Roy Buchnanan

Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan

“Roy Buchanan”

On what would have been Roy’s 78th birthday today’s post is a updated version of a post that was done a couple years ago. Roy is well known as “the greatest unknown guitar player in history”. He is also known as a man who told The Rolling Stones no thank you when they asked him to be their guitarist after Mick Taylor quit the band. After getting turned on to Roy back in 1979 we never missed a live show that he performed in the San Francisco Bay Area. As like most blues guitarists a studio recording did nothing to show how much talent that they really have.

This paragraph excerpt from Roy’s dedicated web site by Don Mare Pickups says it best. “In Buchanan’s hands the Tele came alive. He could play blues so sweet, or accent country music with sounds like a steel guitar. He learned to make the guitar cry by striking a note, bending it, and making the sound swell by manipulating the volume knob with the pinky on his right hand. Using the pinky on the volume control and his ring finger on the tone control gave him a wah-wah sound. He did it his way, the hard way.” So we would like to share a couple of our favorite Buchanan tunes.

Off of his first solo record back in 1972 we have “Pete’s Blues”.

His classic song “The Messiah Will Come Again”

The very first song we ever heard from Roy was “Green Onions”.

And finally from 1985 the first album that Roy was given complete control over and it’s title song, “When a Guitar Plays the Blues”. This is a live version that we found and thought you might enjoy.

12 thoughts on “Roy Buchnanan

  1. I gave a listen and everything is as sweet as can be. Loved ‘Green Onions’ especially, the MG’s tune. Much as I like his playing, I’m less of a fan these days of the long, slow blues solo. Give me short and sweet. But that’s the way it was in those days. BTW. I’m getting the dread ‘video not found’ on ‘Messiah’ so I listened to another version.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Actually for me it still does have an effect. I play guitar and as part of my practice or just fun playing I’m always learning solos, blues, jazz, etc. So for me it’s less the solo per se than the 10-minute slow blues solo has lost some of its romance for me. At this point I’d rather here the guy play a couple of verses. That coupled with a great tune, great vocal is my sweet spot for blues.


  2. Jim just sent me over to get my Roy fix. Listening to ‘Pete’s Blues’ and really digging it. You’re absolutely right on your take. ‘Green Onions’ now and yeah I like it. The guy can play. On the last one. I was listening to Lonnie Mack a little while ago and thought I should be listening more. Look forward to a take on him. Keep them coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CB
      Glad you enjoyed. I’ve been thinking about the “Mack” post. Maybe I should stop thinking and start typing. I believe Green Onions was the very first (or Messiah) Roy tune I ever heard. Not as good as the original by Booker and the boys but I fine version.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t listened to all the tunes yet but will later today. Just a quick note to say we dug Buchanan too.I might have had this conversation with you or another blogger before, but a buddy of mine and I almost saw him a couple of times. Both times he canceled due to illness or drunkenness. One time we were actually at the club waiting for the show. So, never saw him. Missed opportunity, sad ending. But a great player. Tidbit: he played off and on with the guys from The Band early on at one point. Still then The Hawks I think .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jim
      We did have this conversation at some point. Don’t remember when but might have been on one of your “The Band” series posts. It’s a bummer that you never saw him live. He was amazing every time. Maybe since I’m out here in California he saved his heavies drinking till after the shows?. My favorite one was with Lonnie Mack and Dickey Betts which I’m sure you have seen. I’ve been thinking about doing a “Mack” song soon to make up for the fact that I didn’t really do anything after his death last year.

      Liked by 1 person

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