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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Greatest Unknown Guitarist ever .......

I grew up listening to Classic rock and Blues. Guitarists like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, and Stevie ray vaughn had long became big favourites. Then a few months back i listened to a blues guitarist named Roy Buchanan. The first thing i said to myself after listening to his songs was, "This is where it's at!". The second thing that came to my mind was why didn't I hear him before! Let alone hearing him, why haven't I heard about him before? I soon got interested and listend to a couple of his albums and he is pretty consistent all throughout, and the song i listened to wasn't a one off.

Here is a clip of him playing the solo on "Roy's blues"

As it turns out, Roy Buchanan, was a players player. He was one of the laidback guitarists who liked to avoid the spotlight and earned his fame by playing at numerous small clubs to an audience which got addicted pretty fast. He was considered a god by all the contemporary guitarists of his time. Jeff Beck was his student and his song "we have ended as lovers" from the "Blow by Blow" album is a tribute to Roy. He also influenced guitarists like robbie robertson and the ZZ top lead. In the 70's he was offered to play with "Derek and the Dominoes" by Eric Clapton, but Roy had turned down the offer citing that he had a band of his own. He was also offered to join the rolling stones. I still only wonder how Layla would have sounded if Roy was on the guitars. However Roy stuck to his band and to his sound. He was shy of the big music companies trying to push him to adapt a mainstream sound and throughout his career he remained a guitarist who was criminally overlooked.

His songs are soulful, with raw energy flowing through the heart wrenching solo's. The man owned a Fender telecaster and the man made it his own. Even in the 60's without pedals and gizmos, he created the trademark wails and squeals founds on his bluesy tracks. His experiments with volume swelling and pinch harmonics flow freely through his off the hook solo's. His guitar always sounds so soulful yet rebellious at the same time.

I found some videos of Buchanan and decided to try and put them here. These include a very simple tune called "Sweet dreams" made so special by Roy's guitaring. The videos show his swirl and whirl sounds technique with the fender in the song "when the guitar plays the blues". The videos themselves are not of the best production quality being from a time long ago, and the sound quality is not so great, but just to give us a taste of his music, they are very very precious. Thanks to Jack burton, a user on You tube, i don't even know, for putting them up! Go get your headphones :)


Blogger *suey* said...

awesssummm stuff! tell me which albums of his to lookout for?

6:23 AM  
Blogger *suey* said...

your blog is getting grownup and serious. you are debating issues like hustlers and patience!
You imposter!!!!!!

6:25 AM  
Blogger Empty handed painter said...

Now now, we at this blog continue to look at such grown up issues in a very trivial way. The foundation of this blog has been trivialism and we will make sure that it is never violated. We will look at grown up issues only when we think there is some fun to be had there.

3:58 PM  
Blogger pseudolus said...

I've been a fan since 1971 when I saw a PBS special. Then I found a bootleg 8-track of his "Second Album" and I was hooked. It was country flavored Blues when that wasn't cool, but it had me by the 'nads and wouldn't let go. Still probably his best effort. IMHO

I was lucky enough to see him live once in a small venue, front row. What a showman. There are many albums out there and a bunch of compilations/"best of' his early works because like most musicians he sold the rights to his music and lost all controll over releases.

The Rolling Stone offer is dubious at best. Though the story has been around a long time, no one will verify it. I never heard the Clapton/Dominos claim before and I will bet it is more likely someone misremembering the Stones tale than fact.

At any rate he was good pals with Jeff Beck and even reciprocated the tribute by Beck with a tune of his own called "My Friend Jeff" on his next album. He does a near perfect imitation of Jeff's funky jazz/rock style.

His Alligator recordings are probably a good place to start if you aren't up on the 'country thang', being more blues/rock than his earlier works. Wikipedia has a nice entry on him where you can learn more.

If you like the 'country thang' check out his fellow traveller Danny Gatton, inventor of "Redneck Jazz" a blazing legend in his own right who invented his own guitar special effects box. Tragically he, too, committed suicide with much left to give the world.

6:08 PM  

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