster. By 15, Buchanan knew he wanted to concentrate on music full-time and relocated to Los Angeles, which contained a thriving blues/R&B scene at the time. Shortly after his arrival in L.A., Buchanan was taken under the wing by multi-talented bluesman Johnny Otis, before studying blues with such players as Jimmy Nolen (later with James Brown), Pete Lewis, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. During the mid- to late '50s, Buchanan led his own rock band, the Heartbeats, which soon after began backing rockabilly great Dale ("Suzy Q") Hawkins.

By the dawn of the '60s, Buchanan had relocated once more, this time to Canada, where he signed on with rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. The bass player of Ronnie Hawkins' backing band, the Hawks, studied guitar with Buchanan during his tenure with the band. Upon Buchanan's exit, the bassist-turned-guitarist would become the leader of the group, which would eventually become popular roots rockers the Band: Robbie Robertson. Buchanan spent the '60s as a sideman with obscure acts, as well as working as a session guitarist for such varied artists as pop idol Freddy Cannon, country artist Merle Kilgore, and drummer Bobby Gregg, among others, before Buchanan settled down in the Washington, D.C., area in the mid- to late '60s and founded his own outfit, the Snakestretchers. Despite not having appeared on any recordings of his own, word of Buchanan's exceptional playing skills began to spread among musicians as he received accolades from the likes of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Merle Haggard, as well as supposedly being invited to join the Rolling Stones at one point (which he turned down).

The praise eventually led to an hour-long public television documentary on Buchanan in 1971, the appropriately titled The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World, and a recording contract with Polydor Records shortly thereafter. Buchanan spent the remainder of the decade issuing solo albums, including such guitar classics as his 1972 self-titled debut (which contained one of Buchanan's best-known tracks, "The Messiah Will Come Again"), 1974's That's What I Am Here For, and 1975's Live Stock, before switching to Atlantic for several releases. But by the '80s, Buchanan had grown disillusioned by the music business due to the record company's attempts to mold the guitarist into a more mainstream artist, which led to a four-year exile from music between 1981 and 1985.

Luckily, the blues label Alligator convinced Buchanan to begin recording again by the middle of the decade, issuing such solid and critically acclaimed releases as 1985's When a Guitar Plays the Blues, 1986's Dancing on the Edge, and 1987's Hot Wires. But just as his career seemed to be on the upswing once more, tragedy struck on August 14, 1988, when Buchanan was picked up by police in Fairfax, VA, for public intoxication. Shortly after being arrested and placed in a holding cell, a policeman performed a routine check on Buchanan and was shocked to discover that he had hung himself in his cell. Buchanan's stature as one of blues-rock's all-time great guitarists grew even greater after his tragic death, resulting in such posthumous collections as Sweet Dreams: The Anthology, Guitar on Fire: The Atlantic Sessions, Deluxe Edition, and 20th Century Masters and the live When a Telecaster Plays the Blues, which appeared in 2009. ~ Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Roy Buchanan Ft. Joey Welz

1. Rockin' The Country A.K.A Come On Roy

2. Jonny B. Goode

3. Souther Country Rock And Roll A.K.A Sun Country Rock 'N' Roll

4. Treat Her Right

5. Big Boss Man

6. Jammin' With Roy

7. Haunted House

8. Money

9. Shake, Rattle & Roll

10. Blue Suede Shoes

11. Slippin' And Slidin'

12. Runaway

13. Boll Weevil Blues

14. Come Go With Me

15. Peggy Sue

16. Ya Ya

x

Track List: That's What I Am Here For/Rescue Me

1. My Baby Says She's Gonna Leave Me

2. Hey Joe

3. Home Is Where I Lost Her

4. Rodney's Song

5. That's What I Am Here For

6. Roy's Bluz

7. Voices

8. Please Don't Turn Me Away

9. Nephesh

10. Rescue Me

11. I'm A Ram

12. In The Beginning

13. Cc Ryder

14. Country Preacher

15. You're Killing My Love

16. She Can't Say No

x

Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Roy Buchanan

1. Sweet Dreams

2. Pete's Blue

3. The Messiah Will Come Again

4. Filthy Teddy

5. After Hours

6. Five String Blues

7. Hey Joe

8. Roy's Bluz

9. CC Ryder

10. Country Preacher

11. Wayfaring Pilgrim

12. I'm Evil (Live)

x

Track List: Deluxe Edition

1. Peter Gunn

2. That Did It (feat. Johnny Sayles

3. Chicago Smokeshop

4. Mrs. Pressure

5. Ain't No Business

6. Blues For Jimmy Nolen

7. A Nickel And A Nail (feat. Otis Clay)

8. Matthew

9. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover (feat. Delbert McClinton)

10. Beer Drinking Woman

11. Flash Chordin'

12. These Arms Of Mine (feat. Kanika Kress)

13. Whiplash

14. When A Guitar Plays The Blues

15. Hawaiian Punch

16. The Last Word

x

Track List: Guitar On Fire: The Atlantic Sessions

1. Ramon's Blues

2. The Heat Of The Battle

3. Hidden

4. Green Onions

5. Judy

6. Adventures Of Brer Rabbit And Tar Baby

7. Turn To Stone

8. Fly...Night Bird

9. Supernova

10. Down By The River

11. Running Out

12. Man On The Floor

13. Okay

14. My Friend Jeff

15. If Six Was Nine

16. The Messiah Will Come Again

x

Track List: Sweet Dreams: The Anthology

Disc 1

1. Baltimore

2. Black Autumn

3. The Story Of Isaac

4. There'll Always Be

5. Sweet Dreams

6. Pete's Blue

7. The Messiah Will Come Again

8. Tribute To Elmore James

9. After Hours

10. Five String Blues

11. C.C. Ryder (Live)

12. My Baby Says She's Gonna Leave Me

13. Please Don't Turn Me Away

14. Country Preacher

15. Wayfaring Pilgrim

Disc 2

1. Down By The River (Live)

4. Good God Have Mercy

6. Green Onions

7. Soul Dressing (Live)

8. Hey Joe (Live)

10. Turn To Stone

11. Dual Soliloquy

x

Track List: Hot Wires

1. High Wire

2. That Did It

3. Goose Grease

4. Sunset Over Broadway

5. Ain't No Business

6. Flash Chordin'

7. 25 Miles

8. These Arms Of Mine

9. Country Boogie

10. The Blues Lover

x

Track List: Dancing On The Edge

1. Peter Gunn

2. The Chokin' Kind

3. Jungle Gym

4. Drowning On Dry Land

5. Petal To The Metal

6. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover

7. Cream Of The Crop

8. Beer Drinking Woman

9. Whiplash

10. Baby, Baby, Baby

11. Matthew

x

Track List: When A Guitar Plays The Blues

1. When A Guitar Plays The Blues

2. Chicago Smokeshop

3. Mrs. Pressure

4. A Nickel And A Nail

5. Short Fuse

6. Why Don't You Want Me?

7. Country Boy

8. Sneaking Godzilla Through The Alley

9. Hawaiian Punch

x

Track List: Live Stock

1. Reelin' And Rockin (Live)

2. Hot Cha (Live)

3. Further On Up The Road (Live)

4. Roy's Bluz (Live)

5. Can I Change My Mind (Live)

6. I'm A Ram (Live)

7. I'm Evil (Live)

Comments

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RIP Roy Buchanan---9 / 1 9 3 9 - - 8 / 1 4 / 8 8 . hear him on joe bonamassa radio a good bit. especially this past week. JB did a short tribute to him on his FB.
Report as inappropriate
Absolutely my favorite guitarist ever since 1971 the Messiah will come again is my all time favorite song never get to hear it enough it was awesome I am one of the few of my friends that even know or egknowledge him I often wonder what he would've accomplished if he had lived longer such a tragedy such a legend unknown to so many
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no doubt---one of the GREATS. so under rated. such a tragic end.
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First concert ever Ridgefield Playhouse in Ct. late seventies. With Peter Tosh if I remember correctly. Formed my love and appreciation for the blues. Left us way too soon.
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gtredlt4
Way too talented to leave us so long ago. One of a kind. Love this song - one of my favorites. Did things with a guitar that I've never heard from any one else. One of the best all time.
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The goat
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Filthy Teddy!!!!!!! ! . . . j u s t sayin...
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stephaniepat r i c o s k i
Livestock album
Can I change my mind
A go to song
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You cave dweller you arrow. Really!
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check out the album LIVE STOCK song CAN I CHANGE MY MIND from 1975 a classic
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rosscj13
I've seen many guitar "Gods" but Roy Buchanan was my first. He opened for Climax Blues Band in '77 at Ocean City, Md. A fantastic show!
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One of the greatest to play
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how about playing more roy on his channel and more jj cale on his its time these guys quit getting overlooked
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trexaaa3
Roy's
The
Verybest
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I'm a little disappointed with Pandora about this but recently I was turned onto Roy Buchanan and wanted to check out some of his songs so I entered his name into 'create a station'. I've been listening for better than a half hour and I've only heard one song by him. While the music has been good and enjoyable I requested Roy Buchanan not general classic blues. I understand Roy had quite a large catalog of recordings. Surely you can squeeze in a couple more from Roy.
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I saw him in upstate New York back in 75. At some college in the Albany area. No charge ? We sat outside in a courtyard. In the grass ? Out he came. Played for 2 hours as we sat 2 feet away. Had a talk with him afterwords. He was a strange guy. There was another guy with him who didn't leave his side when he wasn't playing. Like a caretaker. Anyway his guitar was amazing that day. I shall never forget it.
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High school in the 70's my friends thought...wh o the hell is that.. all I said was listen, well some didn't get it, but myself and a few others were like WOW!!!!!!!!! ! !
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suebridges76
Ah, can u say SWEET!! My high school boyfriend turned me on 2 roy back in the mid 70's & i did get 2 see him play 2 a small audience back then...un-fr e a k i n g - r e a l ! Jaw dropping talent..
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Badass hewas!
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All you who don't know Roy, check out Bloomfield. So many people to be.
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f**king lie, they killed him.
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this guy could cause a Tele to make so many differen't sounds, just with his hands!
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rip mr bucanhan
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I recall the Screaming Guitars of Roy Buchanan from my college days in the 70s. What a great guitar sound.
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Awesome, when I first heard him playing Wayfaring Pilgrim I thought I was listening to BB King..Where have I been all your life?
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Awesome, when I first heard him playing I thought I was listening to BB King..Where have I been all your life?
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Ever wonder why some of the greatest musicians like Roy , Jimmy Hendrix,Dan M with the Doors left this world at a young age
To have that much talent but yet be so Misserable
They are all missed and so many more
Report as inappropriate
Saw him do whole first lp in NY he gave me chills I will never forget that TRIP hope he is with the MASSIAH
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Too bad he never did take the chance to play with the Stones
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Man have I been in the dark about this guy omg goose bumps
Report as inappropriate
That's Roy playing guitar, but that is definitely Delbert McClintock doing the vocals.
Report as inappropriate
lorinoblee
He is absolutely GREAT!
Report as inappropriate
"I'm A Ram" 1-Fire~ Born-ll-Lead
H-Town~Rocki n ' ~ W e - A i n ' t - S t o p i n ' - T h a - M u s i c
LOVE+S Disciple*978 * 1 * ~ 8 m 1 4 y ~
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My dear friend. Kind hearted and alone. We had great times in N.O.La RIP. Tips/rich
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yup
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awesome
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Discovered Buchanan today...my loss over previous years. So sorry to hear of his tragic death...
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mattberes1
Sounds like Procol Harem
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good enough to play with the stones thank you
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Aragon ballroom chicago mid 80s roy johnny winter and Lonnie brooks what a great show ill never forget it !!!
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Check out the song, Ramon's Blues where he and Steve Cropper trade solos; it can't get loud enough.
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michaelhaydn m v
The album by Roy Buchanan that I bought in '77 or so I bought out of curiosity. I was very impressed with his playing. I don't have the album anymore.
Report as inappropriate
This cat is just as good as any of the great guitarists, including Carlos Santana.
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Saw him at the Kennedy center Wow I waited all show for him to play Hey joe, and i tell you he did not disappoint just freaking amazing WOW
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Sure wish he was still here!
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Roy's the man
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Real blues at last. God bless you,PANDORA . You rock!!
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I do believe that the policeman was braggin' that he was hung himself. I wish I carried a big stick too but then I wouldn't know what to do.
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badd a**
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Some people just hate the Police and blame them even though their ain't no evidence. If they did do it some god will get em.
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