shoulda got Roy’s autograph when I had the chance
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FEB. 14, 1986
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 wizardry 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 the interviews I did with Roy Buchanan from 1986 and 1988 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my one-on-one conversations with such guitar greats as:
Dave Martone, 2020
Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, 2005
Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard, 1992
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, 1998
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
Jeff Golub, 1989
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, 1984
Jeff Healey, 1988
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Randy Hansen, 2001
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
Robben Ford, 1993
Joe Satriani, 1990
Vernon Reid of Living Colour, 1988
Zakk Wylde of Pride & Glory, 1994
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Doyle Bramhall II, 2001
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Randy Bachman, 2001
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991