Roy Buchanan lets his soul scream in Vancouver


 shoulda got Roy’s autograph when I had the chance


By Steve Newton

There were some people who felt that Roy Buchanan played way too loud and not nearly enough at the Town Pump last Monday (February 10). Then there were others–like myself–who could care less about such things as long as the 48-year-old guitar hero does what he’s famous for.

Backed by an energetic rhythm section, the veteran player displayed the soul-shaking leads, shimmering tone, and repertoire of snaps, snarls, and wails that have earned him an undying following among blues fans. His first selections included the twelve-bar title track of his latest album, When a Guitar Plays the Blues, and the old standard “Baby What You Want Me To Do”.

“Let’s play some old honk for ya here,” said Roy as he rollicked into an instrumental version of “Mercury Blues”. Then it was time for another new one, “Country Boy”, in which he proudly reaffirmed his roots. “Yeah they call me country/I’m from a country town/The girls are crazy ’bout me/They love what I’m puttin’ down.”

From there Buchanan headed into deep blues with Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and then took his Marshall amp into the metal realm on another Hendrix song, “Foxy Lady”.

The searing sounds Roy produced on “Foxy” made more than one person on the crammed dance floor take an ear-protecting step backward: but then, Jimi wouldn’t want it any other way. And Roy was only too happy to oblige.

After some more raucous blues Buchanan left the stage and the sold-out crowd brought him back for an encore performance of “The Messiah Will Come Again”, a classic track from his 1972 debut album.

The guitarist showed his lightning speed and some volume-knob wizardy on this tune to elicit that lonesome whistle cry. A second encore–“Johnny B. Goode”–finished things off on a boogie note.

In his dressing room afterwards, Roy sat patiently signing autograph books and album covers and quietly talking strings and intonation with a fan who claimed “I’m a guitarist too.” It seemed rather strange that minutes before this mellow, soft-spoken person had been creating some of the raunchiest guitar sounds known to man.

During the making of his latest album Buchanan was asked about this apparent contradiction between his outward calm and explosive playing style.

“Yeah,” he’s quoted as saying, “but I’m screaming inside.”

Read the interview I did with Buchanan in advance of the show.


To hear the FULL AUDIO of my 1986 interview with Roy Buchanan, subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also hear my interviews with such guitar greats as:

Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Walter Trout, 2003
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Leo Kottke, 2002
Link Wray, 1997
Buddy Guy, 1991
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1985
Malcolm Young of AC/DC, 1983
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come


3 thoughts on “Roy Buchanan lets his soul scream in Vancouver

  1. I was there..Incognito opened for him.Roy was one of the very best there ever was and is one my top 5 favourite guitar players!

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