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Introducing Roy Buchanan A/K/A The World’s Greatest Unknown Guitarist

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I had just come home from a dreary day in junior high school in 1971 and flipped on the television for a quick look when I happened upon something completely unexpected on Channel 13. Our local public broadcasting station, as staid and frankly boring an outfit as one could imagine, having all of the hipness of an appendectomy, had some live rock gracing its airways. School books forgotten, I was fascinated by the taciturn guitarist playing a beat-up Fender Telecaster, coaxing some astonishing sounds out of it in ways that seemed even beyond what Page and Beck were doing. The show of course, was the now legendary “Introducing Roy Buchanan”, commonly (and very incorrectly) known as “The World’s Greatest Unknown Guitarist”.

“Introducing” was a bit of a holy grail for me to find, as it was seemingly nowhere to be found. I frequented various record shows and conventions and came up with bootlegged copies of various items of interest from the sands of time but my mention of “Introducing” only induced blank stares from most of the purveyors in the dealers rooms at these shows. I began to doubt my memory, and let the matter fall by the wayside as other priorities took over. About two years ago, when perusing eBay for various items, on a whim, I searched for Roy Buchanan video, and I was delighted to find a VHS copy for sale. No Buy It Now, so I had to sit there and snipe for it, but less than a week later the tape popped up in my mailbox, and I was once again hooked.

The show had several distinct parts intercut, a rare visit home to Roy’s parents in Pixley, California, which (somewhat disingenuously) tried to show his roots, a series of jams with influences and favorites, including Merle Haggard, Johnny Otis and Mundell Lowe (the latter playing an unbelievable duet with Roy on “Misty”), and a live concert staged at WNET’s Manhattan studios that showcased Roy and his band at the time, the Snakestretchers. Future E-Streeter Nils Lofgren even joined Roy and the band for an extended jam on the show. The Snakestretchers were a bar band, first and foremost, a bit sloppy here and there, and a bit goofy as well (percussionist Marc Fisher’s exaggerated movements make Ray Cooper’s shtick seem sedate).

The music is what wows you in this show. Aside from the aforementioned “Misty”, Roy shows off his gentler side on his parents’ back porch with his Telecaster plugged into a small amp with an astonishing display of circle picking, pedal steel-inspired licks when playing along with Merle Haggard, “chicken pickin” while backing up a church service, plus his concert tours de force, “Sweet Dreams” and “The Messiah Will Come Again”. “Sweet Dreams” takes the old Patsy Cline song to another plane, with its exquisite slow bends and volume swells, and “Messiah” runs from anguished country blues to Page-like excess, again with Roy’s lightning neck runs, pinched harmonics and his uncanny ability to make the guitar seem like it was crying and talking. Timing concerns caused WNET to fade out “Messiah” on the broadcast, but every time it aired, the performance generated a lot of phone calls asking about this awesome guitarist.

Buchanan’s career was very checkered, and other than his very first album, his records didn’t really capture Buchanan’s smoldering passion for playing. Most of his records were disjointed jams, and frankly, his singing was better left unheard. The recordings were corporate affairs, trying to capitalize on the “guitar hero” aspect of the times, but looking for something commercial, which truth be told, Buchanan wasn’t. He was a player’s player. I saw him on several occasions at places such as The Bottom Line and My Father’s Place, with bands that were looser and sloppier than the Snakestretchers (if such a thing were possible). Roy could be a bit infuriating to watch if you were looking to hear only “Sweet Dreams” or “The Messiah Will Come Again”, as he played whatever came into his head that evening, and maybe, if we were lucky we’d get one or the other (on one rare occasion we did get both pieces in the set), but as a guitarist sitting in the front row eagerly absorbing every note, you know you’d be challenged, frustrated and ultimately awed by seeing Roy in concert.

Roy’s death is still the subject of conjecture, and to some extent his recorded legacy needs to be managed better. I would imagine that releasing this and perhaps some of the other extant footage of him would go a long way to acknowledging this legendary player’s talents.

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  • godoggo

    I believe he’s in the band in that Roy Orbison special they show on PBS whenever they’re fundraising.

  • http://paskudnyak.blogspot.com The Proprietor

    The only other PBS show I’m aware of that Roy appeared on was an oldies show in the mid-80s with the likes of Ben E. King and Lesley Gore. It was actually a sweet little show, with a very respectable pit band (which Roy led; he was respectfully addressed as “Professor” by some of the performers).

  • Geo

    I used to sneak into “My Mother’s Place” in D.C., with a fake I.D. when I was around 16 and watch Roy play. I saw him many times during those years, it was Phenominal. What an inspiration to a budding yound guitarist (me), Really cool. Danny Gatton was another favorite. We had some real talent in D.C. who never were recognized nationally. Partly due to the fledgling recording scene of the 70’s. NYC and LA was where musicians headed, then later Nashville was added to the list. But D.C. was only interested in politics and unabashed apple polishing.

  • Jonesy

    Wow! Didn’t know Roy was king (Messiah?) of electric guitar…until about a month ago, reading the web. Apparently Jeff Beck did Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” on “Blow By Blow [1975] as a tribute to Buchanan. Does this mean that stylistically the track emulates Roy’s sound, at least in part? I’ve never heard Roy before.

  • RICK

    I have the following DVDs Of Roy Buchanan: P.B.S. The Greatest Unknown Guitarist in the World 1971; Roy Buchanan Sweet Dreams 1973 Musicladen; Roy Buchanan Austin City Limits Recorded in 1976 And Shown on P.B.S. 1977; Further On Down The Road 1986 that I had to Convert V.H.S. to DVD; Josephs Foodliner February 1987, Josephs Foodliner October 1987; Shake Rattle & Roll November 1987 and Broadcasted On P.B.S. 1988; Custom Made Guitars 1988; The Last Session-Raw outtakes of Custom Made 1988 that I had to Convert from V.H.S. to DVD. I know that there is one more from 1974 Don Kirshners Rock Concert that I have not Been able to get!! Roy was the Greatest Ever!! Bar None!!!!

  • RICK

    I saw Roy at Poor Davids Pub October 1988 In Dallas, Texas and Got to talk with Roy Several Times that Night. I told Roy that I had waited 17 years to meet him and Roy just smiled and told me to stick around for the second show and that he was going to pull out all the stops and he (ROY) did. I was about 10 Feet away when he played Hey Joe and at that moment i felt like a screaming little kid and i looked around and saw that everyone else had the same reaction that I did!! Most everyone there was a Guitar Player. I took My telecaster to Dallas and asked Roy If he would sign it and he said that he would during the break. During the break Roy walked over to me and asked if I had my telecaster for him and I told Roy no because i had Parked so far away that I was afraid someone would steal it from me!! Roy Understood and patted me on my Belly and said I understantd! Boy, I wish now that I had took the Chance with my guitar but this was a rough area and I am From Southern Oklahoma and not used to the things that I saw In Dallas. I was 30 Years Old at the Time and I had been playing guitar myself for about 18 years but could never do what Roy did and never saw anyone who could!!!

  • TONY LISI

    I WAS INTRODUCED TO ROY’S GUITAR PLAYING BY AN OLDER GUITAR PLAYING COUSIN. HE WAS MORE INTO COMMERCIAL MUSIC, BUT I WAS ALL ROCK AND ROLL. BEFORE I SAW ROY, I WAS FOLLOWING BUDDY HOLLY. MY COUSIN SNUCK ME INTO A BAR IN WOODLAWN,NEW JERSEY CALLED “DICK LEE’S”.
    HE SAID YOU GOTTA HEAR THIS GUY PLAY. I THINK THE YEAR WAS 1961 OR 62. ROY WAS PLAYING WITH A GROUP CALL “THE
    TEMPTATIONS”. ONCE I SAY HIM FINGER PICKIN’ MALAGUENA, I WAS HOOKED. HE WAS AWESOME. WHEN I TURNED 21, IN 1963, I STARTED SNEAKING OTHER GUITAR PLAYERS IN TO SEE HIM. IT WAS SO WILDLY KNOWN BY THIS TIME OF HIS TALENTS THAT THE BOUNCERS LET ME BRING MINORS INTO THE BAR TO WATCH, BUT OF COURSE, THEY WERE NOT ALOUD TO DRINK. WE WERE ABLE TO STAND IN A BACK CORNER WHERE WE HAD FULL VUE OF ROY ON STAGE. ROY THESE DAYS WAS STARTING TO GET PRETTY WEIRD.
    I SPOKE WITH HIM ON SEVERAL VISITS TO THE BAR. IN THE LATER VISITS, HE WOULD SOMETIMES TURN HIS BACK ON US WHEN HE PLAYED A GUITAR SOLO AS IF WE COULD COPY HIS TECHNIC. IT WAS STRANGE AND SO WERE THE TIMES AS THE MID SIXTIES ROLLED IN, ROY HAD LEFT THE TEMPTATIONS. THE TOLD ME HE HAD MOVED DOWN TO THE D.C. AREA.
    THEY WERE GREAT TIMES, NEVER TO BE EXPERIENCED AGAIN. MAN, DO I FEEL LUCKY.

    TONY

  • David J Buchanan

    I’m Roy Buchanan’s son and would like to thank all the people who left comments here. It was awesome!!!

  • Tom Vitale

    It’s great to see that Roy is remembered so fondly – he and his family deserve to keep his memories alive and well.

    I have collected much of Roy’s music – can never get enough! – but only have “Further on down the Road” re/video -(never got the chance to see him live!!)

    wondering if Rick who posted a message on 8/21/05 is willing to cpoy any of his DVD’s of Roy – for a fair price – I’d love to build up my video collection of Roy…

    Thanks,

    Tom

  • Ken Tickle

    I am trying to find video of Roy for my Dad Buck Tickle as a bass player he worked with Roy And Danny Denver Off and on in the 60’s and some early 70’s In The in the DC area man some of the stuff my dad could tell about Roy’s
    playing day’s as back then I never get tired of hearing the stories.One of my favorites Is when Roy my Dad and Danny Walked up on the stage while Jerry Lee
    Lewis was playing and Danny told Jerry about this guitar player he had with him so Jerry invited Roy to sit in Well afterwards Jerry wanted to hire Roy on the spot.Danny Responded you can’t have him he works for me so the next thing you know Danny and Jerry going at it about who Roy’s going to work for

  • Joe Mocerino

    I also saw Roy for the first time on TV. It was Don Kirshner’s “In Concert” series. This was early seventies. I finally saw Roy live in 78 at the Bottom Line. I would like to say it was the most awsome show I ever saw but it was the late show. Started at 11:30. Roy was quite wasted and not really able to play. I would love to get a copy of the video. Let me know if any are for sale.

  • Ken Tickle

    Rick please e-mail me

  • drew lavan

    Either first or second concert ever for me – Roy Buchanan at Gaston Hall, Georgetown U in WDC. Messiah was an achingly slow, gut-wrenching bit of guitar mastery: didn’t want it to stop, but it was overwhelming.

    I’d appreciate any links to quality DVD pressings of Fairfax County’s finest.

  • http://www.theriversaints.com steve vuich

    As a teenage guitar player in Western PA circa 1972, I was lucky to find out about Roy Buchanan from another guitar player who was 4 or 5 years older than I was. I was at a 9th grade dance and Fran Picciato, the guitar player from the band ( The B.D. Biggs Blues Band ) introduced a song by Roy Buchanan. It was “The Messiah Will Come Again”. I was mesmerized, hypnotized and baptized in the spirit of Roy’s music that night. It wasn’t Roy, but Frannie had that ” Gospel Rust Belt Mojo ” and after the band’s set I pestered him until he told me as much as he knew about Roy. I went out the next day. bought the record, traded my Les Paul copy for an old Tele and I’ve been preachin’ the word of Roy Buchanan ever since. Nowadays, I play in a band with some of the guys that first turned me on to Roy Buchanan… and we still play the blues and hope that Roy is pleased with the way we play ‘em!

  • Ken Tickle

    Any one how do I see the e-mail adress’es of the different posts

  • Chip Goddard

    David Buchanan–

    Thanks very much for letting us know you are here. We all hope you and the rest of the family are well; I understand there have been some tough times since your dad passed away, all the more frustrating because we know that Roy always wanted the best for his family.

    Kindly appreciate that there are still many, many musicians who look up to your father’s memory and music and we miss him deeply. He lives with us each time we listen to–or try to play– ‘When a Guitar Plays the Blues’, ‘Messiah’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, and ‘Green Onions’, “After Hours’, etc.

  • Jack Chleva

    As a young player hwo had recently moved to Denver I was “turned on” to Roy by someone who had played bass for him (supposedly) in the D.C. area in the 60’s or 70’s (name: Jim Harrelson, aka Jim Brady). After listening to Roy’s first album (the one with Pete’s Blue, Messiah, Haunted House, etc.), I was hooked. I stopped the double-cutaway humbuck sound and have been using a Tele ever since.

    I had a chance to me Roy here in Denver..and have a few photos of that time…one of the people in the local back-up/warm-up band had auditioned for me a few months before and got me backstage where Roy and I had Hieniken beers together. Along with Danny Gatton, Roy remains to this day a considerable influence on my playing…perhaps too much, as some players wonder if the Buchanan and Gatton styles dominate my playing tooo much…Well, there are worse things of which to be accused….

    Roy is still missed…I remember the morning I read about his death in the Rocky Mountain News as if it were yesterday. Man, he sure could teach a fellow to bend a note….

    RIP…..

  • http://billyleehuggins@yahoo.com bill huggins

    Danny gatton once said that only one person could out play him.Was that person roy buchanan?

  • Reuben

    No, Danny said that once about Roy Nichols.

  • R Dysinger

    Worked as a keyboard player in DC during Roy’s heydy. Used to see him at places like the Silver Dollar in Georgetown, the 007 Club, a few others now all gone. Lots of apocryphal stories from that era. Like he turned down the Stones . . . Guy was an unbelievable player. Can still see that jaw grinding away while he’s blasting up the neck and reaching back with his little pinky to move that volume control on his Telecaster. And yes when guitar players he didn’t like came to see him he would play an entire set with his back to the audience. God rest his soul.

  • Mark Dougherty

    I know I saw the same program on PBS, when I was young, 1971 sounds about right, I was a junior in high school. I walked into the house one night and my mom and dad were watching a guitar player on television. This was very weird because my dad listened to nothing but big band music, (Benny Goodman etc.) I sat down and was just blown away. I still remember that experience to this day.
    Some time later 1793 or 1974 my friend and I bought tickets to see Roy in Pittsburgh at the Syria mosque. Back in those days we bought concert tickets in Steubenville Ohio through national record mart. They gave you a receit that you took to the book office for tickets. When we got to the mosque that night they had no tickets for us and my friend went nuts. He was screaming at the poor girl until some guy came in to see what the problem was. He tried to calm down my friend and he told us to meet him over by the door. He turned out to be Jay Rich, Roy’s Manager. He said that as soon as everyone got in he would find us seats. He took us back stage and got us a beer and told us that if worse comes to worse we could just grab the chairs we were sitting in and watch the show back stage. I said Don’t even bother looking for the sets. While we were sitting there someone went into the room to our left and when I leaned to look into the room a smiling Roy Buchanan leaned forward and waved to me.
    When we heard the introduction for the opening act my friend and I grabbed those chairs and sprinted up the steps an planted ourselves in the front row looking right out on the stage. We could not belive our good fortune. It was amazing.
    After a while I heard alot of noise behind us, I turned to around to see Roy and has band coming out to go on next. there was a large crowd of people ( mostly women) around them so I turned back to watch the action on stage. While sitting ther I noticed something to my left out of the corner of my eye, I turned my head and there was a white Fender telecaster in my face. I looked up and Roy was looking down smiling at me. I was speechless. Right before he went on stage He ask me when are you fella’s going on? That was on of the best concerts of my life. It was the billy price era. and you can still relive in with the live stock album.

  • http://www.myspace.com/daddygabby Gabby

    In the early seventies, I cooked at a saloon in G’town called the Apple Pie. When a band called, DC Dog, fonted by Jimmy Nalls, would be featured on Sunday evenings, Roy would show, the magic he and
    Jimmy worked was nothing short of a miracle. So gald
    I was there. I have video of Roy, Lonnie Mack, and
    Albert Collins at, Carnegie Hall, if anyone would be
    interested, Would be glad to copy, just send blank
    tape and postage. Leave message through URL
    Gabby

  • alan M

    I’m 55 and just discovered Roy this summer. I heard the name when I was younger, but always thought he was Country, which I wasn’t very interested in at that time in my life. When I was turned on to Roy this summer, he blew my mind. A guitar god for sure. I’ve been playing since 1964 and after watching him in some DVD’s I just bought, I feel like I don’t know a dman thing about playing. He was so cool and smooth. He could play any style and then add all those special effects without any extra equipment. Man … amazing. I have no stories like the rest of you, just that after discovering Roy’s music it’s changed my life as a player. I see now I need to push my limits more. I wish I paid attention earlier. When I read about his death I was crushed. What a horrible loss, and so sad for his family. Roy will be in my thoughts daily for the rest of my life, everytime I pick up a guitar, which is every day. I’m a high school teacher, and all my students have been introduce to Roy this year. When they see the DVD’s I just bought, they’ll appreciate him even more.

  • http://pippensqueak.blogspot.com gypsyman

    Wow, I haven’t heard anything about Roy since the early seventies. His music got a lot of air time on FM rock stations up in Canada, Ottawa where I was living at the time, but by the late seventies he just seemed to vanish. I remember, weird as it sounds, I used to always mix up him and J.J. Cale in my mind. Hell I was only thirteen at the time, what do you expect.

    But it was around the time that Cale’s Midnight was getting airtime, that Ray’s Loading Zone was being played on Radio up here. Have I got that title right? Loading Zone? That’s a lot of years and a lot of… well whatever since then.

    Thanks for the reminder about a truely great guitarist.

    Oh any you can’t get anybody’s email from here. They have to be willing to hand it out. Privacy and all that.

    gypsyman

  • Pete Van Allen

    Hi folks. I played bass for Roy in ’71-’72 as a “Snakestretcher”…It was a blast. I had been working with legendary DC sax player Joe Stanley backing the Platters in Virginia Beach. Roy was truly amazing and I have zillions of fond memories of him and his wife Judy. I now play in the Baltimore area with my grown son Pete Jr. (drums) in a classic rock band known as “Kelly’s Secret”. Am also playing with my teenage daughters in a gospel group. Even today, 30-some years later I often remember Roy’s live sound and his often prophetic words of wisdom. He was one of a kind. One last thing–one night I had the privilage of being on stage between Roy and Danny Gatton as they battled it out in a guitar “duel”. Great memories!!

  • Pedro Felix III

    If anyone has a copy of the PBS The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World special, please contact me.
    Roy was and is still the real deal! Honesty and intuitive articulation the likes of which we will never be graced with again.
    I hope Roy’s kin know that their patriarch is very much loved and revered.
    I didn’t intend on posting her but found this testimonial on one of Roy’s shows fron June 1987 at stephentalkhouse.com

  • Saro Leon Petrossian

    My dad managed the Silver Dollar back in the mid to late 60’s. He told me a lot of stories about Roy Buchanan. He told me about Jimi Hendrix jamming with him one night there. He also confirmed the story of the Rolling Stones asking him to join the band. I just recently bought his Livestock album and it is truly a masterpiece. I have his Atlantic Cd as well.

  • duane

    He told me about Jimi Hendrix jamming with him one night there.

    Could you fill in the blanks? Would love to hear more.

  • http://www.myspace.com/roybuchanantribute David J Buchanan

    This is Roys son David J Buchanan. I wanted to invite you to join a site that I started for my father. Thank you!

  • hal lindes

    for #27 Saro Leon Petrossian – i was in the house band at the silver dollar / m-club in the early 70’s – your dad leon was so great to us and introduced me to roy buchanan who would drop in from time to time and jam with us – humbling us not only by his unbelievable talent but also by his kindness and spiritual manner –

  • Jungleb4

    Hello all U Buchanan admirers.
    after finding this site by accident and reading some of the comments made I had to say something.
    I am 43 now and discovered Mr. Buchanan somewhere in my late teens.I was frequinting my favorite record store looking 4 more jeff Beck albums,(the 1st one I got of his was wired wich shows him on the cover in that axe pose in a white blaser)and what an album it turned out to be.
    Anyways using that thought proccess of buying a record with a guitarist posing on it I came across this album of Mr. buchanan.
    I said to myself. I don’t know who he is.He doesn’t look like a good guitarist.what kind of music does he play? After asking myself several other questions and flipping the album over to read everything on it I finally said.”that last one I bought was good lets give it a try”. Was I ever glad I did! It was awesome.I have never once bought an album in which I’ve liked more than half the tracks on the first listen.
    Now. I’m not a guitar player.I don’t even play an instrumment.I just love the sound of that guitar and totally admire those who can play it.
    After that day I went back to the record store and puchased another,I think it was livestock and every time I had some raha to get one of his I did.
    I’ll tell U this! There has been no disapointment in any of the albums I’ve collected since.
    Mr.Buchanan SMOKES! THATS ALL I HAVE TO SAY!

  • Rick Wallace

    i am 49 years old and discovered Roy in the early 70s and i never heard guitar like that ever!! i finaly got to meet Roy in 1987 about 10 months before he died and Roy was a realy nice guy. Suggestion for all you guitar students and guitar freaks like me, get the c.d. american axe 1974 and get Austin City Limits 1976 and watch and listen to what no other Guitarist can do and never did before Roy!! thanks, Rick

  • JGardiner

    I just downloaded a copy of the PBS special from the bitorrent DIME site (dimeadozen.org).

    It may take a while to get a free signup membership so if you are rejected first time, keep trying for a few days. It took me 4 days.

    There is lots of good stuff on there, mostly bootlegs of current bands and shows but the more we keep Roy’s music alive, the better.

    enjoy.
    J.

  • joe Glidewell

    I first heard of Roy Buchanan when I accidentally walked in on the tv special “The World’s Greatest Unknown Guitarist” when I was in college. He blew me away. I still remember that night as if it were yesterday. Today I have that tape and watch it constantly. I just wish there were more like that one. What a guitarist! I have been playing for over 30 years and in all the bands I have played I always have to introduce them to Roy’s playing, which blows them away, and we always try to do several of his songs. I play a Telecaster but I can’t get the sounds and tones he did, no matter how much I practice. He was truly a “God -given” talent to the world. Such a shame he died so young. The music world was cheated when it lost Roy Buchanan.

  • Andy G

    I can remember as clear as yesterday watching Roy’s Austin City Limits show on PBS in the summer of 1977 on my black and white TV. I ran and got a crappy cassette recorder and sat down in amazement. I had known about him and had an albumn of his (second albumn) but had never seen him play. Spellbound and drooling like a fool, I took it all in. I’ve never been a celebrity worshiper, but I have to say, I’ve played that TV show over and over in my mind for the past 30 years, no exageration. I specifically remember the extremely fast dead note thing he did with his fingers during Hey Joe. On the cassette that I made, my girlfried, later to become my wife, and I can be heard giggling like little children watching a magic show. And in a way it really was a magic show. I have thought about it for thirty years and always wanted to write to Austin City Limits to see if there was some way to buy it, but never did. If there really is a way to get this original show on DVD or VHS I would really appreciate someone pointing me in that direction. I feel like a starstruck little kid every time I even think about it. If someone could post info here it would be great. God bless Roy for the memories and Roy’s family for sharing him with all of us.

    PS. I see the post by Randy Toma saying to email if you want a copy, but can’t see how to email him. Sure would love to get my hands on a copy.

  • Sherryb Chafin

    My husband played (bass) with Roy in the ’60’s, at various clubs in D.C., Georgetown… the Silver Dollar, etc… many! He and Roy actually looked a lot alike and had many of the same ‘growing up’ experiences. My husband, Dale Chafin, told me about, and I experienced, Roy playing with his back to the crowd so as not to allow anyone to steal his riffs, and, because he was very shy!!! The world really suffered by not having Roy as “popular” as he could have been, but, that is definitely not what Roy wanted. His talent was mindblowing to say the least. Sherryb Chafin

  • http://www.xlibris.com/markopsasnick.html Mark Opsasnick

    I am looking to get in touch with Pete Van Allen, Pokey Walls, and anyone else who played in bands in the DC area with Roy Buchanan from 1960 to 1972. This info will be used in a forthcoming revised edition of the book “Capitol Rock.” Please email me through my publisher or call me directly at 240 777-3450 (24-hour answering machine is in service if I don’t pick up). Thanks!

  • bobby gregory

    wow. I came across this (blogcritics.org) last night when i was looking for songs to hear. one of my favorite pieces is Sweet Dreams from the pbs documentary. I had put my cheap cassette recorder to the speaker of that old b/w tv my dad got; the ones that still had no filters on the rectifier. It used to hum! Besides the hum I had that recording on an old Ampex cassette tape that I listened to over and over and over. I repaired it about three times until I finally dubbed it off to another cassette tape about ten years ago. I had learned how to play sweet dreams note for note a year or two after that PBS show. Now I put in a few of my own lines in a couple lines but basically love what RB had created. Beautiful. Like another poster earlier, of his sister giggling; I have my sister giggling too on my tape, that happened after our 1st cousin came into her bedroom and watched the rest of the show. There’s his voice heard on my recording after he walks in, “Buchanan”. I am 52 years old now and my sister is 50. When I feel depressed and need uplifting I take out that recording and listen to it to give me spiritual renewal of how Roy’s personality was on his simple views of life explained through his intros to his influences of that PBS special. I finally got a DVD of that last winter and watched it in its entirety. It brought tears to me eyes. I still feel like I haven’t grown up. I hope I will soon. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you!

    Love,

    Bobby Gregory

  • Michael Tassi

    I have a very poor quality VHS copy of the PBS special. A friend sent it to me and I watched it last night … Incredible stuff. Would love to get my hands on a newer generation copy. Can anyone help?

  • Mark W

    I saw the same program back then. Nils Lofgren joined Roy onstage for a version of the song “Shotgun”.
    Also, a month or so later, a PBS show called Vibrations showed Roy performing his version of Malaguena, and then the full version of Messiah Will Come Again (the “Introducing” PBS special cut off before the song was done)

    I saw Roy perform many times. A true virtuoso. May he rest in peace.

  • Brian McGee

    Big Roy fan.
    One of the first posters mentions a Roy Orbison special. That guitar player was James Burton, not Roy.
    I remember the Heidelburg Tavern in back of the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ actually had a CD jukebox with Roy’s first two albums on it. Roy’s is a name I hear far too infrequently, but it garners respect wherever it is heard.

  • http://blogcritics.org/music/article/introducing-roy-buchanan-aka-the-worlds/ wolf

    I say thanks to roy buchana
    and his great music.

    best wishes from germany

  • ray

    I,m 66 years old and grew up around riverdale,Md. area Roy used to play at the Crossroads in Bladensburg,md.I love the blues and to my knowledge he was the best guitarist I ever heard.

  • Nancy Watkins

    I still cherish the one time I saw Roy in Boone, NC at Appalachian State University. being a female, I wasn’t a “groupie”, I just loved music in general and unlike most females, I listened to what instrument was being played and it wasn’t intentional but it did seem that I did end up early beginning to date guys who played guitar or other instruments. , but mostly guitar.

    I learned about Les Pauls. Gibson, Martin acoustics, Telecasters , Gretch, Stratocaster, and so many more. Flying V’s and I learn about sound systems Marshall Amps, Kustom P.A Systems, wah wah pedals. I learned that the “whammy bar” once had another name befor Lonnie mack’s use of it in the song “Wham”.

    The only thing I did not learn was how to play a guitar but I do know this. I am over 50 years old and my interest in music has never waned and I am very diverse, plain raw “Blues” is what moves my soul and the only guitarist that has ever been able to run chills up and down my spine was and is Roy Buchanan.

    What I now know is I can feel when a guitarist is just putting on a show or playing from their heart and soul. Roy Buchanan played from somewhere almost other worldly. The next is Lonnie Mack. There are a lot of good musicians out there but I am afraid the cream of the crop is playing in heaven and Lonnie doesn’t play too much anymore and we lost Stevie Ray .

    I had been trying to find a way to contact the Buchanan family as I wanted to let them know just what their Father, husband,and now Grandfather had done for me over the years. David, I am not a reporter and I understand the privacy apparently the family wishes to preserve but I knew that Roy left several children and a wife at the time of his shocking death.

    I grew up with a Mother with certain “issues” and my Grandparents took me and reared me. I often wondered how you guys as a family made out and how you feel today about your Father;s legacy. I recall reading that he wanted to stay close to DC as he wanted to stay near his kids. This touched my heart. If you can believe there is some one who wants nothing from you except I wanted to ask a couple of questions I do not feel is appropriate to ask on here. All a man or woman has is thei word and if i leave my email address, [Personal contact info deleted] I would just like to hear that Roy’s family is ok and as I lost my Father at age 6, I understand what a void can be left as because of Mother’s illness, I had lost her a long time before, I just didn;t know it.

    Just wonder if any of the kids or grandchilfren seem to be musically If you requested that I delete any correspondence immediately, you have my word that would be the case. I understood from everything I have read (that doesn’t mean I believed it all either. I know how to read between the lines and your father would have been going through sheer hades just from the music business trying to mold him anyway and the stress of trying to make a living and keep a family going. He was a deep thinker and there may have been “issues” but sometimes one is just trying to fill a void that truly, only God can fill but for some of us, we have to take alternate routes until we find the answers we need.

    Roy, I feel,was taken way too early, before he had ever been able to reconcile many of his problems. I personally find the accounts of the circumstances of his death extremely odd. That is all I can say on here. I am also on Facebook [Personal contact info deleted]. It would give me great joy to be able to just say hello to one of Roy’s remaining family.

    Blessings to all the other fans and the administrator of this page for come together andn express our feelins of loss. We were merely his public, his fans, but from the heart, he touched mine with a guitar riff giving me a place to go to with his history of recordings a place to go to and be taken to another time and space when I am not feeling great or having the best day myself. In my way of thinking a certain messiah has already beeen but he will come again.

    Respectfully,

    Nancy Watkins
    Raleigh, NC
    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • Brad Buchanan Kelly

    I am so glad to have found this page. I consider R.B the greatest guitarist of all time. My parents got to see him live in the 80s at royal hall in Melbourne, Aus. They partialy named me after him. I have been playing the guitar for 9 years and am proud to own my tele and play some of his stuff. I collect anything R.Buchanan and the only thing missing is his autograph.

  • dbark

    His music seeps into my soul and I feel his pride and anguish . His music speaks.

  • Cliff Baker

    I was 13,14 years old when a V.vet turned us on to Roy. We went to Pittsburgh 73 or 74 and saw him. Hinze Hall I think, best player there ever was. I wish they could put together a package of everything they can find. He did not have what they do now.

  • steve stout

    i would like to be able to buy introducing roy buchanan vcr or dvd live video and or watch the show on pbs american masters or whatever pbs program they have. this show should be shown because of the extrordinary talent roy had. should be shared with the world thats what he wanted, his whole life.

  • Johnny B

    My buddy’s girlfriend’s mom worked at Channel 13, and got us tickets for the studio. We were naturally blown away. Still trying to find the video as I only caught part of the TV showing, PBS really should issue this. Your take on Roy’s music is pretty spot on, though I think his “Second Album” was pretty brilliant.