Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Anyone else NOT like Roy Buchanan? :shock:

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by LGOberean, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2008

    I'm glad you brought up New Orleans because Snooks Eaglin is the antidote to all the reasons folks gave for not fully embracing Roy B.

    In my musical world, Snooks is a towering figure that could do everything and Roy is a footnote who influenced Jeff Beck.

    Hard but true.

    Snooks stayed alive longer than Roy and it didn't help him in terms of notoriety.

    The guitar hero worship guild is run by white guys who want histrionics and some kinda climax. (see: Bonamassa).

    But - compare the live set of Snooks recorded in '85 on YouTube to the Roy B ACL show.

    One is a phenomenally talented guitarist that played a wide range of tunes and was there to entertain and play songs and usually have a chance to play a great solo in each one.

    The other one's whole performance was built around showcasing "what he could do on guitar" w/ loooooong solos being the focus and songs being just something he needed to do to get to the solos.

    *The Grateful Dead - Always better live. Besides two records (we all know which ones) I only listen to live stuff. So superior to the dry, uncomfortable studio records it's ridiculous.

  2. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    Roy loved to tell "stories" and one of them is about his father being a Pentecostal minister. The truth is rather different.

    The following is from the Roy bio "American Axe" by Phil Carson:

    Bill Buchanan was a simple sharecropper, accustomed to only the most basic pleasures. The love of books, or the church, was not among them. Nor did the moonshine that came from the hills tempt him. Buchanan was a hardworking thrifty, teetotalling man. The Buchanan women attended church on behalf of their men. Bill Buchanan had his own ideas; he did not find church useful. Many years later - after Roy Buchanan had repeatedly told interviewers his father was a preacher - J.D. (Roy's brother) would say that if Bill Buchanan ever entered a church, "the roof would fall in on his head."

    Roy's "version" is probably more interesting though.;)

  3. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005

    I can see that you're no fan of Roy - and of course that is your privilege. But who says you can't love both equally much? I don't see the relevance in comparing two so different artists. I value them on their own terms.

    It almost sounds as if you're blaming Roy for Snooks' lack of notoriety ... :confused:

    I won't comment on a couple of your other assertions; they speak for themselves.:oops:

  4. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    When I came from the suburbs of Upstate New York where I was pampered and fawned upon for no real reason, to the Big Times of New Orleans, I just got the rudest possible awakening. Oh, people were not objectively rude, they just burst my silly bubble.

    In many ways New Orleans 1971 was as racist as you can get, but in one way it was exceptionally egalitarian. If you could play and stayed available, you worked if you were good at it (talented, practiced and showed up ready to perform) - and if you needed help, you were just out of luck for the most part. Some guys "bought" their way into bands or were related to the right person, but it really was a Meritocracy.

    Not that it paid well or anything. You saw these guys, our best, retire and get out of the scene for years, and many worked full time doing something else to pay the bills.

    Everyone wants to talk about Washington DC and its connections with Ellington and Chuck Brown and Danny and Roy and Lowell, but IMO Washington DC was a small time music setting in comparison to something like Memphis or New Orleans. Not so small time as Orlando, but my feel is truthfully, Roy B. did not have all that much competition. He was tall in a market with not much going on. He'd have been more successfully than me obviously, in New Orleans, but we wouldn't be talking about him here on this board. Snooks Eaglin is amazing, but the funny part is New Orleans just swims with people with so much ability. So many players, so much character.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015

  5. RMorgan

    RMorgan Tele-Meister

    Dec 22, 2014
    Caeté, Brazil

    It looks like Roy was a very complex person...

    In my opinion, he was kind of lost between playing what he wanted to hear and playing what others wanted to hear.

    For some reason he ended up playing with some sort of generic band with a generic 70's vocalist and just playing some solos around typically average and ordinary musical arrangements.

    I feel like, for some reason, he never really got the chance to actually compose something original, you know, to actually make a statement about his musicality.

    The same goes for Gatton. I love his playing, but I don't feel the same about the sum of his work.

    Anyway, that's life. Some guys can play, some others can compose...Just a few can do both with equivalent geniality.

    Just my two cents, anyway.


  6. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

    Just so glad to hear a mention of Snooks.

    How about:
    Snooks, funky.
    Roy, not funky.


  7. NewPort

    NewPort Tele-Meister

    Nov 22, 2012
    Nye Beach, Oregon
    I just got done listening to Roy Buchanan - Can I Change My Mind with Billy Price.

    I approach this music appreciation as more of a consumer than a real guitar player. What a revelation this song was, it all made sense, the guitar was excellent and fit with the vocals and the total arrangement. I really enjoyed it and the guitar solo.

    It reminded me of hearing (on youtube) Jimmy Page play a famous Zeppelin song with the Yardbirds and then with Robert Plant and Zeppelin. Guitar was about the same but the song unbelievably different, like it came alive with Zeppelin and Plant's vocals.

  8. porgy

    porgy Tele-Meister

    Feb 3, 2009
    marion IL
    Roy is just fine by me.

  9. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I had one Roy Buchanan album (hot wires?) in college and listened to it a lot because I was told he was great, but to be honest he never did much for me. Obviously he had mastered the instrument and of course that's admirable but I never really enjoyed listening to him--I disliked his tone, I disliked the endless solos which I thought really needed editing. I really can't listen to twenty minutes of 12 bar blues unless the player has something harmonically more varied to say. For example in this video

    at 5:33 (see, 5:33 of a ten minute blues in which only buchanan solos) he starts some kind of weird lick thing that he then drags all the way down the fretboard: it was kind of interesting for a few seconds but it just ends up seeming like a gimmick, and he has no way out of it: it just stops. Then again something similar at seven minutes, and at 7:44. It's not a a story, it's got no narrative structure. His solos always struck me as "watch me make the guitar do tricks." For ten minutes.

    I certainly don't want to slag the guy: he was an extremely accomplished player. He was interested in pursuing the thing he pursued to it's utter end. I just always found myself getting tired of him after a minute or two .
    Bruxist and Colo Springs E like this.

  10. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    And you Roy detractors are on the TELECASTER discussion page?
    Back to the Gear Page with the lot of you.

  11. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

    The instrument and the artistry are 2 different things.

  12. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    I absolutely agree.
    Roy's best canvas was the Tele, on which, as a poster above said, he revealed his weaknesses, frustrations, pains, good points and bad.

    The snippy remark I made above, I would modify to, you can like Roy's playing or not, suit yourself, but as an artist, he deserves your respect.
    He broke new ground for guitar players in general and Tele players specifically.
    Sadly, one of the things that makes his playing great is his demons, which he does not hide at all-he lays it all out.

  13. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2011
    Purely from a player perspective I tried to get into Buchanan, thanks a lot to TDPRI. I'm still not a massive fan, and I've not listened to him for several months. I really like his covers of Down By the River and Hey Joe. However there is something of a lingering depression to a lot of his work. The Messiah Will Come Again starts with him mumbling, before breaking into that high, keening solo. I feel that the issue with Roy is that there is a reason he didn't make it big, and it isn't because the public are charlatans. What do you market? A miserable dude that cannot sing but tries anyway and has this righteously overdeveloped guitar technique with none of the stage presence to match? He didn't look like a rock star and didn't sound like one. Blues artist? A bit too high-octane for that as well, and not really a purist.

    If I had to put my finger on what doesn't do it for me, it would have to be that chimey, squeely guitar tone. The Nancy tone, with the baked in reverb and shrill treble response. It just wears on me after a while I guess. That, and volume swells aren't all that exciting. David Gilmour was doing them in the late '60s, but people get hung up on them as some cornerstone of expressive guitar playing, rather than the simple quirk they are. Some of Roy's faster hammer-on/pull-off runs and pinch harmonic work seem a bit hack-like as well, and again all of this is channeled through that shrill Fender amp tone, that picked up every scrape and rattle with perfect precision. I'm not calling Roy a hack, but sometimes I feel he is phoning in the faster tricks, rather than considering how these things might best serve the song. A solo that is built up of one lick played fast, then a weird tremolo-picked slide up and down the neck, then some pinch harmonics coaxed out of the fretboard under duress, then a different three-note lick played at speed... it sounds like a bored guitarist. Check out the solo that kicks in at 3:18. It starts off pretty well, but then Roy hangs onto that one note and starts stabbing it at it whilst slowly raising and lowering the pitch. Then a fast run, ended off with a really well executed pinch harmonic. That phrase at 4:04 is repeated until for ten seconds; just the same inane country bend over and over again. There is some daft showboating at 4:50 consisting of tremolo picked harmonics up and down the neck. At 5:39 he does a hammer-on/pull-off section with his right arm well away from the guitar, the only real nod to showmanship thus far. At 5:50 he drinks from a cup of (probably not) water, to further emphasise that he is using one hand for that lick. At 6:20 he fires out blasts of percussive noise using a weird flamenco technique. This is further employed at 6:35 to perform a fairly pointless run up the neck, slowly working up the frets. At 7:02 the band stop, leaving Roy to keep soloing with this weird pickless technique. He firstly pulls off some interesting double-stops, but then goes for a dull fret-by-fret hike up the neck again, slowing down prior to reaching the top note for dramatic effect. At this point the band slams back in for the final chord. It doesn't feel like a cohesive solo, merely a bunch of random showboating and self indulgence that probably wowed small audiences in clubs but feels weird on a stage like this.


  14. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    Some of you guys would definitely benefit from reading the Roy biography "American Axe" by Phil Carson. Knowledge is always a good way to understand a subject.

    Roy's definitely not everyone's cup of tea though, but even I, as a long time fan, got a deeper understanding of the man and his music.

  15. crowhaven2000

    crowhaven2000 Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2011
    New Mexico
    Well spoken. That is a beautiful piece, from one of many masters of their guitars.

  16. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2011
    I may pick up that book at some point, but I don't always think an artist needs a mandatory Cliff Notes for their work to speak on its own, if you catch my drift?

    I don't like the prog metal band Tool, and I still didn't like them after I read about their singers' fractious relationship with his father.

  17. Drubbing

    Drubbing Friend of Leo's

    Buchanan's back story informs the music. Just as Tools' did. Not much to do with whether you think they're good people. Everyone's flawed one way or another.

  18. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005

    @Manolete: I certainly didn't need Roy's bio to enjoy his music; I already had done that for years.

    But knowledge and insight has never hurt in any context - if you catch my drift ... :D

  19. Drubbing

    Drubbing Friend of Leo's

    This is probably the material and tricks that passed like Chinese whispers from those gigs and created the legend. He's just giving the people what he thinks they want.

    I enjoy this show a lot, but to me, the audience looks like a hipster crowd that has heard about Roy and is likes the hipster feeling of being noticed there. He looks like he's rolling through the familiar stuff that ensures the whoops and hollers.

    The insights you get from the book, is that many feel he saved his best stuff for the after show party - the Dual soliloquy and Magualena material that he rarely seemed to do onstage. He was a troubled complicated man, caught between a desire for fame and recognition, and repelling it whenever big opportunities presented. He was a nightmare to record, often disorganised and unprepared. His main obstacle was not getting behind a good band and vocalist, and doing tunes. That would have got him some of what he was after, but probably felt that just wasn't him. No mater how conflicted he was, he made his choices, and you get what you get.

  20. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    Damn. I have nothing else to say about that piece.

    Otherwise, haven't heard much Buchanan that makes me want to buy it.... I have found it interesting over the years.... I seem to like a lot of players, but not necessarily their influences.... for example, Jim Campilongo is an absolute fave, but I'm not much of a Buchanan fan. Tommy Emmanuel is an absolute fave, but I'm not a Chet Atkins fan AT ALL (and much prefer Merle Travis)...

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.