Roy Buchanan

1988 Roy Buchanan decided, to hang up himself with his own T-shirt in a police cell in Fairfax, Virginia, aged 49. In the year 1971, a TV documentation had been sent titled “The Best Unknown Guitarist In The World”. Nothing had (and has) changed since then. Buchanan worked as a studio musician for Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Ricky Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Stefan Grossman, Tom Paxton. He even got offers by the Rolling Stones [to replace Brian Jones] or by John Lennon [to play his part in the Plastic Ono Band]. Buchanan played the electrical melody guitar like a devil, chased so many notes in second fractions through the amplifier, that one could not count or write down these notes anymore. On the other hand, he mastered the art, to slow down melody-lines so much at certain points, that one forgets the melody never more: Mark Knopfler, Santana, or Eric Clapton perfectly are practicing this way. I will never forget his version of “After Hours”. I recorded this pretty piece of music with my tape recorder [turned old now] from the radio in 1959. Roy Buchanan (1939-1988) learned to play the Hillbilly Steel Guitar at the age of nine years, experienced public worships of blacks and whites in the South of the USA. His father was a preacher in the “Pentecostal Church Of God” and he liked to say, that his mother sang better than Billie Holiday. So Blind Boy Fuller or Elvis Presley, Delta Blues or Rockabilly lay in his cradle. He played the guitar lick of “Susie Q” nearly every evening, tantalized by the wish, to arouse the attention of the young ladies. 1963 Roy Buchanan married his girlfriend​ Judy and lived in the area around Washington. He had to get through his little family occasionally by working as a hairdresser. After a Rolling Stone interview in 1971 finally, he became more publicly known. He played in a sold out Carnegie Hall, his first LP appeared and that mentioned television program was broadcast with the title “The Best Unknown Guitarist In The World”. He played together with other “claptonesque” guitarists, came into the charts in Great Britain with a CC-Rider version, appeared in Japan and Amsterdam – and then (just back in the USA) hung himself in that prison: The backside of his great musical brilliance was an emotional instability. Though his curriculum vitae ended so sadly, he indirectly remained unchanged for us with his most creative and joyful minutes of his life – because we still can listen to his unforgettable music …

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

10 responses to “Roy Buchanan

  1. GreetIngs, my friend. Keep playing that Country Music! I’ve listened or tried to listen to your finger style guitar on soundcloud, but don’t always succeed. What with the news and what with the common blogger fatigue we haven’t been posting as often as before. Never mind, keep on playing and singing. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a sad story. So many sad stories like this in the music business and other art-related “businesses”, albeit with different story lines. Thanks for sharing his story and music. Lovely piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant guitarist, so sad he left this way. I loved his version of ‘Hey Joe’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Allan G. Smorra

    Thanks for this post, Frizz. I was unaware of Roy before now. Gone too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Splendid music, but what a sad story.


  6. I’m trying to get back to my favorite bloggers…enjoyed this article and post…you introduce me to a world I never knew…


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