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Roy Buchanan


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Roy Buchanan’s (September 23, 1939 - August 14, 1988) musical career began in Pixley, California. His father was a sharecropper (not a Pentecostal preacher as Buchanan himself had claimed). Buchanan told how his first musical memories were of racially-mixed revival meetings his family would attend. “Gospel,” he recalled, “that’s how I first got into black music”. He in fact drew upon many disparate influences while learning to play his instrument (although he later claimed his aptitude was derived from being “half-wolf”). He initially showed talent on the steel guitar before switching to the standard instrument in the early 50’s.

In 1957, Buchanan made his recording debut, playing the solo on Dale Hawkins’ “My Babe” for Chicago’s Chess Records. Three years later, Buchanan headed north to Canada, where he took charge of the guitar role in Ronnie Hawkins’ band (a group later to gain fame as The Band). The group’s guitar player, Robbie Robertson, studied guitar under Buchanan, and took over the lead guitar spot when Buchanan left the group.

The early 60’s found Buchanan performing numerous gigs as a sideman with multiple rock bands, and cutting a number of sessions as guitarist with musicians such as Freddy Cannon and Merle Kilgore.

Buchanan’s 1962 recording with drummer Bobby Gregg, “Potato Peeler”, first introduced the trademark Buchanan pinch harmonics. An effort to cash in on the British Invasion caught Buchanan with The British Walkers. In the mid-‘60’s, Buchanan settled down in the Washington, DC area, playing as a sideman before starting his own groups. One of these groups was called The Snakestretchers, an allusion to Buchanan’s disdain for the vagaries of the band experience.


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  • lamgiau886

    I love all your songs

    27 Aug 12:12pm Reply
  • ElwoodHelmut

    The best Telecasterplayer I ever heard.

    20 Mar 10:33pm Reply
  • Barcida


    6 Dec 2013 Reply
  • radio_face


    2 Dec 2013 Reply
  • fearimpaired

    Every note backed up by meant or unmeant human emotions! That's what makes a technically outstanding maestro such a great musician as Mr. Buchanan is! No matter what my musical journeys will be, I'll always remain grateful to him just for being a favorite guitar player of mine. :)

    14 May 2013 Reply
  • Metamorphic_


    8 Feb 2013 Reply
  • RubberSoulBro

    master of guitar

    8 Feb 2013 Reply
  • sl8221958

    I agree with bazikhor-- The Worlds Greatest Unknown Guitar Player .

    23 Aug 2012 Reply
  • Plook

    A so great musician

    9 Jul 2012 Reply
  • cuenka

    16 May 2012 Reply
  • bazikhor

    The Worlds Greatest Unknown Guitar Player

    19 Apr 2012 Reply
  • buttheadak

    his "Down by the River" cover is incredible, possibly better than Neil's version!!

    30 Mar 2012 Reply
  • RafaelDivoz

    great guitar player! i just discovered him.

    16 Mar 2012 Reply
  • hannesutinchen

    endlich habe ich zu dir gefunden

    5 Mar 2012 Reply
  • bwdjai

    um, where have I been....

    28 Oct 2011 Reply
  • docck_64

    He's so awesome. Just dropped a little to 1 million plays :)

    16 Sep 2011 Reply
  • Zombie3785

    <1million plays? I find that really hard to believe. Is this a misspelling of his name or something? No. There must be an error somewhere...○

    27 Aug 2011 Reply
  • slimdrow

    great guitar player! i just discovered him.

    12 Aug 2011 Reply
  • RasViKing

    Jerry Garcia called Roy 'The Worlds Greatest Unknown Guitar Player' in the opening to the PBS documentary "Introducing Roy Buchanan" and it's no exaggeration! This documentary is freely available out there on the interweb [DON'T pay for it!] and I highly recommend it. Even better look for the Austin City Limits premier season session with Roy. Whatever you do find the Rockpalast performance as it just kills! These two are often on the same DVD. Again, don't pay for them as they circulate widely. It's hard to pick a favorite so a few of mine are: Roy's Bluez, Story of Issac, Country Preacher, Dual Soliloquy, Wayfairing Pilgrim and of course The Messiah (Will Come Again). If you can't locate any of the videos mentioned above or want some live Roy let me know, I've got lots. :-)

    25 Jul 2011 Reply
  • raysbluewoody


    19 Jul 2011 Reply
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