The master of the Fender Telecaster, the late Roy Buchanan, is commemorated on a new archival CD release by Powerhouse Records. The CD, titled Roy Buchanan: American Axe Live in 1974, features highlights from two searing club sets Buchanan played nearly 30 years ago. All the material is previously unreleased.
The music on this hour-long disc reveals Buchanan at the height of his awe-inspiring powers, delivering soulful ballads, wrenching blues and raw rock n' roll for the small club audiences he preferred. Devotees of blues, rock, country and jazz will find here the tone, technique and emotive power of a masterful performer whose work still overshadows those he influenced. It's clear from these recordings why guitarists and music industry insiders from the 1950's to this day include Buchanan among a handful of the most original and influential American players.
The CD's set list includes Buchanan classics such as the Messiah Will Come Again (a first ever live version), his signature Roy's Bluz, Hey Joe (a tribute to Jimi Hendrix) and the hypnotic lament Sweet Dreams. The balance of songs draws on classics from the golden age of popular music, including 'C.C. Ryder', I hear 'You Knockin'', 'Get Out Of My Life Woman' and 'Further On Up The Road', delivered in Buchanan's trademark fashion, seductive yet riveting, grooving and explosive.
Buchanan was born in rural Arkansas in 1939 and spent his childhood there and in Pixley, California in The San Joaquin Valley, soaking up influences and country and rock he heard on his family's radio. He hit the road in 1958 as rock 'n roll seized America by storm and toured the country with early rocker Dale Hawkins. During a brief stint with Ronnie Hawkins, Buchanan tutored a young Robbie Robertson, later guitarist with The Band. Guitar legend Les Paul caught Roy in the early 1960's and later remarked: "Roy Buchanan and Jimi Hendrix had some things in common. Roy was one of the creators in the pioneering of unusual sounds. It seemed as though I was hearing them come first from Roy Buchanan." Jerry Garcia and Jeff beck also sang Roy's praises.
Buchanan - always a journeyman, never comfortable as a star - slipped into obscurity in the 1960's, and was rediscovered in 1971 through a PBS television documentary. In the 1970s and 1980s, Roy produced 11 studio and two live LP's, passing in and out of fashion. In contrast his live club appearances were avidly sought by knowledgeable fans. Thus the historic value or Roy Buchanan: American Axe Live in 1974.
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